Outreach initiatives, technology workshops and community art programs for isolated older Australians are among a raft of proposals that will share a $600,000 funding pot provided by the NSW government.

The programs are being funded via the state government’s Reducing Social Isolation for Seniors Program, which this year has provided grants of up to $60,000 to 24 local councils and community groups that are running programs designed to combat social isolation among older people.

Connecting carers

Sydney North Public Health Network, one of the recipients of the grant, will help connect seniors who are carers.

Connections for Carers will operate in the Northern Beaches and will have a series of themed social activities throughout the year.

Advocacy group Holdsworth, another grant recipient, will help connect elderly people living in public housing in Randwick through its outreach program.

It will partner with social housing hubs to run group morning teas to help pinpoint individual needs, share information and build relationships and trust.

History walks

Cessnock City Council will use funding from the grant to run 20 technology workshops along a “memories and connection” theme, to help seniors make memories in a digital age.

It will also hold community history walks with its Local History Librarian and provide catered picnics at the historical sites, including Bridges Hill and Chinaman’s Hollow.

Maitland City Council will be putting its grant funding towards a community art project.

The project called Conversations will address the challenge of social isolation for older people and will include free social visits of exhibitions, outreach and online activities for people living with dementia and their carers, and opportunities for people to connect with each other.

Active participation

Minister for Seniors Mark Coure says the funding is designed to create opportunities for older people to come together, form new relationships and enjoy themselves in a social environment.

“Even without the challenges of COVID-19, no one likes to be alone or feel disconnected from their community, especially not our seniors,” he said in a statement. 

It’s the second round of the grants program, which last year awarded $1.2 million in funding for fifty projects.

“Seniors are integral to our communities and we appreciate the contributions they have made and continue to make,” Mr Coure said.

“That is why we need to ensure they are empowered to continue being active participants in community life, no matter who they are or what language they speak.”

Current programs must run to December 2022.

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