Our News Blog


Community News August 2019

Suzanna Barry - Friday, August 09, 2019

Our August newsletter has landed, and as you can probably guess there's plenty of Johnno's Run news. We are so proud of our community that has really got behind Johnno's Run. It is such an inclusive event, raises important awareness and continues to raise significant funds to help build homes for people with disability. Thanks again for the widespread support of Johnno's Run 2019.

Read newsletter here.

We are currently preparing our Annual Report, and hope that you will be able to join us for our Annual General Meeting which will be held on Thursday 10 October 2019 at 7.30pm at the Echuca Workers. This is a very significant year for us, as it is our 40 year celebration.

Kind regards

Suzanna Barry


Pictured below: Gary Harvey (Maw
sons), Damien Hogan Property & Maintenance Coordinator), John Mawson and Suzanna Barry (CEO) at the Moama Opening Doors Project, 33 Maiden Street Moama.


Community News April 2019

Suzanna Barry - Sunday, April 07, 2019

Our April Community News is hot off the press. You can read it here.

Next month, 20 May - 26 May, we will be celebrating National Volunteer Week. The theme this year is "Making a world of difference". Volunteers make such a wonderful contribution to our organisation and our local community. This year we have nominated Dave Callanan for the Shire of Campaspe Volunteer Award. Dave, one of our Opening Doors Ambassadors and a member of our Volunteer Fundraising Committee also contributes to many other community organisations. Good luck Dave!

This Saturday, April 6, we have a Recyclability "Stuff Sale" at our Shed at 5 Bilkey Court Echuca. The sale commences at 8am and will be open until 11am. Come along and you may just pick up a fantastic bargain! Thanks to our volunteers who are assisting with the Stuff Sale.

It's been great to see so many people from all walks of life join our Johnno's Run team. Thank you to everyone who is supporting us by participating or donating to team members. Your contribution is greatly valued and is assisting us to build homes for people with disability.  You can read more about Johnno's Run here.



Community News February 2019

Suzanna Barry - Monday, February 04, 2019

Our February - March newsletter is hot of the press! I hope you enjoy catching up on our latest news.

Read Newsletter here

We are currently undertaking our annual survey to gain your feedback so that we can continue to improve our services. If you are a client who received services from us in 2018 we would really appreciate you completing our survey. It will take less than 5 minutes to complete. Please click on the link - Client Survey

Alternatively you are welcome to enjoy a complimentary coffee and speak directly to one of our team and complete the survey at the Murray River Tea Rooms from 10am to 3pm on Thursday 14th February, Tuesday 19th February or Thursday 21st February.

If you are a Murray River Tea Rooms customer we'd also love you to complete the Tea Rooms Survey.

I'd like to take the opportunity to thank the Moama Bowling Club for being the Event Sponsor of our upcoming 13th Annual Fundraising Dinner and Major Sponsors - Bella Casa Houseboats, Echuca Carpet Court, Riverboats Music Festival, Mawsons, the Riverine Herald, Edge FM, Bob the Blindman, Murray River Council and Echuca House. We also greatly appreciate the support of the 285 guests attending, our General Sponsors, Corporate Table Sponsors and the many local businesses who have donated auction items and raffle prizes. We are looking forward to a fantastic event on February 26.

Kind regards

Suzanna Barry


December 2019 Community News

Suzanna Barry - Tuesday, December 04, 2018

Welcome to our final newsletter for 2018. It's been another busy year, and we've appreciated working with all our clients, our staff and volunteers, the community, local businesses, our Ambassadors, and corporate supportors. There's been a lot achieved thanks to community partnerships and generous support our organisation. We are very grateful.

Read newsletter here

This week we celebrate International Day of People with Disability. The theme is "Empowering people with disabilty, ensuring inclusiveness and equality". This theme undperins all we do at CLRS, not just once a year, but every day of the year. We are excited to have our annual Client and Family Christmas party Monday evening, December 3, on International Day of People with Disability, and look forward to catching up with many that have received services this year.

