Multicultural seniors in the Nowra area have received a much-appreciated social boost thanks to support from Multicultural Communities Council of Illawarra (MCCI) and the Australian Government.
Member for Gilmore, Fiona Phillips MP joined MCCI’s Italian social group for lunch to celebrate the $332,270 funding boost under the Commonwealth Home Support Programme, funded by the Department of Health and Aged Care.
“As local people age, social support and connection becomes even more important, especially in regional multicultural communities that can be more heavily impacted by social isolation,” Fiona Phillips said.
“It is so wonderful to join these vibrant seniors for lunch to see firsthand the invigorating difference programs like this make to their lives,” she said.
MCCI’s social groups aim to support people with company and friendship to overcome isolation and loneliness. Participants enjoy activities, games, dancing and singing, community outings, and a home cooked meal for lunch.
Importantly, they also become the trusted entry point for people who might need later help with Home Care Packages and other aged care services, which can be overwhelming as people age.
The Hon Anika Wells MP, Minister for Aged Care, said that expanding social supports for older people, especially in regional centres, is crucial for fostering connection, friendship and easing loneliness.
“I applaud the work of MCCI in supporting older people to stay connected to their culture and participate in community life.”
“We are proud to fund social groups across the country through the Commonwealth Home Support Programme to contribute to the happiness, wellbeing and independence of older people.”
MCCI has been running social support group programs for older migrants since 1986 mainly in the Illawarra. Today they run more than 25 social groups for older people in the Illawarra and Canberra regions, and are now expanding to the Shoalhaven.
“I am so proud to be supporting these connections with new funding from the Australian Government for our community – well done and thank you to MCCI for bringing your amazing programs to the Shoalhaven,” Fiona said.
MCCI’s CEO and Company Secretary, Mr Chris Lacey said: “We are delighted that the Australian Government has approved a funding enhancement to respond the Shoalhaven’s changing population dynamics, where roughly now 10% of older people are from migrant backgrounds.”
“With this new funding, we’ll be able to expand our social group program into the region. The fabulous Italian Seniors Group is the first of several new social groups that we will look to establish locally for the community and then start to build our specialist home care programs as well,” Chris said.
The funding under the Commonwealth Home Support Programme covers the costs of a bilingual group worker, hall hire costs, and program expenses for meals and other incidentals.