In many rural and regional areas, the local CWA branch is a well known force, energised by members who man cake stalls and plan other fundraising initiatives.
In the Southern Tablelands Group, there is a total of around 350 members across a number of branches based in Queanbeyan, Braidwood, Bungendore, Collector, Crookwell, Goulburn, Majors Creek, Marulan, Queanbeyan, Tarago, Taralga and Yass.
One of them – Crookwell CWA Day Branch – recently received the Alison O’Brien Community Service Award in recognition of its members’ work in the community during the previous year.
President Susan Reynolds said the award was recognition of the impact the branch’s members had on the Crookwell community.
“It’s totally humbling,” she said.
“From my perspective, it makes me terribly proud that the members who have made those contributions throughout the year are being recognised.”
The branch was presented with the award at the Annual Conference of the Southern Tablelands Group, which was held in October in Taralga.
Their work has included working within the community and supporting other community groups.
Ms Reynolds said she and fellow members had fundraised for school students in need.
“By doing this fundraising, we hope that it eases a little bit of the anxiety that some of the families are going through,” she said.
“We will leave it [what the money is spent on] up to you, because we’re here to just let them know that we do care for them.”
In the past 12 months, she said the branch had also organised classes to teach young people basic sewing and cooking skills, lobbied the NSW Government to move HumeLink underground and begun a fundraiser with other not-for-profit organisations for hospital equipment.
Ms Reynolds said she was particularly proud of working with other organisations in the Southern Tablelands, such as the local Rotary and Lions Clubs.
“That development of closer relationships and cooperation with other not-for-profits is something I’m particularly proud of from a personal perspective,” she said.
“It means we’re not working in isolation – we’re working as a wider group to provide better things for our communities.”
Ms Reynolds said their desire to fundraise and run programs to support Crookwell residents came from a place of wanting to offer a helping hand.
“We see a gap and a need for assistance in a number of areas – and we can do that almost anonymously,” she said.
Ms Reynolds said that while times – and technology – had changed since the first CWA branches were formed in 1922, their focus had remained the same.
“Things have changed since way back when – the women came to meetings riding on horse and buggies or drove in if they could get the keys from their husbands,” she said.
“What we stand for at Crookwell CWA is to be able to support women and children in rural areas, particularly in our own region.”
Members looking to take their nearest CWA branch into the next generation are always welcome, she said.
Those interested in joining their local branch can contact the Southern Tablelands Group’s secretary by emailing [email protected].