NEW: Exercise Programs Supervised by Peak Health Exercise Physiologist

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Are you:

  • A cancer survivor?
  • Have Osteoarthritis or Osteoporosis?
  • Dealing with chronic pain?
  • At risk of falls?
  • Over 65 years of age?

Build strength and increase cardio vascular health with this 5-week exercise program. carers welcome to participate.
GP clearance required

WHEN: Tuesdays for 5 weeks, commencing on 10th October 2017
WHERE: Peak Health 34 Gymea Bay Rd Gymea
TIME: 11:30am to 12:30pm
COST: $35 for 5 week course

For more information, call our Community Connections team or Rowena or Tina on 0295249559 or email

NEW: Kiama Excursion

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Join us for a tour of Kiama and the beautiful South Coast. Your day will include:

  • A visit to the famous Kiama blowhole
  • Entry to Kiama Pilot’s Cotttage Musuem
  • Travel
  • Morning Tea
  • Stunning Views
  • A gentle walk

WHEN: Wednesday 15th November 2017
WHERE: Bus pickup and drop off from Gymea Community Aid and Information Service, 39 Gymea Bay Rd
TIME: 9:00am to 3:00pm
COST: $20

Please bring your own lunch. We will eat together overlooking Surf Beach. Priority will be given to those over 50. Bookings will be open for under 50’s from Wednesday 1st November 2017. Spaces are limited.

Reserve and pay for your place by 8th November 2017 at GCAIS’s front desk reception or through your group leader. For more information contact the Community Connections Team, Rowena or Rita on 95249559 or email

Minister for Multiculturalism and CEO NRMA attends DriveTime Graduation

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We were delighted to celebrate the graduation of 26 participants of the DriveTime program from the Fairfield area on Monday 17th July. The event was attended by the Honorable Ray Williams, Minister for Multiculturalism and Minister for Disability Services, NSW Government who spoke to the participants  about how fortunate we are that they chose Australia as their country to migrate to. NRMA’s CEO, Rohan Lund also spoke about how, as Australians, we take getting a license and driving a vehicle as a natural part of growing up. Without the support of organisations like NRMA, gaining a license as a refugee may not have been possible.

The ceremony was organised by GCAIS in partnership with the team from the NRMA and MC’d by our General Manager, Joanne Cracknell. DriveTime was a program piloted in 2015 in the Sutherland Shire after the Southern Sydney Refugee Support Group nominated it as a project of value and high impact. 5 learners gained their licenses through the pilot and as a result, caught the attention of large organisations like the NRMA.

Go here for full details of the graduation. 

To view photos from the event, go to the Photo Gallery tab on our home page.


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I am very proud to report that Gymea Community Aid and Information Service have been announced as a Finalist in this year’s Local Business Awards.

We would like to thank all of those who voted for us and have joined us on our journey to understand what we are doing well for our Community and, what we can do to improve. Getting through this first stage into the finals was our first goal and we have achieved that with your help!!!

Stay tuned as we make our way towards the announcement of the winner to be disclosed on 6th September 2017.


Join the Excursion to One of Australia’s Best Loved Floral Festivals

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Bowral Tulip Time Festival Excursion

Your day will include:
• Travel
• Morning Tea
• Entry to Tulip Time Festival
Please bring your own lunch
Priority will be given to those over 50. Bookings will be open for under 50’s from Wednesday 6 September 2017.
Spaces are Limited
Reserve and pay for your place by Wednesday 13 September 2017. Pay at Gymea Community Aid and
Information Service’s front desk or your group leader.

WHERE: Bus pick up and drop off from Gymea Community Aid & Information Service, 39 Gymea Bay Rd
TIME: 9.00am – 3pm
COST: $30
WHEN: Wednesday 20 September 2017

FOR MORE INFORMATION Call Community Connections on 9524 9559  OR email

This event is supported by the IRT Foundation

Organisation Announcement

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I am pleased to announce the appointments of two of our key support roles:

Maria Rogers has commenced in the contracted role of Bookkeeper. Maria’s previous roles have been with some of the more significant financial and banking organisations being JP Morgan Chase UK , Cornelius Barton & Co and Credit Suisse. She is currently connected with The High Tea Party organisation in sponsor relations and finance administration.  Maria’s role at GCAIS will be anything financial being payroll, accounts receivable and payable, bank reconciliations etc.

Katrina Vavdinos commences on 21st March in the role of Corporate Services Coordinator. Katrina has been working with the Young Adults Disabled Association (YADA) as a consultant and administrator since 2013. Gaining great insights into customer experience. Katrina comes from an extensive career with Westpac where she held roles in business lending operations and cards. Katrina’s high level of detail and organisational skills set her up well to deliver on tasks such as business process and systems, administrative requirements, common facilities maintenance and basic I.T to name a few.

Please join us in welcoming both Maria and Katrina to the GCAIS organisation.

