This month we are profiling the two volunteers that organise the Penrith Catch Up
Rose and Sharmelle
Tell us about you and your families
My name is Rose and I moved back to Penrith to start our family with my partner Natalia. Our beautiful daughter was born in 2015, and with all the common concerns for new parents, we wanted her to meet other families just like us.
I'm Sharmelle and I grew up in Penrith. I've been working in childcare for 15 years and used to be a musician. I still play guitar and sing to the children at work. I met my partner Nicole 6 years ago. Her son is now 16 and we both planned from the start of our relationship to both have a baby. So now we have two beautiful girls, a one year old and two year old.
Tell us about the Penrith catch up
Our first gathering was astonishing, with a great turn out of lovely families with all sorts of backgrounds, the playdate was so successful that we went to dinner to continue hanging out. The timing couldn't be any better, it was around the time the Same Sex Survey was announced and we could share our concerns but most importantly our support to each other.
Why did you start the Penrith catch ups
We searched in the community and found established rainbow families groups based in the city and surrounding areas, we joined the groups and while we were willing to travel for the playdates, we felt that the Penrith area needed one too.
After joining the Penrith group on Facebook, we volunteered to organise the first gathering of the Penrith Rainbow families and together we have been running the group for about 6 months now.
What can people expect when they come along to one of your catch ups
Families with different background, sizes and shapes, but sharing the passion of caring for our families and have fun.
Why is it important for you and your children to meet other LGBTIQ families
Rose: For us, meeting with other rainbow families is not only an opportunity to share the struggles and joy of being a parent, but also connect to families like ours.
Sharmelle: I interact with families on a daily basis through my job. So I really want my kids to know there are other families in our community like ours and that we are all the same. I want my family and other rainbow families to feel valued and important. By having our monthly catch ups, this shows support for one another and the daily struggles with having little ones is real, just like everyone else. We need to laugh, we need to cry and we need to lean on each other and that's why I am so grateful for the friendships I have formed from the Penrith rainbow family group.