This project raised awareness of social isolation and loneliness, and increased opportunities for socially isolated people to access established social activities in Frankston and the Mornington Peninsula region.
The project developed a Community Connector Project, which trained volunteers to deliver one-on-one support to alleviate barriers to accessing social activities. Via a relaxed phone conversation or face to face, Community Connector volunteers would identify the activities community members would like to be involved in and provide them with information on how to access those activities. Volunteers could also accompany community members to an activity or group to help them settle in.
A focus on building capacity in existing clubs and groups to provide a welcoming and friendly environment for new members helped to retain and increase membership. It also meant that Community Connectors could refer people to activities, and be confident that they would be warmly welcomed.
Through this project the group:
- developed a high-quality social inclusion volunteer Community Connector training package
- recruited a project leadership group from 12 key community agencies across Frankston and the Mornington Peninsula
- held two large community consultations to determine the project scope, attended by 90 people
- delivered the Community Connector training package to 55 community members
- recruited 17 Community Connector volunteers across the Frankston and Mornington Peninsula region, and provided ongoing support and training for volunteers
- raised awareness of the importance of social inclusion for health. This occurred at community and agency levels
- increased partnerships within communities
- developed a resource kit to enable seniors clubs and groups to implement welcoming policies and procedures
- committed to providing ongoing support and training for volunteer committees of management to help them develop their club or group
- strengthened relationships between the clubs and groups and council, and also strengthened the relationship between the two partnering councils
- brought together representatives of 58 clubs from across the region to attend a Seniors Clubs and Group Forum in November 2017 to network and discuss what it means to be a welcoming club
- developed a publication for clubs and groups about how to develop and maintain a welcoming culture
- increased relationships between local government and local seniors clubs and groups resulting in ongoing support and training programs being offered to committees of management.
Project Leadership Group:
- Michael Hillier, Brotherhood of St Laurence
- Kate Stuart, Mornington Peninsula Shire Council, Community Development Officer, Volunteering & Community Building
- Thea Grenfel, Peninsula Health, Health Promotion Practitioner
- Lara Lau, MiCare, Access & Support
- Janet Reid, Frankston North Community Centre
- Heather Barton, Manager, Seawinds Community Hub
- Noel Brown, LGBTIQ Community Representative
- Dennis Mason, President, U3A Frankston
- Melissa King, Coordinator, Volunteer Resource Centre
Positive Ageing Officer Family Health Support Services
Frankston City Council.
Telephone: 0 3 9784 1046
Seniors Project Officer and Assessment Officer
Mornington Peninsula Shire
Phone: 03 5950 1672
Reviewed 10 August 2022