...providing connection and social inclusion to marginalized Victorians
Bev Farrugia has recently completed a successful year in the position of Senior Worker – Planned Activity Group. Here she explains the aim of the program.
“It’s really satisfying when a client picks up a new skill or reignites an old passion. Through the Planned Activity Group a couple of members are even learning the ukulele!” says VincentCare’s Bev Farrugia.
VincentCare Victoria’s Planned Activity Program (PAG) for the City of Melbourne provides an opportunity for social inclusion for people 50 years and over who come from a marginalised background or those who are experiencing or at risk of homelessness.Starting with approximately ten members in May 2015, the team has worked hard to grow the group and have attracted many new participants, taking the group to almost 30.
Led by Bev and Helen Begley, the group enjoys a wide range of activities including art, writing and storytelling, music, cooking, gardening and day trips to local attractions. Scheduled every Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday the calendar of events is guided by the group’s interests.
“Accommodating a wide range of interests for people with different needs and capabilities is no mean feat,” says Bev. “We spend much of our time consulting with members and planning each day...There’s a fair bit to consider when putting together the calendar for members, but we make sure that each individual has input and that there’s something for everyone to enjoy” says Bev.
The program has proven to be very valuable to participants, Bev says “Some have compared the group to a family and we do aim to provide connection to ease the feeling of isolation.”
[Older people aged 55 or over, make up 12% of the recorded homeless population -2011 Census]
Bev is now Ozanam Community Centre’s Drop-in coordinator.
Pandeli Laskaris has taken up the role of Senior Worker – Planned Activity Group.