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Spanish community care

Despite the fact that the Spanish language is the sixth most spoken in Australia, there is a distinct lack of facilities and programs which cater to the largely ageing Spanish community. The Spanish Community Care Association (SCCA), since being awarded a grant from the Sydney City Council late last year, has begun to dissolve the social and financial barriers that have left many alienated from the greater community reports Phillip Fernandez in the South Sydney Herald of October 2008.

The SCCA’s mission is to provide support and social contact to the disadvantaged, seniors and isolated members of the Spanish-speaking community in Sydney, as well as to their families and dependents. The need for such a service has been proven by the successful registration of over 200 members in the Redfern-Waterloo area in less than a year. According to Maria Legaz, Chairperson of the SCCA, participation numbers are expected to continue growing strongly with over 17,000 Spanish speakers living in Sydney City and some 500 in South Sydney alone.   

The Association is run by a small group of volunteers which meets from 11am to 4pm on Thursdays and Fridays at the Factory Community Centre. In order to combat community isolation bus excursions, as well as events like birthday parties and film nights, are organised, providing many members of the Spanish-speaking community with a much needed social outlet. The volunteers also make regular calls and house visits to members of the community, help with filling out forms and applications, and translate. For the most disadvantaged members of the community, the Association provides basic material goods, like telephones and televisions, for a better standard of living.   

In the near future, the SCCA is looking to hold health awareness seminars, and is currently in the process of organising regular domino and cards nights, directed at senior Spanish-speaking men. In the more distant future, Ms Legaz would like to see a Spanish community nursing home built to cater for the needs of the many senior and disadvantaged members of Sydney’s Spanish-speaking community.

Source: South Sydney Herald October 2008