MERCY Health Bethlehem is highlighting the work of a special staff member as part of their International Women's Day 2021 celebrations.
Lifestyle assistant Christine Curnow has been involved in the Bendigo community for her entire life, including starting groups like the Laughter Group and the Red Hat Group.
The Red Hat Group encourages conversation, socialisation, and fun, with residents at Mercy Health Bethlehem also benefiting from the community-minded environment.
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"It's purely social," Mrs Curnow said. "We bring people over the age of 50 together and we go out for lunch or something.
"It's just about bringing people together. They break off into their little groups and people sit together and talk.
"They always say thank you to me but all I have done is provide a platform for them to meet. I know how important that socialisation is."
Mrs Curnow said she was very honoured that Mercy Health Bethlehem was recognising her work and community contribution on International Women's Day.
"I'm tickled pink," she said. "I'm thrilled, it's amazing. But as always, I get a lot of volunteers to help. It's not just me, it's everyone else.
"One person cannot do it all. I'm a bit of an organiser. I like to organise things, but the organiser can't do everything.
"I call on many people to help me to get the job done."
Mrs Curnow said it had been a challenging 12 months with COVID-19 restrictions limiting the amount of activities her groups could do.
She said things started to change when those restrictions eased.
"I'm finding people are slowing getting back into it all again," Mrs Curnow said. "I know the numbers will increase, although it's not about the numbers.
"It's about those who want to meet up and it's up to them to decide. We tried the online thing but it was not quite as good. It's much better to see each other."
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