it was a great pleasure to welcome Peter Kenyon again to our club. Peter was instrumental to setting up the Timor Leste Leavers Program.
This time around he presented to us another project from his Bank of I.D.E.A.S: "the Hub'.  Responding to Society's Critical Issue of Loneliness and Social Isolation, and Possible Local Actions.
 
Peter has had over many years a very close connection with Rotary, starting way back when he was himself a RYLA (Rotary Youth Leadership Awards) participant, later also being part of the district RYLA committee. In his many travels he saw the impact the Rotary has on the many communities, in drought impacted towns like Longreach QLD, or in Geraldton with the H.M.A.S Memorial, and in many other towns where one sees a Rotary Park or other mementos created by Rotary. Peter mentioned that our Artisan Markets, are not only a fundraiser, but is creating a gathering that brings the community together, same with the Opera at Twilight, all these types of  fundraisers is bringing people together, thus working against the loneliness that 1 in 4 Australians are exposed to.
5.6m people are lonely almost all of the time or on a regular basis according to the Australian Red Cross. Compared with the mid-1980s Australians today have four fewer really close friends: people they could talk with frankly, without having to watch their words... 18% of people say they have no one to turn to in times of difficulty (2018 OmniPoll)
 
Ken Wyatt - Member for Hasluck and Minister for Indigenous Affairs says that "Loneliness is our critical issue" 60% of people living in Nursing Homes do not have any visitors!
 
So what is the secret of staying out of nursing homes? Being involved with community groups and having a strong social network are as good for our health as healthy food and exercise, according to the Department of Public Health, University of Flinders. The 75 Year Harvard University Study on Happiness found that one secret to leading a fulfilling life: It's all about good relationships ...  not leaning into self and money, but each other and community. also Lianne Dalziel Christchurch's Mayor, said after the earthquake: we found it was more important for people to have relationships with their neighbours than a stock of emergency supplies. One of the most popular editions of National Geographic magazines, with the title "The Secrets of Living Longer states: a Study of three diverse communities with an extraordinary number of centenarians shared following: they were being active, keeping social connected, not smoking, eating fruit, vegetable and whole grains.
 
Less people now do not know the names of their direct neighbours, and yet studies show that if you know your neighbours well, and they know you, that you reduce by 80% your chances of being a victim of crime! 
 
 
The University of Queensland got a mention in the Herald Sun on the 17th of February 2016 - stating: Stay Social and you'll live longer
 
Loneliness is now regarded as a health hazard equivalent to smoking 15 cigarettes a day, according to Tim Costello from World Vision: Isolation kills more people each year than tobacco related diseases!
 
So what can we do to counteract on this:
Some Individual Social Connection Actions:
  • organise a street party to welcome a new  neighbour
  • chat to others in the queue at IGA
  • invite the neighbours to join a curry night- everyone brings their favourite curry
  • start greeting people on the morning walk
  • when on public transport, start talking to other commuters
  • tell friends about social connection and why it is important
 
What Peter and Jennifer are here to present to us today is a community 'Self help' mutual that enables members to age as well as possible in their own homes and neighbourhoods, for as long as possible, as meaningful as possible and as inexpensively as possible.
their Vision: To live in a community where no one has to grow old alone.
their Mission: To provide our neighbours and friends with choices and support for living independently , actively and connected.
 
Possible activities:
  1. Provide ‘Hub’ spaces – places where community members can gather, interact, socialise and share their passions, gifts and skills. The first three ‘Hub spaces’ are being negotiated are   at the Kalamunda RSL, Canning Rd, Kalamunda, the Woodlupine Family Centre, Forrestfield and “Romancing the Stone’, Maida Vale.
  2. 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.
  3. Establish a ‘Neighbour Hug’ support network, where volunteers and neighbours can offer personal support, friendly visitors, gardening, pet companion, transportation and help with the wheelie bin.
  4. A buddy system and  Neighbourhood Circles  where “ask a member first” policy operates – members share information, do small tasks for each other, look out for each other and have social gatherings.  
  5. Facilitate community and social connections with health and wellness programs, tool lending library, ‘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. 
for more information - click here - to visit their website