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‘Hello Hornsby’: Caring, Sharing and… Lots of Fun

It is great news that the Hornsby Shire Council ‘Hello Hornsby’ program, designed to provide and incorporate a range of activities for the benefit of our Hornsby Shire residents, aged 60+ years, is continuing in 2024.

In 2023, buoyed by a NSW Government grant, this program also held events correlated with International, National and State event weeks, such as International Women’s Day, NAIDOC Week, National Volunteer Week, Dementia Action Week and ‘Wear it Purple Day’.

Nearly a quarter of the Hornsby Shire population is aged 60+ years. This age group often faces several changes due to retirement, becoming an ‘empty nester’ and/or a carer, ‘downsizing’, widowhood and/or changes in health.

These changes can affect the ability of our 60+ residents to connect with and maintain friendship networks and their community, as well as access social support. In Hornsby Shire, such changes can intensify social isolation for our rural residents, due to poor transport options and limited access to services.

Council staff crafted the ‘Hello Hornsby’ program to bridge our Shire communities, by giving residents the opportunity to enjoy a range of events, free of charge, in a variety of urban and rural locations. The informal morning teas and the River Postman trip down the Hawkesbury were very special but I will highlight two events held in October that shone in their impact.

Hello ‘Hello Hornsby’: Caring, Sharing And... Lots Of Fun

The Carers Week Comedy Show, held at the Hornsby RSL, attracted 200 participants who were either carers for a person with a disability, long term illness or old age or were persons who are recipients of that care. The Comedy Show created much laughter but more poignant was the shared conversation and laughter I saw amongst the attendees whilst they enjoyed their buffet lunch.

Several participants advised me, without complaint, that this event is the only outing they have had away from their carer responsibilities that year.

The Grandparents Day, held at Koala Park, attracted 400 grandparents and grandchildren and a waiting list. For many attendees, it was their first opportunity as a family to see a koala, kangaroo and different species of birds up close.

It was wonderful to observe the relaxed interactions, laughter and ‘shared moments’ between grandparents, their grandchildren and other Hornsby Shire families, whilst they enjoyed the Park, fed the animals, and took photographs of each other.

The ’Hello Hornsby’ program clearly provides attendees with a firm sense of belonging to their Hornsby Shire community. Such a ‘belonging’ opens the possibility for our older residents to reach out to others within their local community and take proactive steps to adapt to changes in their life.

In January, the 2024 program began with a well-attended coffee morning for residents in the Hornsby Library. This event was an excellent entrée to another year of ‘Hello Hornsby’s’ caring, sharing and fun experiences.

For further details re future ‘Hello Hornsby’ events see the website https://www.hornsby.nsw.gov.au/community/services/seniors/hello-hornsby If you have any concerns or issues where I may assist, please do not hesitate to contact me at [email protected] CLLR DR VERITY GREENWOOD, Hornsby Shire Council

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