GREAT SUPPORT: Samantha Van Twest with Summer, 4 and Milana, 1, of Springfield Lakes at the new playgroup for defence force partners.
GREAT SUPPORT: Samantha Van Twest with Summer, 4 and Milana, 1, of Springfield Lakes at the new playgroup for defence force partners. Cordell Richardson

Playgroup a support network for defence force partners

PARTNERS of defence force personnel are making new friends and finding support at a new children's playgroup that has started in Ripley.

Amberley Defence Families Inc runs the Amberley Playgroup from Minka Place at Ripley Town Centre, providing an opportunity for families to engage with like-minded individuals in a safe and fun environment.

Jeremy Fitzsimmons, who has been a member of the playgroup for three years, said he first heard about it when his wife was working from the Amberley RAAF base.

"The playgroup allows my kids to interact with other children and I get the opportunity to talk with other caregivers who are in a similar situation," Mr Fitzsimmons said.

"The location is also convenient with a mixture of indoor and outdoor play spaces, and the people who attend are incredibly supportive.

"Time spent at playgroup is just as important for the parents and caregivers as it is for the children."

 

Jenni Balshaw agrees being a part of the playgroup gives her a mental break and allows her to talk to other adults while her husband serves.

"Being in a relationship where my husband is on a long deployment, adult company is something you crave. There are a lot of us in the same situation and it's great to make new friends as well," Ms Balshaw said.

Families currently meet twice a week on a Wednesday and Friday from 9.30-11.30am at Minka Place, with activities specifically run for the families and dependents of current-serving Australian Defence Force personnel.

To find out more, visit the Amberley Defence Families Inc Playgroup Facebook page.