History of Carers’ Link Barossa and Districts Inc.
In the early 1990s within the Barossa region, Kathryn Fuller (Tanunda Lutheran Home), Karen Tyler (CHAP) and Henriette Norde (IDSC) were running support groups for Carers, providing them with an opportunity to meet together and share their experiences. Carers expressed a need for greater support, which was willingly pursued by the above service providers and the Barossa SPOKE network.
Information was gathered from Carers, Pat Smytherman, who with Carers developed the Carer Support Model and started the Carer Support Network in Adelaide, and the Carers Association of SA. An application for a Carer Support Worker and then a Carer Support Organisation was submitted by Karen Tyler of CHAP to the Home and Community Care Program in 1994. The application was successful.
Carers’ Link Barossa and Districts opened its doors on the 4th of September 1995, under the auspice of CHAP. A staff of three (3) offered support to approximately thirty (30) carers. A steering committee of carers and service providers, together with the support of the Board and staff of CHAP, began the journey toward incorporation. Carers’ Link Barossa and Districts Inc. became separately incorporated in March 1996.
Carers’ Link Barossa and Districts Inc. is a founding member of the Carer Support Network which has been instrumental in bringing together carer support organisations which operate under the carer support model, and promoting this model of carer support across the state, nation and internationally.
Throughout the early 2000s local Carers, Carers’ Link Board and staff contributed their time, experience and knowledge to the development of the Carer Recognition Act 2005 and the Carer Charter.
Since 2000, Carers’ Link has been successful in gaining further funding for carer support and respite through both the Commonwealth and State Governments programs such as the National Respite for Carers Program, Mental Health Carer Support and Respite Program, and SA Health Carer Support and Respite.
Ongoing expansion saw the establishment of a local carer support centre in Eudunda in 2004, and the auspicing of Carers’ Link Yorke Peninsula in 2005. This was followed by the establishment of a local carer centre in Yorketown.
In responding to the needs of carers in the Adelaide Hills and at the request of the State Government, Carers’ Link Barossa and Districts Inc. again expanded to auspice the Carer Wellness Centre in the Adelaide Hills in 2010. In 2011 a local carer centre was also established in Strathalbyn.
Carers’ Link and the carer support model received significant support when in 2012 each region (Barossa, Yorke Peninsula and Adelaide Hills/Strathalbyn) received a Carer Recognition Award or high commendation certificate as part of the 2012 Carer Recognition Awards.
We celebrate 20 years of working with and for our local communities, 20 years of supporting carers, people with disability, older Australians and their families.
Today, Carers’ Link has a staff of forty three (43) mainly part-time employees across the three regions providing support and services to nearly 2000 Carers, and 110 people with disability. All through the years local Carers and members of the community have supported and encouraged Carers’ Link through a good word to a friend, a recommendation to a family member, assistance with carer support, group activities, transport and administration, and fundraising (Community Helpers and Country Stitchers, Community Courtyard, 3CCC’s).