The Fleurieu Neighbourhood Network, an initiative powered by COTA SA, offers the opportunity for older South Australians who live in the Southern Fleurieu Peninsula to age well in their own community.
The Fleurieu is home to the oldest population in South Australia. Around 61% of Southern Fleurieu’s population is aged over 50 years, with approximately 20% of older people living alone.
Covering areas including Goolwa, Victor Harbor, Port Elliot, Middleton, Hindmarsh Island, Encounter Bay, McCracken and Hayborough, the Fleurieu Neighbourhood Network program aims to provide opportunities for locals to connect, be active, share interests and ultimately support each other.
The program offers peer-to-peer volunteering and support, ageing well activities including walking groups and book clubs, community events, as well as information and support to access services.
Fleurieu Neighbourhood Network Manager Jill Mitchell said it is a great way for older people in regional areas like the Fleurieu to come together, form new relationships, and bond with the wider community.
“The program is something truly unique in the region and is a wonderful way to support those in the community who are experiencing social isolation, especially as many older people relocate to the area in their retirement.”
“Research shows that being connected with others is important for physical and mental wellbeing and the program recognises that through mutual support, older people can enhance their lives and age well with each other, promoting positive ageing,” Jill continues.
One of the most popular activities includes Strollin’ on the River which is aimed at people who love the camaraderie of a walking group but with a slower walking pace. Leaving from the Goolwa Regatta Yacht Club every Wednesday at 10:30am, participants walk along the river path and enjoy a leisurely stroll with other members.
“The walking group has been very well received with all who have participated recently. We even had two women who participated for the first time, bursting into happy tears when they finished because they were overjoyed to get out of the house and interact with others in the community — it was really beautiful to see,” Jill said.
“There is now strong interest in starting walking groups in other locations across the Fleurieu, which we will start considering in the new year,” Jill continued.
The Fleurieu Neighbourhood Network has also recently launched a new initiative for members to create a list of 50 things that they want to do before they turn 100, encouraging people to explore the region and have fun with their neighbours.
“This new initiative is a great way to bring the community together and encourage older South Australians to get out and explore the Fleurieu. Whether you enjoy a pie from the local bakery, exploring rock pools, or heritage walks, it’s an opportunity for people to get together and create memories that last for years,” Jill concluded.
Members of the Fleurieu Neighbourhood Network can also join a book club that meets at Victor Harbor Library to discuss and share reading material, but also hosting seminars and information sessions aboutn ageing well and how to navigate My Aged Care.
Membership is completely free and open to all older people living in the region, with the opportunity to also be involved in shaping the program and the activities it runs.
To become a member of the Fleurieu Neighbourhood Network, please complete the membership form or call 1800 182 324.