Seniors Festival grants for the Coffs Coast bring socialising opportunities for our elders

East Coast Accessibility Experts giving back through art workshops.

 

SENIORS WEEK 2022 grants are being announced with two Coffs Coast recipients gaining a share of $200,000 in NSW Government funding to host a community event to celebrate the 2022 Seniors Festival to be held from 25 March 2022 to 3 April 2022.

The 2022 theme will be Reconnect, an ode to reconnecting after a socially and physically distanced year.

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Our local recipients are: Coffs Harbour City Council with its Reconnecting Seniors Towards Positive, Healthy and Empowered Ageing ($7,000) and East Coast Accessibility Experts for their Seniors Celebration – Art Therapy, ($800).

“Our seniors play a vital role in our community as volunteers, carers and grandparents and we want to recognise and reward their contribution with activities tailored to their interests,” said Gurmesh Singh, Member for Coffs Harbour.

News Of The Area spoke with Alison Henery from East Coast Accessibility Experts, a not-for-profit organisation providing modifications and maintenance to support people living safely in their own home and community.

“The grant provides us with the opportunity to engage with our community and to celebrate our elders in social activities through Seniors Week which provides us with as much enjoyment as the people attending.

“We are always looking for new activity ideas to keep everyone interested and engaged.

“This year we have held four ‘Art Therapy’ events, and we run three strength and balances classes each week throughout the year where the participants increase their strength, flexibility and laugh their way through the classes when they are not concentrating.

“The participants attending have made new friendships where they often socialise after the class by meeting for a coffee.

“Gurmesh telephoned on Friday to personally deliver the good news that we were successful in our grant application.”

Cath Harnack, 72, from Toormina attends both the Art Therapy events and the Strength and Balances classes and is looking forward to what Seniors Week holds.

“I really enjoy the art classes for the social side – we have a really good laugh while doing something we wouldn’t normally do.

“The classes are structured, with guided instructions but we can do our own thing within that, meaning it’s not intimidating.

“We display varying degrees of skills and admire each other’s work.

“It’s good for the brain to work with the shapes, perspective, colours and have the freedom to experiment.

“Quite a number of us live alone so this is a really good opportunity to interact socially, have lunch together and be creative.

“The young lasses who run the class coax us into getting started – taking that first step is an achievement in itself.”

Numerous events and activities will take place during NSW Seniors Festival from 25 March − 3 April 2022 and provide older people with cultural, creative, sporting and recreational opportunities.

Coffs Harbour City Council, in collaboration with a number of key organisations such as Mission Australia Housing, Community Housing Limited and Mid North Coast Local Health District, will deliver a multi-component initiative to celebrate Seniors Week in 2022.

The 2022 Seniors Week Festival is planned to be held at the Boambee East Community Centre, however there are a range of activities leading up to the event, designed to improve access to technology for older people.

Participants regionally will be able to benefit from the information, demonstrations, entertainment, and live online chats with the providers.

Attendance in these virtual activities will increase knowledge, experience, and skills in a variety of relevant topics around ageing well in our community.

Coming out of the COVID pandemic, this event is important in reducing the isolation and loneliness reported amongst seniors, and will contribute to the improvement of health and wellbeing of older people in the community.

For more information about the 2022 NSW Seniors Festival visit seniorsfestival.nsw.gov.au.

 

By Andrea FERRARI

 

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