West Tamar Positive Ageing Committee: Tackling isolation through local programs

West Tamar Positive Ageing Committee: Tackling isolation through local programs

The West Tamar Positive Ageing Committee takes on the pivotal role of overseeing the implementation of the Positive Ageing Strategy as part of their responsibility. Last year, the committee diligently revised and modernized their positive ageing strategy after seeking input from the community. 

Community Development Officer, Elizabeth Nye shared the process of this journey. 

“Last year we went out for consultation and one of the key areas in Legana is people wanted the opportunity to just mingle and catch up, nothing too fancy as such, but just the opportunity.”  

With their implementation plan in place, Elizabeth and Roslyn Burr, the committee’s chairperson, enthusiastically shared they were having their ‘year of fun’. 

“We thought, what better time than August, just to have a nice casual coffee, chat, and craft. Craft brings people together, and its social opportunities are basically for anyone. Our target audience is 50 and over, but we’re open and welcome to anyone coming.” Said Elizabeth Nye. 

Coffee and Craft is not the sole event organized by the committee; they also host various other functions throughout the entire municipality. 

Roslyn detailed, “We have functions in Beaconsfield, Riverside and Legana. We’ve got a drive-in coming up in October which will be held at Windsor, we’ve done that once before and it was very successful.” 

Elizabeth adding that the successful drive-in was a lot of fun. 

Post COVID, Coffee and Craft was just one of many opportunities designed to get people together. 

“I think it’s nice for people to come along and meet in a really casual, relaxed setting and that’s mainly what it’s about for us today, is just relaxing and meeting new people, your next-door neighbours you probably don’t know anymore and things like that.” Said Elizabeth Nye. 

“There’s not a lot of interaction in Legana, I suppose because it’s an expanding suburb and a lot of people go to work, and we thought well we’ll cater for the over 50’s that are stuck at home and don’t get out and enjoy things.” Roslyn said. 

Reflecting on the past year, Elizabeth said the group did a community knitting session throughout the West Tamar on a few occasions, with a common comment being made that it was nice to just sit down with people in your community and knit away or do a craft. 

Elizbeth continued, “We thought, what better opportunity: everyone’s got a half-finished project in their cupboard. So, why not bring it down?” 

For individuals who may not have an interest in crafting, there remains a chance to get involved and interact with local residents in the region through engaging in conversations and establishing connections with community members. 

“There are a few here that aren’t doing any craft work but they’re having a lovely time chatting and meeting new people.” Said Roslyn. 

Elizabeth added “Without any expectations as well, which I think is important.” 

When asked about the potential impact of initiatives like this on the community, Roslyn conveyed her optimistic anticipation. “I sincerely hope that it will have a vital impact and get people meeting their neighbours and talking around because there are a lot of lonely people, particularly retired people, who don’t know what to do or where to go.” She continued, “Getting in the bus and going into Launceston is a major trip for them, whereas if you have something locally, they can trot along and enjoy meeting new people.” 

Building upon this perspective, Elizabeth further shared they would gauge the room to see if there was a call for it. 

“We might look at doing it every couple of months and just bringing people together, that’s a bit of a test today and so far, people seem to be enjoying and just relaxing.” 

Whilst the committee don’t have a dedicated transport service, there are certain situations where they do arrange transportation based on the nature of the activity. For instance, they might organise pick-up locations for bus trips. However, Elizabeth acknowledged that their primary focus is on providing the venue and the opportunities for engagement. 

“CTST [Community Transport Services Tasmania] operate in the West Tamar, and they do a really good service where they can carpool to and pick up multiple people along the way if they’re going to the same location, so there’s definitely services there, but no, unfortunately we don’t have the budget capacity to offer a mode of transport.” Elizabeth said. 

For anyone looking to join, Roslyn said the committee had just recently instigated a new form of membership. “We have a committee, and we have a cut-off point of 14 people on that committee, but we’ve got so many people now wanting to become involved, that we now have general membership.” She continued, “General membership they can join and they will receive notification of what we as a committee are doing and they don’t have to rock up to a meeting every month they can just come along to the various functions that we put on.” 

“If anyone’s looking to see what the Positive Ageing Committee is doing in general, we actually have our own Facebook page, ‘West Tamar Positive Ageing Committee’. We also advertise our activities in the West Tamar Council’s beacon down the bottom, there’s all our events and activities.” Elizabeth said. 

“We also do flyer drops and things like that. So, we’d encourage everyone to get the beacon because then you know you’re getting it monthly, then you know you’re up to date.”  

The flyers are also available for collection from the visitor information centre in Exeter.  

“We just hope that people continue to get interested in what the Positive Ageing Committee is doing, and if they’ve got the questions just to contact Council and go from there.” Elizabeth said. 

To find out more visit the Positive Aging Committee’s Facebook page or contact the council on 03 6323 9200 

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