Organisation Staff Announcements

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Change is in the air here at GCAIS!!! We are excited to advise that 2 of our management level positions have been appointed.

General Manager
Joanne Cracknell has been appointed to this key role, commencing 20th March. Many of you would have met Joanne in her role as President of the GCAIS Management Committee. This role gives her a thorough understanding of the business and a unique insight into the strengths of our organisation and the challenges we face going into the future.

Joanne has worked as an independent consultant since 2015 and has engaged in a diverse range of roles as a senior learning and organisation development specialist. She has guided teams through change processes, worked to deliver business solutions and facilitated strategic planning processes. Joanne brings a wide range of valuable skills, knowledge and experience to the position of General Manager and this will place our organisation in a strong position going into the future

Community Connections Operations Manager
Rita Napolitano brings 17 years of experience working in the Aged Care Sector to the position of Community Connections Operations Manager. Most recently, Rita held the position of Operations Manager with Wesley Mission. Rita’s experience of managing a team delivering the CHSP across Sydney will be extremely valuable as we work towards sustainability and growth for GCAIS. Rita will commence on 7th March.

Stay tuned for an opportunity to meet with our new staff and share in the future plans for GCAIS. In the interim, take a look at our Strategic Plan under the RESOURCES tab.


DriveTime Volunteers Wanted. Help a Refugee in Your Area

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The program provides English driving support and driving practice with volunteer mentors, for people on humanitarian visas to help them obtain a NSW driving licence.

Volunteering Opportunities:

Driver Knowledge Test Mentor: help improve learner’s language related to driving and road safety. prepare learner to conduct their Driver Knowledge Test.

Driving Supervision Mentor: Provide supervised driving practice to participants to gain confidence behind the wheel.

Free training For further information, contact Project Coordinator Esmat Osmani on 0478748387 or email

DOWNLOAD brochure here

Places open for the Homework Club

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Do you know any students from Refugee or Migrant backgrounds who need extra support with their school work?

Our volunteer tutors, many of whom have teaching backgrounds, provide homework support to refugee and newly arrived migrant children and young people.

The club includes:

  • Healthy afternoon tea
  • Individual homework tuition
  • Social activities during the holidays
  • Transport can be provided to and from certain areas

WHEN: Mondays during school terms
WHERE: Gymea Community Aid, 39 Gymea Bay Rd Gymea
TIME: 3:30pm-5:30pm
COST: Free

We can arrange one-on-one tutoring for young people in high school, college and university.
If one of your students could benefit from this service, or if you would like to volunteer, please call us on 95249959 or email Helen Ledlin


Computer, Well-being and Fitness Programs for Seniors

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Due to popular demand, Fitness and Computer Programs for Seniors are on again!   

  • Zumba and Active Exercise Classes for Seniors.
  • Tai Chi for Carers.
  • One- on- one technology tutoring for beginners – 5 weeks program. Please call CHSP 95249559 for details and eligibility. Alternatively, go to the EVENTS tab for dates and times of these classes.

Everyone Comes from Somewhere Multimedia Pack

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The Everyone Comes from Somewhere Multimedia Resource & DVD is now available. It includes:

  • 8 short films exploring the lives of different young people  who live and/or study in Sutherland Shire and the connections they have to their own cultural backgrounds
  • Accompanying exercises, activities and creative tasks for upper primary and high school students in the Resource booklet.

The Everyone Comes from Somewhere project aims to promote multiculturalism, challenge racial stereotypes and celebrate the richness of cultural diversity in Sutherland Shire.

For hard copies of the resource or further details  please  contact Jenny, Migrant Services Manager on 02 9524 9559 or

Chinese Life Stories of Sutherland Shire

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In 2014 Gymea Community Aid & Information Service received a NSW Heritage Grant administered by the Royal Australian Historical Society on behalf of the NSW Government.

The grant enabled them to work with oral historian, Carol McKirdy, on an oral history project called Chinese Life Stories of the Sutherland Shire. Ten narrators with Chinese heritage volunteered their time and told their stories. The oral histories will be archived at Sutherland Shire Library enabling future generations to learn about the unique and wonderful stories of people who moved from one country to another and the circumstances surrounding such a monumental change.

The project was launched at a community event, which included traditional Chinese music and food and a digital story, which summarises the essential themes explored in the oral histories and entices listeners to enjoy the full recordings.

To find out more, visit:

The Refugee Challenge – Restoring Hope

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Refugee Challenge Resource Kit has been developed and is now available for all schools who are interested in holding a refugee camp within their school.

The Kit contains:
Promotional Materials, Flyers, Brochures, Motivational Film, PowerPoint presentation, Event Management, Leadership Training, Permission Notes, Risk Assessment, Action, Team Organising, Press Releases, Evaluation, T-Shirts, Fact Sheets, Five Classroom Resources, Details of the camp content + optional ideas for your event.

View details of the challenge on Sunrise:

To find out more, watch Take the Refugee Challenge at: or email: