Julie Ferguson launches plan to reconnect seniors with the community

Active Communities Together (ACT) is spearheaded by Julie Ferguson.

SENIORS in Coffs Harbour are being offered a new program aimed at reconnecting them to the community.

Active Communities Together (ACT) is spearheaded by Julie Ferguson, a Coffs Harbour local who founded the area’s OzHarvest chapter in 2013.

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With funding from the NSW Department of Community and Justice and support from Mission Australia, ACT aims to address the varied challenges facing people aged 50 and over in the Coffs Harbour community.

ACT volunteers will work to support older people impacted by the ongoing cost-of-living crisis, connecting them with cost savings and helping them to actively participate in community life with the aim of fostering meaningful connections and combating feelings of isolation and loneliness.

This is a free service run by volunteers.

ACT founder Julie Ferguson told News Of The Area, “I’m passionate about changing people’s lives for the better; this is what I’m good at.

“Loneliness and isolation can have a huge impact on people’s physical and mental health.

“Older people, especially those relying on the pension or other income support payments, may become isolated as they feel unable to participate in social activities due to cost pressures,” she said.

“By nurturing a sense of belonging and facilitating social interaction, ACT seeks to enrich the lives of seniors and strengthen the fabric of our community.”

The plan is for Julie and her team of trained volunteers to go into the community and seek out the people who will benefit from ACT.

“We will be door knocking in targeted areas and talking with the community to identify people we can work with,” Julie told News Of The Area.

Once a ‘client’ is on board, there are four visits, one per month.

“We start with a chat about identifying ways the cost-of-living has impacted them and how we can assist.

“The second meeting is a check-in to see that what we talked about and put in place is working for them.”

On the third visit the discussion centres around dreams.

“Such as, what activities in Coffs Harbour would they really like to be involved in but can’t, owing to their circumstances,” Julie said.

The fourth meeting is a review.

“We’ll chat through how ACT has assisted them in creating new connections and friendships and how their happiness has been impacted.”

Jesse Taylor, Mission Australia Housing Community Development Manager, said the ACT program would connect hard-to-reach residents in community housing and the wider community with services and other forms of assistance.

“We’re always looking for new ways to support housing residents and ACT is an exciting opportunity to foster engagement and connection with the Coffs community,” he said.

Julie Ferguson and Mission Australia encourage community members to join this grassroots effort by volunteering their time or by reaching out on behalf of seniors who may benefit from the program.

“Join us in building a vibrant and inclusive community where every senior thrives,” Julie invited.

For more information or to get involved, please contact Julie at 0421 430 175 or via email at coffsact@gmail.com.


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