Capering with Care

Monday, 5 June 2017

Writer Gabriel Hingley

There’s a joke about two old codgers sitting on a park bench. One says to the other “My wife asked me: Watcha doin’ today?” “Nothin’,” I says. She says, “You did that yesterday”. I says, “I wasn’t finished!”

If you visited the Shepparton Church of Christ hall on a Tuesday morning, you might be forgiven for thinking that the group meeting there are just a bunch of old codgers who sit around “doing nothin’”. But this could not be further from the truth. What may look like a quiet get-together of senior men having an old yarn is actually a hive of activity. Some weeks Codger’s Capers (as the group is known) go on an outing to a place of interest, other weeks they have a guest speaker to come in and talk about issues that affect them. The week Jo Antoni (Careworks Operations Officer) and I visited, there was a Hearing Aid specialist addressing the group. Naturally there a few quips from the group… “Eh, what did you say?” Other days they do a big cook-up together, using many fresh ingredients from the community garden outside, and then distribute the meals to people in need in the area.

“This group is really good for men struggling with depression and isolation,” says Michael, a regular at Codger’s Capers. For many who come, the group is their only point of connection during the week with others in the community. David Baker (pictured standing next to Jo), who leads the program, says that it is a safe place for men to belong, and everyone respects the rule of no swearing, smoking, alcohol or drugs in the meeting area, despite what they might get up to outside of that space.

Seeing David capering about, it is not difficult to see why he received the 2017 Australia Day award for Shepparton’s Senior Citizen of the Year. The way he cares about the folks who attend the group, visits them in their homes, and co-ordinates the various activities is a wonderful testimony of Christ’s love in action.

“I am grateful to God that Codger’s Capers is one of our Careworks partners, as they do such good work in the community at Shepparton,” says Jo Antoni.

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