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In 2020, the NSW Government awarded more than $700,000 in funding for projects to reduce social isolation for seniors during COVID-19. This included $100,000 from the Ministerial Advisory Council on Ageing (MACA) for projects that supported their work plan.
24 organisations received funding to deliver innovative programs that helped older people connect with each other through online engagement or other methods that maintain social distancing.
Fourteen Bangalow organisations came together to establish a centralised call centre targeting social isolation and loneliness among seniors. The centre coordinated support services to supply pre-cooked meals, issue cash vouchers for basic needs, distribute fresh vegetables and produce, and supply firewood and warm clothing to seniors.
For more information, please contact email@example.com
Bellingen Neighbourhood Care Network, Community Radio 2BBB and Bellingen Council libraries jointly:
For more information, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org
The project offered social and emotional support to Chinese and Korean speaking seniors aged over 65 in metropolitan Sydney and Wollongong who were isolated at home because of COVID-19. Volunteers made individual and group contact with seniors through telephone, social media platforms, Zoom, and YouTube.
For more information, please contact email@example.com
Cobar Shire Council reached out to isolated seniors via weekly phone calls. The conversations provided regular wellbeing check-ins and helped keep minds busy during isolation. The council also arranged for library books and craft activities to be delivered to seniors’ homes.
For more information, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org
This project offered a combination of online, telephone and offline connection opportunities for seniors. Seniors in regional areas, particularly social housing tenants, were connected with local groups and activities, and supported to develop technology skills and take advantage of diverse activities resulting from digital inclusion initiatives that bridged geographical divides.
For more information, please contact BetterTogether@chl.org.au
Dance for Parkinson’s NSW countered the physical divide by creatively connecting communities across the state. The project included:
For more information, please contact email@example.com
Together We Dance is a digital initiative by FORM Dance Projects to enable seniors over 65 and people diagnosed with Parkinson's disease in Western Sydney to connect and socialise through physical and creative activities.
For more information, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org
The project reduced isolation and loneliness by bringing seniors and the community together during COVID-19 and beyond. It was geographically spread across the rural location of Greater Hume Council. The project used online communication tools as well as other methods for social connection.
For more information, please contact email@example.com
Multilingual volunteers conducted social support video and phone calls with isolated Muslim seniors throughout Sydney. The H.O.P.E project guided, engaged and connected Muslim seniors who had access to online technology with other seniors or volunteers. The Walk-While-We-Talk initiative was offered to seniors with limited online access or capability.
For more information, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org
The Inner West Council delivered a suite of online programs for seniors, designed to create social connection, improve wellbeing, and target loneliness and mental health during sustained isolation. The project featured an eight-week Oral History Wellbeing Program, Keeping Connected Phone Link service, and online creative activities facilitated by mental health professionals, art therapists and group facilitators.
For more information, please contact email@example.com
Lachlan Shire Council introduced an interactive fortnightly newsletter featuring interviews with residents across the shire, photos, puzzles and exercise plans. Residents contributed by sharing stories, recipes and interests. Staff and volunteers contacted clients through the fortnight to complete puzzles together and discuss the newsletter’s content.
For more information, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org
Project "Hello" is a multi-layered seniors support project in South Eastern Sydney. It offered phone, mail and digital engagement to isolated seniors through trained multilingual volunteers. Seniors could access a monitored hub 12 hours a day, every day, and be referred to services.
For more information, please contact email@example.com
Checking in on our Aunties: Keeping Mob Connected is a regular, purposeful and friendly yarn between Liverpool Women's Health Centre’s Koori specific worker and local senior Koori women. It provided proactive information and referral, community connection and kindness to break down loneliness and isolation using a trauma-informed, culturally-appropriate approach.
For more information, please contact SWSLHD-LiverpoolWomensHealthCentre@health.nsw.gov.au
In normal times, seniors thrive on regular social interactions in groups. Living Connected helped clubs, community groups and families on the south coast from Wollongong to Eurobodalla Shire, to continue to meet – virtually. The organisation provided assistance with technical set-up, hosted engaging sessions and upskilled novice users so no one missed out.
For more information, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org
The project provided phone and Zoom conferencing facilitated by the Carer Support Service Officer of Northern Sydney Local Health District. Multiple weekly sessions engaged older carers, providing a supported 'virtual space' where they could connect positively, share, learn, laugh, access support and vital information. Facebook support was also provided.
For more information, please contact NSLHD-Carers@health.nsw.gov.au
Connect-a-Kit is an interactive kit project targeted at seniors living in Orange that provided opportunities for social interaction, mental stimulation, new activities, and health promotion resources. Kits were delivered and exchanged on a fortnightly basis.
For more information, please contact Arodwell@orange.nsw.gov.au
Grow Together offered an online social network for seniors focused around sustainable gardening. Social isolation would be addressed through sharing photos and stories about gardening in the past, present and future. Basic smartphones would be distributed to 300 seniors in Western Sydney, with training provided by younger community members.
For more information, please contact email@example.com
Community Connections is a suite of programs designed to combat social isolation for seniors living in Port Stephens by maintaining and building new human connections between seniors – both virtually and creatively. The proposed activities were informed by the principles of social inclusion, community development and adult learning.
For more information, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org
HOW-R-U? sought to address the increased public health concern of seniors in Lake Macquarie, Port Macquarie-Hastings and Tweed local government areas experiencing isolation, loneliness and depressive symptoms during COVID-19. It sought to ameliorate the isolation experienced as a result of physical/social distancing through adapting a proven volunteer-based telephone intervention that improves social connection and overall wellbeing of seniors.
For more information, please contact email@example.com
This project increased the social and digital connectedness of socially-isolated seniors living in regional, rural and remote areas. It provided digital training for platforms such as Zoom, email, WhatsApp video calls and Facebook. The project enhanced seniors’ access to new and established networks (based on their needs and interests), vital information and resources.
For more information, please contact Olga.Yoldi@vinnies.org.au
The project provided seniors in northern, eastern and western Sydney the opportunity to engage with others who have a common interest, and participate in the activity online or by telephone. The project reduced social isolation and loneliness while also supporting the development of new friendships that can be sustained outside the group.
For more information, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org
This brought seniors feeling isolated together by phone, local radio and newspaper. Many seniors residing in Wingecarribee are not connected with technology and depend on the basics for communication.
For more information, please contact email@example.com
This project re-engaged more than 400 volunteers who had been made inactive due to COVID-19 lockdown and visitor restrictions. It enabled them to use their knowledge and experience to provide a range of social engagement opportunities to seniors at risk of isolation and loneliness in the Illawarra, Southern Highlands and Queanbeyan areas.
For more information, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org
Winanga-Li Elders Link ensured that Aboriginal Elders participated in and contributed to their community during their experience of COVID-19 distancing or isolation. Aboriginal seniors in regional communities were able to access remote social group opportunities and one-on-one support to prevent social disconnection or isolation.
For more information, please contact KateM@winanga-li.org.au
13 Oct 2022
We acknowledge Aboriginal people as the First Nations Peoples of NSW and pay our respects to Elders past, present, and future.
Informed by lessons of the past, Department of Communities and Justice is improving how we work with Aboriginal people and communities. We listen and learn from the knowledge, strength and resilience of Stolen Generations Survivors, Aboriginal Elders and Aboriginal communities.
You can access our apology to the Stolen Generations.