Darling Range Seniors Hub Initiative: An Overview
The Darling Range Seniors Hub Inc. is a new initiative being introduced across the City of Kalamunda following on the success of other such community 'Hubs' in Australia and the USA.
This exciting new concept is driven by the desire to support our valued senior citizens in continuing to live independently in their own homes, streets, and neighbourhoods, for as long as possible, as well as possible, and as inexpensively as possible.
The 'Hub' is a grassroots movement designed to connect ageing residents with a local 'mutual support' network, other age generations, community groups and their local community. It seeks to provide members with access to trusted and vetted business referrals, volunteer support, social and neighbour connection, friendship and meaningful community engagement opportunities which utilises their passions and skills.
Within the City of Kalamunda, the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) indicate that there are 16,800 residents in the over 55 years age group (28% of total population) and 10,200 over 65 years (17% of total population). There are almost 1000 residents who are over 85 years. Evidence indicates that at least three out of four Australian adults over 55 years of age want to remain in their own homes and communities as they age.
Following a series of information sessions across the diverse communities within the City of Kalamunda, an Establishment Committee of 17 persons has been created, chaired by local resident, Jennifer Irvine. This Establishment Committee was supported by 10 Task Teams. In December 2020, the initial Board was elected, comprising Peter Kenyon (President), Geof Irvin (Vice President), Tania Hawkins (Secretary), Ron Gamble (Treasurer), Jen Irvine, Ian Tarling, Kalem Zuiderwijk and Allan Morton. City of Kalamunda Councillors John Giardina and Kathy Richie have been co-opted to the Board. Cathy Audina, Fran Dean, Colleen Bitmead, Maria D’Sousa, Lyn Bevan, Nigel Miles and Tom Hogg are active contributing members to activity organisation and overall decision making. Currently the organisation is being incorporated and operational funding secured through sponsorship, grant applications and memberships. The organisation will be launched on 6 December 2019.
Sponsorship for this initiative to occur has already been provided by the Forrestfield and High Wycombe Community Bank Branch of the Bendigo Bank (our Platinum Sponsor), all three local Members of Parliament (Ken Wyatt, Mathew Hughes and Stephen Price), Department of Health, Retirees WA, Darling Range RSL Sub Branch, Lesmurdie Club, Woodlupine Family Centre, Creative 33 and Bank of I.D.E.A.S
Purpose and Activities
The Darling Range Seniors Hub Inc. is a networking/mutual arrangement operating as a not-for-profit organisation that supports ageing residents within the communities of the City of Kalamunda to stay connected to other community members and to continue to enjoy life and independence in their own homes and neighbourhoods for as long as possible and as economically as possible. It operates with the following simple vision and mission:
VISION: To live in a community where no one has to grow old alone.
MISSION: To provide our neighbours and friends with choices and support for living independently, actively and connected.
The Darling Range Seniors Hub is member-driven and intergenerational, encouraging people of all ages to support each other in achieving the goals of connection, friendship, mutual support and community contribution.
Key activities include that the Hub will:
- Provide ‘Hub’ spaces – places where community members can gather, interact, socialise and share their passions, gifts and skills. The first two ‘Hub spaces’ are being established at the Kalamunda RSL, Canning Rd, Kalamunda and the Woodlupine Family Centre, Forrestfield;
- Offer an information service that provides access to a wide range of vetted, discounted and affordable services, such as household repairs, tradespeople, homecare services and IT support;
- Establish a ‘Neighbour Hug’ support network, where volunteers and neighbours can offer personal support, friendly visitors, gardening, transportation and help with the wheelie bin;
- Operate a ‘buddy’ system, encouraging ‘ask a member first’ - – members share information, do small tasks for each other and look out for each other;
- Facilitate community and social connections with health and wellness programs, tool lending library, repair café, ‘happy hours’, group trips etc. – but always beginning first with linking members into what is already happening across the City of Kalamunda through other community groups; and
- Foster opportunities for members and other residents in the City of Kalamunda to contribute their talents, gifts and interests to the ‘Hub’ and the wider community.
In summary, the Darling Range Seniors Hub Inc. seeks to support initiatives that enable its members to lead vibrant, active, healthy and contributing lives, while continuing to live in their own homes, streets and neighbourhoods. It is simply all about "ageing in place" with all the benefits, familiarity and comforts of home, support of the neighbourhood and at an affordable cost.
The Darling Range Seniors Hub Inc. adheres to the following key principles and values-
- Inclusion: fostering environments and opportunities where all community members feel they belong, matter and can contribute, regardless of age or ability.
- Healthy ageing: the process of developing and maintaining functional abilities that enable wellbeing and autonomy into older age.
- Ageing in place: being able to ‘stay put’ as long as possible in familiar and locally valued environments.
- Valuing everyone: believing that every single community member has capacities, abilities, gifts and ideas, and living a good life depends on whether those capacities can be used, abilities expressed, gifts given and ideas shared.
- Community: believing in the prime importance of community and neighbour connection. Recognition that ageing is a vital and challenging life phase best shared with a supportive community and connected neighbours.
- Collaboration, partnership and networking: connecting with existing services, programs and facilities and avoiding duplication of what is already happening.
- Intergenerational solidarity: creating opportunities for all ages to share, support and learn from each other.
- Respect: revering and valuing the decision and lifestyle choices and contributions of older people.
- Ethical and sustainable practice: committing to act in ways that cause no harm to people or the environment.
The vision of the Darling Range Seniors Hub Inc. seeks the creation of a number of tangible and positive outcomes for residents of the communities in the City of Kalamunda, including their ageing members, namely:
- Leading the revolution to positively reimagine and experience ageing and community life.
- Helping to generate age-friendly and dementia-friendly environments.
- Reducing loneliness, by seeking to ‘wrap’ community around residents, not just more services and programs.
- Making neighbourhoodsfeel safer and more friendly.
- Challenging stereotype images of how ageing residents and people experiencing dementia should behave and combatting all forms of ageism.
- Actively creating and promoting opportunities for intergenerational sharing and volunteerism.
- Creating opportunities for all community members to share their interests and assets to build stronger community and more neighbour connection.
- Optimising social and community participation.
- Providing information and connections to enable members to confidently engage with certain local vetted businesses and be confident of honest and reasonably priced service.
- Helping local businessesgain more customers and become more closely linked with their community.
- Contributing to strengthening collaboration and collective impact between community groups and networks.
- Minimising the potential for ‘elder abuse’.
- Assisting family membersto feel less stressed and more supported.
- Providing a practical expression to the objectives of the City of Kalamunda’s Age Friendly Strategy and Action Plan.