Connection and lifelong learning in focus for 2024 Seniors Festival

13 Feb 2024

Community connection and lifelong learning is at the heart of Newcastle's annual festival celebrating seniors as part of the state-wide NSW Senior's Festival.

With the theme 'Reach Beyond', close to 40 events and activities will be held across the city from 11 -24 March 2024 delivered by City of Newcastle (CN) and a range of community organisations.

CN facilities will play host to a range of events including the flagship comedy gala and Seniors Expo at City Hall, a travel writing workshop with renowned author Bruce Elder at Wallsend Library and a saucy science lecture with Newcastle Museum's resident scientist.

Lord Mayor Nuatali Nelmes said that the success of previous festivals led to the establishment of a committee to organise a packed program for 2024.

"The Seniors Festival Reference Committee have created a wonderful program featuring a range of activities presented by City of Newcastle and a diverse mix of community groups," Cr Nelmes said.

“Line dancing lessons, Tai Chi classes, handbell ringing demonstrations, pickleball matches and cake decorating sessions are just some of the free activities on offer.

"The seniors festival is an opportunity to collaborate with community organisations and groups who champion the health and wellbeing of our seniors and continue to raise awareness of the barriers older people face every day.

"City of Newcastle is proud to take part in this inclusive event that encourages people to connect with their community, supports health and wellbeing, and celebrates the wealth of knowledge and experience that our seniors bring to the city."

Minister for Seniors Jodie Harrison said the NSW Seniors Festival is a fantastic opportunity for seniors to get together, connect and make new friends.

“This year’s NSW Seniors Festival theme ‘Reach Beyond’ says it all – we want our seniors to seize this opportunity, to attend the various events around the state and try something new," Minister Harrison said.

“Seniors have and continue to make valuable contributions to our communities, whether it is through volunteering or caring roles. The Seniors Festival running from 11-24 March is our way of thanking them for this, with plenty of free activities on offer across the state, including the Premier’s Gala Concerts, expo and Comedy Shows.

“The City of Newcastle Seniors Festival Reference Committee has put together a strong festival program and I encourage local seniors to join in the festivities and make the most of what is on offer.”

City of Newcastle's newly named Senior Citizen of the Year and president of Hunter Ageing Alliance, Professor Julie Byles, was a key member of The Seniors Festival Reference Committee.

"The Seniors Festival strengthens social connections by bringing people from across the Hunter region together," Professor Byles said.

"We hope that the breadth of events in this year's program, tailored to different interests and abilities, will encourage our seniors to 'reach beyond' and try something or meet someone new.

"The importance of continual learning and connection cannot be underestimated which is why the festival plays such a significant role in the mental health and wellbeing of seniors in our community.”

Alongside the City of Newcastle events are a wide selection of community-led activities, lectures and workshops included as part of this year's festival program.

This year's festival will start on 11 March 2024 with the flagship comedy gala and expo at City Hall.