Staying connected with sociable seniors
Keep fit classes, one-on-one digital courses and advice, speakers and entertainers, games days, shared meals and monthly outings are all helping Hastings’ seniors remain living in their own homes while staying connected to their communities.
A $15,000 grant from this year’s Hastings District Council Contestable Grants Fund is helping Anglican Care Waipu deliver its Heretaunga Seniors’ programmes. The contestable fund is distributed annually to groups developing or delivering a community service or project which fits with Council’s aim of “building a safe, liveable, sustainable community”. Council is profiling successful applicants from this year’s grants round.
One of Heretaunga Seniors’ most popular programmes is the new ‘Internet hub/café’ held on Tuesday afternoons at the service’s base in St Martin’s Hall in Willowpark Rd North, Hastings.
The submission to the grants process included the charities annual report which said the internet hub had proved very popular. “Some participants had completed a digital seniors course . . . others heard about the hub and wanted intermittent advice re choosing a suitable device and getting it set up to suit their needs.” The aim is to improve seniors’ ability to use digital communications to keep in touch with family and friends, particularly as mobility and health issues start to limit getting out and about.
Games Day, held every Thursday is another very popular day, with an average 30 to 35 people a week gathering to play indoor bowls, crib, 500, scrabble, and housie, amongst others. On Wednesdays - Community Day - members gather for a meal, entertainment, guest speaker and quizzes, while once a month the van is loaded up for a visit to a place of interest and a meal out. There are also keep fit classes, a craft group, a foot clinic, and book and DVD library.
The 25-year-old organisation runs on three part time staff, with the support of 33 volunteers, says centre coordinator Marilyn Scott. “We have no permanent income so rely totally on donations, fundraising, fees for service and grants like this one from Council. The funds are used to help run all of our programmes which are designed to help people continue to live independently in the community without becoming socially isolated. We also have two vans to provide transport for those who need it.
“On average our programmes attract 100 people a week and we expect that to grow as our population ages. It is about older people feeling valued, supported and stimulated by taking part.”