Older people living in the communities of Melville, Glenview and Deanwell can now make new friends and catch up for a cup of tea and a chat every week at the Selwyn Centre which opened this week at St Luke’s Anglican Church (8 St Luke’s Place, Melville).
Operating from St Luke's parish hall, this community drop-in centre will provide a warm welcome to the over 65s every Thursday morning from 9.30am until 12 noon. Seniors living in the local area will be able to meet others and socialise in a friendly environment, whilst enjoying a varied programme of social activities, gentle exercise, good conversation and a hearty morning tea.
The new Selwyn Centre is part-funded by The Selwyn Foundation, a charitable trust providing services to older people and their families and hosted in association with St Luke’s Anglican parish. It welcomes people of all religious, cultural or spiritual backgrounds who may live alone or may be in need of friendship, help and support.
The morning programme of activities is run by a coordinator and a team of volunteers, with each session costing $3.00 (including morning tea). Centre coordinator, Gwenda Hanley, says she and her team look forward to welcoming new guests.
“Our Centre is open to anyone who would benefit from meeting with friendly people. Everyone is welcome, whether they’re living alone, recently bereaved, new to the area or just want some company,” says Gwenda. “We invite people to come and share morning tea, catch up with others from the neighbourhood and generally have lots of fun as family.”
More than eight hundred older adults of varying levels of independence and mobility currently attend one of forty-one Selwyn Centres each week in the Waikato (Cambridge, Morrinsville and Te Awamutu), as well as in Auckland, Northland and Christchurch. The Selwyn Centre initiative is designed to address the major problems of social isolation of older people and the health risks that often occur as a result.
Loneliness can be a serious health issue for older people and research indicates that social interaction with others directly influences general health. It can also bring psychological benefits, such as delaying the onset of dementia.