Fitness to benefit Illawarra refugees

Personal trainer Joel Robert, chairperson Sandra McCarthy, director Cherie Burton and yoga instructor Jeana O'Toole.
Personal trainer Joel Robert, chairperson Sandra McCarthy, director Cherie Burton and yoga instructor Jeana O'Toole.

If you are looking for a bit of inspiration to shed those extra kilos you might have gained after all the Christmas cheer, then Gerringong Bowling Club has the answer.

They are offering yoga and boxing classes throughout January, with the proceeds going to Strategic Community Assistance to Refugee Families (SCARF).

Yoga teacher Jeana O’Toole, from Roaming Yogis is offering classes together with Meryn Lee Perez and Katie McDermott.

“This is a collaboration of three local yoga teachers and we’re offering donation classes at $10 per head with all proceeds going to SCARF, assisting refugee families to assimilate into the community,” she said.

The club is holding the classes as part of their Summer of Fun program.

“It’s all about the club reaching out to everyone in the Gerringong community,” chairperson of the board Sandra McCarthy said.

“With the new board, the new vision of the club is that it is here to serve the community and it is a family friendly club full of fun and activity.”

Mrs McCarthy said the board wanted to shift people’s perceptions that clubs are a place of only alcohol and gambling.

“Clubs are an amazing social asset, you can walk into a club, make friends and have conversations with people,” she said.

“If we didn’t have clubs we would have a lot of lonely people in our community, so we’re growing that role and strengthening the position of the club – the club is here for everyone.”

Contact Jeana O’Toole on 0418 662 836 to book a yoga class or Joel Roberts on 0421 547 239 to book a boxing class.

Click HERE to find out what’s on and when. 


SCARF provides refugee support by creating connections and generating opportunities that build a sense of belonging; promote social and economic inclusion; and empower individuals and families to lead independent lives.

SCARF is a volunteer-powered refugee support organisation. Since its founding in 2005, SCARF’s community of supporters, members and people from refugee backgrounds has grown organically, as has its responsive services and programs.

Over the past 12 years, more than 1600 people from refugee backgrounds – from 14 different countries of origin (Afghanistan, Burma, Burundi, Congo, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Iran, Iraq, Liberia, Palestine, Sierra Leone, Sudan, Syria, Togo) – have benefited from one or more of SCARF services.

Approximately 250 volunteers are actively engaged in SCARF services at any one time.

Want more from the Kiama Independent? Try these: