I started at APC in 2006 working as a receptionist 1 day a week, which was the day Jane, our other receptionist, didn’t work. As the work became busier, it progressed to 2 days and when moving to the new building in Redbank it progressed to 4 days a week. At Kleins Rd it was a tiny and new facility, and also my first job getting back into the workforce after having kids. It was tricky at first because I was only doing 1 day a week and had to remember everything I’d learnt the week before! Over the years I have grown a lot in my receptionist role, and had even gotten the opportunity to be involved in setting up the new APC website.
At APC we were one family and that was what Harvey, Richard, David, and Erwin, the founders of APC, always stressed on. We were family and they looked after us when we needed it. I’ve found the good thing about working in this environment with people going through difficulties, is that when you are having a tough day personally, whatever it may be, you come to work and see other people’s situations that are more change for life than what you’re going through. It gives you a reality check and it makes you realise that whatever you are upset or worried about, you can’t let that bring you down.
APC has a great relationship with their clients. Clients come in and they all know our names. I believe it is important to treat people the way you’d like to be treated yourself. I’ve met a lot of fantastic people over the years, though we have lost a few clients along the way. We see clients who started at APC as toddlers crawling around the floor and have now grown up to become teenagers. An example is our client Harry Clist who is now 14 years old. Harry is the reason why we started our annual Bandaged Bear Breakfast, which started off as a fundraiser to support him. It’s wonderful to see Harry now grown up and doing chair rugby. I have also become friends with our other clients. One of our clients, Peter Murphy, owns a Harley and took me on a ride one day. He is the reason why I now own one too!
Some of the best memories were at Kleins Rd. We would have a long bench in the kitchen with 12 people sitting around, packed and cramped like sardines, and we would have some great food adventures. Our former colleague Carol used to make homemade soup and share it around or we’d make pikelets on pancake day, it was always fun. Every Friday we would have a small BBQ consisting of a couple sausage sizzles, a chicken stick and a bread roll. When we moved to Redbank Rd it got too busy for Friday BBQs. David Howells used to duck out and get fish and chips, so when we started picking up that he was doing this, we’d con David to get a couple potato scallops for some of us. When everyone else got wind of it we would then take everyone’s lunch order from the fish and chips shop. This started what is now known as “Fat Shop Friday”.
Every year we would always organise Kris Kringle for Christmas where we would sit around a little table with everyone’s present in hand. I will always remember my first year celebrating Christmas, my Secret Santa (Harvey) gifted me a child’s costume rainbow butterfly wing, and a bright blue hair wig with plaits. What I found out quickly was that if you were given something you could wear, you had to wear it in front of everyone! Christmas parties was my highlight of the year because we got to go somewhere special in town, and everyone would have a good time.