ILA to oversee Village Hubs grants program

The federal government has appointed a national manager to administer a $4.7 million grants program that will see ten new Village Hubs established across Australia.

The federal government has appointed a national manager to administer a $4.7 million grants program that will see ten new Village Hubs established across Australia.

Steve Glew

West Australian not for profit Independent Living Assessment (ILA) will assess grant applications and advise the government on community organisations to deliver the new hubs, which are designed to reduce isolation in older people and keep them connected to their communities.

Funding for the new hubs was first announced in 2018 and the government opened tenders for a program administrator late last year.

Village hubs, which have been likened to a community club or peer support network, target people aged 55 and over, and over 50 for Indigenous Australians.

The Village Hub movement was pioneered in the US, which now counts around 300 hubs, and has spread around the world from South Korea to Finland.

Australia’s first village started in Waverton , NSW, in 2012, and it now has more than 300 members.

Health and wellbeing benefits

The government says Village Hubs have been shown to be capable of bringing older people together via a range of social, physical, educational and cultural activities.

ILA CEO Steve Glew says a first step for the organisation will be to identify and prioritise communities where a village hub project might have benefits, and ILA is currently accepting expressions of interest.

“A grants selection process will follow for the establishment for up to ten new village hub projects and recommendations will be forwarded to the Department of Social Services for approval,” he says.

The hubs will be able to offer a range of social and health related activities such as walking groups, day trips, fitness classes, guest speakers, discussion groups, digital mentoring, creative writing classes and arts activities.

Mr Glew says one in three older Australians live alone, and isolation and loneliness can adversely affect mental and physical health.

“When established, the new Village Hubs will reduce these effects through improved social connectedness and inclusion in the community,” Mr Glew says.

The government says projects completed under the grants program will be evaluated as models for a long-term sustainable community-led initiative to help people age in place.

Funding will be available over four years, with the grant term expiring in June 2024.

Find more information about registering an expression of interest here or email villagehubs@ilaustralis.org.au

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Tags: ILA, independent-living-assessment, steve-glew, village-hubs,

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