Raewyn Watene, a dedicated member of Carers WA Grandparents North Social Support Group, has been awarded the People’s Choice Award by ConnectGroups, acknowledging her exceptional commitment to growing the group and making it a safe and welcoming place for carer to come and support each other. Reflecting on the recognition, Raewyn said that she is, “absolutely honoured to have been nominated for this award by ConnectGroups and completely amazed to have won”.
Her journey with the Grandparents North Group has been transformative, providing vital connections with fellow grandparent carers, forming a supportive community. She shared that, “being able to connect with other grandparent carers who have full-time parental responsibility of their grandchildren helped me to find my village and reassured me I wasn’t alone on this journey”.
Through Carers WA, Raewyn discovered the importance of self-care and actively participated in training programs, including becoming a Volunteer Support Coordinator. She emphasises the impact of empowerment through shared information, assisting grandparents in navigating the complexities of trauma’s impact on their grandchildren. “Empowering people with information is powerful” she says.
Looking forward, her aspirations include continuing to provide a safe space for grandparent carers, creating an ‘Information and Referral service’. She shares that her goal is to, ” advocate for all children living in out-of-home care to have equal financial rights and benefits, whether they are in a formal or informal arrangement”.
For those contemplating participation in peer support groups, especially grandparent carers, Raewyn passionately encourages involvement. She believes that shared lived experiences can significantly impact carers’ lives, supporting them when they feel overwhelmed, empowering them with information, and fostering friendships and connections.
She says, “I would like to strongly encourage carers to participate in peer support groups as lived experience, when shared, can impact with positive outcomes in carers’ lives”.
To join the Carers WA North Grandparents’ Group led by Raewyn, or to find a group near you, click here.