senior art class
Art classes are included amongst activities supported by the Seniors Connected Program. Photo – Canva.
  • Part of the federal government's Seniors Connected Program Scheme
  • $4.7 million will go towards at least 10 new Village Hub Projects
  • A third of all Australian seniors live alone

Western Australian not-for-profit, Independent Living Assessment (ILA), has been announced as the national grants manager for the administration side of the Village Hubs Grants Fund.

The Grants Fund, a key initiative of the Federal Governments Seniors Connected Program, is worth $4.7 million over four years.

ILA will administrate grants to community organisations that will facilitate the establishment of at least 10 new Village Hub projects.

According to the Department of Social Services, a third of all seniors in Australia live alone. Unfortunately, this alleviates a general feeling of loneliness and social isolation which can subsequently impact mental health.

The Seniors Connected Program is designed to address these issues for Australians over 55 – and Indigenous Australians aged 50 and over – by expanding the national phone support service, Friends for Life, along with Village Hubs.

In particular, Village Hubs provide a range of diverse social activities covering physical, social, learning and art and cultural angles. These include walking groups, fundraising events, digital skills mentoring along with art classes.

Steve Glew, ILA’s CEO, said he was glad to be a part of such an important initiative. He highlighted that many in the community who are at risk of social isolation might be feeling lonelier over the past year due to the pandemic, making the initiative more appropriate than ever.

“Within the context of the global pandemic, the Village Hubs initiative is a timely measure to help address the risks associated with members of community who may be more at risk of social isolation,” said Mr Glew.

He says once established, the Village Hubs will reduce the impact of loneliness on mental and physical wellbeing through social connectedness and community inclusion.

“Our first step is to identify and prioritise communities across Australia where the benefits of a village hub project may be realised. A grants selection process will follow for the establishment of up to ten new village hub projects, and recommendations will be forwarded to Department of Social Services for approval,” Mr Glew said.

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