Tea and scones provide seniors with social connection

28 Feb 2022

An initiative to combat social isolation amongst the city's elderly population caused by the COVID-19 pandemic has been dished up today thanks to funds provided by City of Newcastle.

NovaCare's Scone Time encourages elderly community members, their carers, companions and family members to re-connect over morning tea, with the first event held today in Merewether.

Thirty elderly Newcastle residents came together for the unique social event funded under City of Newcastle’s expanded Community and Economic Resilience Package, which aims to support vulnerable communities through the ongoing impacts of COVID-19.

Lord Mayor Nuatali Nelmes said initiatives like Scone Time are so important as we continue to feel the impact of COVID-19 and look towards recovering from the pandemic.

"The last two years have presented challenges for everyone, but these are heightened amongst our elderly population,” Cr Nelmes said

“Providing seniors with safe and supported opportunities to seek meaningful social connection will improve the wellbeing of our community.”

City of Newcastle Director Strategy and Engagement Kathleen Hyland said continued support of the community will benefit the city’s most vulnerable residents.

“When the pandemic was declared in 2020, we moved quickly to deliver social, economic and well-being outcomes that would support our community,” said Ms Hyland.

“As the effects of COVID-19 continued to impact our community with social and economic disruption, we extended our $5.5 million community and economic resilience package to provide additional support with a targeted program including assistance for local charities and the most vulnerable in our community."

NovaCare Chief Executive Officer Joseph McCarthy said City of Newcastle’s support will allow the initiative to be rolled out across a number of locations in Newcastle, with up to 20 events to be held this year.

"The pandemic has caused social isolation amongst older people, some of whom are now feeling lonely and hesitant to re-enter activities” Mr McCarthy said.

"City of Newcastle's support will enable NovaCare to provide social re-connection to local seniors in a supported environment where they can share homemade scones, their thoughts and feelings, amongst great company."

The free events are open to anyone over the age of 65, their carers and family members. Bookings can be made by contacting NovaCare.

Northern Settlement Services has also received funding under City of Newcastle's Community and Economic Resilience Package. The grant will be used for a social and recreational program for vulnerable cultural and linguistically diverse populations.

To find out more about how we're responding to COVID-19 visit www.newcastle.nsw.gov.au/covid-19