December will be busy with many events. A highlight will be Saturday December 15, on the Pride of the Murray. Benny Walker, our Opening Doors Ambassador and talented local musician, will be performing aboard the Pride of the Murray Paddle Steamer from 3pm - 5pm, while guests enjoy a cruise on the Murray River. Guests will be treated to savouries compliments of Cadell Food Service and cheese and fruit platters generously donated by Pacdon Park and Forever Fresh. If you'd like to attend tickets are $40 and are available online. There are limited tickets and 100% of the ticket sales are being dontated to the Moama Opening Doors Project.

Congratulations to Brady Threlfall on receiving the 2018 Cletus Gilmour Fundraising Award. You can read more about this award in our newsletter.

I look to seeing you in the leadup to the Christmas period.

Kind regards

Suzanna Barry


October 2018 Newsletter

Suzanna Barry - Thursday, October 04, 2018


October is a busy month at Community Living & Respite Services. 

Our 39th Annual General Meeting will be held 7.30 pm on Thursday 11th October, at the Mercure in High Street Echuca.  We hope that you are to attend and join us in celebrating the achievements of the past year, recognising the contribution of staff and volunteers, and launching our latest video.

National Carers Week 2018 runs from 14 – 20 October and is a time to celebrate and recognise the 2.7 million Australians who provide care and support to a family member or friend with a disability, mental illness, chronic condition, terminal illness, or who is frail aged. We will be celebrating National Carers Week on Monday October 15 by hosting a morning and afternoon tea for carers at the Murray River Tea Rooms. 

Please RSVP to events@clrs.org.au if you would like to attend the AGM or our Carers Week morning/afternoon tea.

We have recently celebrated the Club Teen 10th Birthday, which was enjoyed by past and present children and families, staff and the community. 

Read Newsletter Here


Faye Berryman with her grandson Ashley Stone and Team Leader Ryan Todd - looking forward to Carers Week.


National Op Shop Week - September 30 - October 6

Suzanna Barry - Sunday, September 30, 2018

This week is a perfect week to support our Social Enterprises! Your support contributes to wonderful opportunities for people with disability, who are gaining valuable skills and increased self confidence.

It's National Op Shop week  and we're celebrating with a 50% off sale at our Op Shops at 4 Percy Street Echuca and the Murray River Tea Rooms.

You're sure to find a bargain - we have quality clothing, shoes, handbags and accessories, a great book collection and a unique range of household items and home wa res.



Club Teen Turns 10 - Ben's Story

Suzanna Barry - Tuesday, September 25, 2018

This month, September 2018,  we're celebrating 10 years of our Club Teen program. Club Teen was established in 2008, following a successful Commonwealth Government grant for the Extra Support for Teenagers with a Disability program. Community Living & Respite Services (CLRS) was one of 7 Victorian organisations selected to deliver this program, which we named Club Teen.

The program was quickly expanded thanks to philanthropic donors, fundraising and further government support to include children under 12. The program provides Before & After School Care during school terms, and Holiday Programs from 8am – 6pm for 10 weeks of school holidays. Club Teen benefits around 80 children each year. This provides enormous assistance to families and creates wonderful opportunities for children to experience a range of activities, develop skills and make new friends.

With the permission of Prue O’Dea we are pleased to share Ben’s story. Ben is one of the children who attends Club. Teen.

Ben’s story

Benjamin (Ben) a delightful 12 year old, is the much loved son of Prue and David O’Dea and Lauren's younger brother.  Ben was born with oesophageal atresia and duodenal atresia (both his bowel and oesophagus were not attached to his stomach) which meant that he spent the first six months of his life at the Royal Children’s Hospital.

During Ben’s first 10 days the doctors and a geneticist hinted that Ben might have Down Syndrome. The family had a meeting on Day 10 that confirmed his diagnosis.  Prue remembers her strong emotions at this news, but at the time all his medical problems were the priority and his Down Syndrome diagnosis was a mere sideline.  Ben stayed in the neonatal intensive care unit being “fattened up” for four and a half months.

