More than 120 people packed Fronditha Care’s new community centre on Sunday 17 November in Mulgrave, to mark two milestones in the organisation’s journey – the joint launch of its newest addition, a community centre and its oral history book, 1977 – 2017: 40 Years of Caring for the Elderly. The attendees were visibly impressed by the fully equipped, light-filled, contemporary modular space designed to give community groups a space to congregate and host a multitude of events, meetings, conferences and community group activities.
Having seen the old data centre that occupied the space before, State Member for Oakleigh, Steve Dimopoulos MP was shocked to see its transformation.
“What a metamorphosis this is,” he said at the event. “This is not what we’re used to for a community building.”
The centre’s first ever event was fitting, as it hosted the official launch of the Fronditha Care oral history book, 1977 – 2017: 40 Years of Caring for the Elderly.
Long-time volunteer and former board director of Fronditha Care, Jim Kalodimos, spoke firsthand about the real challenges the founding members of Fronditha Care faced by trying to set up a nursing home for Greek Australians. They had to not only to change the views of Greek Australians who were mostly against putting their loved ones in care, but that of the government which did not comprehend the benefits of culturally sensitive aged care services.
Fronditha Care President, Faye Spiteri, says the legacy of their tireless work will live on in the book for future generations to learn from.
“The book is a gift to the next generation so it can understand the difficulties and stressors some migrants were up against more than 40 years ago,” Mrs Spiteri said.
“The founders managed to overcome these obstacles without fear, so that Fronditha Care could ensure no elderly Greek would get left behind.”
The General Consul of Greece to Melbourne, Dimitrios Michalopoulos, who attended the event, said he was impressed that Fronditha Care was able to offer the book and the centre for the community.
“Fronditha Care did not inherit this building, it built it,” Mr Michalopoulos said.