4 November 2022

Boost for Riverina councils working to reduce social isolation among seniors

| Shri Gayathirie Rajen
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NSW Government grants will help the Bland and Temora shire councils continue their programs aimed at bringing seniors together in a range of activities to combat isolation and loneliness. Photo: File.

The Bland and Temora shire councils are set to benefit from the NSW Government’s Reducing Social Isolation for Seniors Program.

Bland Shire Council received $50,000 for its Mornings, Melodies and Memories community-led initiative and its Temora counterpart was given $20,000 to hold its Flow workshops.

Member for Cootamundra Steph Cooke said the Bland Shire program was a wonderful way to establish connections between communities and allow members to share their stories about living in the region.

“I eagerly await to hear about these amazing stories which will empower our seniors to be active and connected in their local community,” Ms Cooke said.

Bland Shire corporate and community services director Alison Balind said the Mornings, Melodies and Memories program was a series of gatherings held across the shire to share local history and build connections.

“The project is designed to run for approximately 10 months with monthly events in the communities of Barmedman, Ungarie and Weethalle and bi-monthly in the communities of Tallimba and Mirrool,” Ms Balind said.

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Ms Cooke said the Flow workshops in Temora were designed to empower seniors to be active and connected in their community.

Temora Council community development officer Shontayne Ward said the workshops built on the outcomes achieved through the previous program by continuing to offer creative ways for seniors to reconnect with each other and the wider community.

“In the Temora shire we have a higher proportion of seniors than average, and we want to ensure they know how much we value their contribution to our local society,” Ms Ward said.

Ms Cooke said following the third round of the program, the NSW Government had now supported 71 different programs with some $2 million to support seniors and keep them connected with their communities across the state.

“Seniors are an integral part of our society and we want to make sure they don’t run the risk of falling into social isolation,” she said.

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“It is important to support our local seniors as they play such an important role in breaking down those barriers of social isolation.”

Funding of up to $50,000 was on offer in the third round of the Reducing Social Isolation for Seniors grants program. Projects must run through 2022-2023.

The main goals of the Reducing Social Isolation for Seniors grants are to: reduce social isolation for people aged 65 and over, or 50 years and over for Aboriginal people; support effective, self-sustaining projects that provide meaningful and lasting social connection opportunities for older people who are socially isolated or at risk of isolation; support projects that help older people connect and actively engage with each other through small-group activities (interest groups, social events or environmental activities) that bring them together in person throughout the year and enable them to develop quality relationships that can be maintained beyond these activities; and support projects and activities that seek to actively engage new people, particularly harder-to-reach, socially isolated older people.

For more information on the grants, visit: Reducing Social Isolation for Seniors Grant Program.

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