At four and a half months old he had a 6 hour surgery to connect his stomach to his oesophagus.  The surgeon cut Ben’s tummy in half and fashioned part of his stomach into the lower section of an oesophagus and then stitched it all up again.  No mean feat on a 4.9 kg baby.  They finally got to take Ben home on 22 March 2007.  He was nearly 6 months old.

Prue remembers receiving some advice from her mid-wife that the family lives by – “just take one day at a time”.

The O’Dea’s involvement with CLRS started back in 2009 when Ben and Prue attended “My Time” – a supported play group. When Ben started school at Echuca Specialist School, David and Prue juggled work rosters to make sure they could collect both the kids from different schools. Then, Ben was registered with Club Teen – the CLRS Before and After School Care and Holiday Program, in case of an emergency. This time came and Prue phoned the Club Teen Coordinator Sue Edwards, who said she could fit Ben in at after school care. That evening Prue was delighted to hear that Megan, one of the original My Time carers, had taken special care of Ben.

In 2016 Prue and David participated in “Johnno’s Run” for the first time and were so proud of their achievements, but even more pleased to have had the opportunity to help in raising money for the “Opening Doors” project. The following year Prue and Lauren were part of the 2017 team, and in 2018 all the family participated and completed the 5kms. This was a fun family experience, that Prue says had such a wonderful community feel, with everyone united in participating for a great cause.

CLRS continues to assist Ben and his family, helping them through the NIDS journey. The O’Dea’s have the comfort of knowing that on the days when challenges arise there is someone around who can assist. CLRS is pleased to be that resource for their family.

To us all Ben is just Ben. His Down Syndrome does not define him.

Thank you to Prue for sharing Ben's story. Thank you to each person in our community that supports the work of CLRS and enables us to provide Club Teen and other programs that assist children and adults with disability.

Kind regards

Suzanna Barry


Pictured above is Ben playing UNO with his parents David & Prue.


Community News August 2018

Suzanna Barry - Thursday, August 02, 2018

Our August newsletter is hot of the press and full of photos of our Johnno's Run team who participated in Run Melbourne last weekend.

We had a great day, with so many from our community doing their "personal best"  to raise funds and awareness for the Opening Doors Project.  Thank you to all who participated, donated or sponsored Johnno's Run 2018.  We are thrilled that a number of people who receive support from CLRS enjoyed participating this year - some for the second time!  We are also thrilled to announce that $65,000 has been raised.  We are looking forward to the Moama Opening Doors Project progressing over the next few months, and plan that construction will commence early 2019.

Read Newsletter here

We also have a special birthday coming up - Club Teen is turning 10!  Time has certainly flown and the young people we first supported when Club Teen began are now young adults.  We hope that many past and current participants will join us in celebrating this milestone.

Community News June 2018

Suzanna Barry - Friday, June 01, 2018

Our June / July Community News is hot off the press! Read Newsletter here

We can hardly believe we are almost half way through 2018. We continue to be busy, particularly with the NDIS implementation and clients approaching their first NDIS review.

It is wonderful to see many of our clients embracing Johnno's Run this year, with many attending the Johnno's Run walk/run training sessions at Scenic Drive on Monday afternoons (4.30 pm or 5.15 pm). All are welcome to come along. Thanks to all who are participating or supporting team members.

You may like to follow the team's progress over the next couple of months - Team Members

Thank you for your continued support of Community Living & Respite Services.

Best wishes

Suzanna Barry


April 2018 News

Suzanna Barry - Wednesday, April 04, 2018

Our April newsletter is hot off the press! We hope you enjoy catching up with our latest news. We have included some great photos of our Johnno's Run 2018 launch, Annual Fundraising Dinner and Club Teen out & about in our community.

Read Newsletter here

The Annual Fundraising Dinner was a great success and Anna Meares OAM was a fantastic guest speaker. $73,500 was raised which will support the Opening Doors Project in Moama which we hope to commence later this year, if successful with outstanding grant applications.



















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