With Covid restrictions relaxed, we resumed Illawarra Dropins early this year with 3 sessions at Warilla Neighbourhood Centre in January. Weekly sessions at Woonona-Bulli RSL, Fairy Meadow and Unanderra Community Centres resumed in February and monthly at Albion Park and Albion Park Rail Community Centres.
In the Shoalhaven we are holding regular sessions at Lake Conjola
In Batemans Bay we hold weekly sessions at the NBN Community Hub, see below:
In the Euroodalla we run sessions for residents at Goodwin Village the Manor and Opal.
Seniors Festival NSW
The NSW Seniors Festival took place from March 25 to April 3, 2022. and this year’s theme was “Reconnect”. Living Connected held events throughout our network on the theme “Apps for Reconnecting”. Here we are at Albion Park Youth and Community Centre in March.
Young mentors at Nowra
We have started an exciting new venture with junior boys’ soccer players, of the Shoalhaven U18 and their families. We are the team’s major sponsor, and the boys are great ambassadors for Living Connected. We have given then some “young digital mentors training”, and they are practicing on seniors in their families and friends.
Here is coach Alan handing out their Kit with our logo. Then the team and sponsors lined up next to their banners.
As attendance at our Dropin sessions has grown, we are looking to recruit new volunteers for the rewarding work of digital mentoring. If you are interested, please contact us (phone and email details below)
Home Visits and Zoom Help
We are still offering free 1-on-1 help via Zoom and at home (first visit free). Contact us to make a booking.
Our free weekly Dropin Sessions in the Illawarra. close mid-December to the end of January 2022. Meanwhile there will be sessions at Warilla Neighbourhood Centre on January 17, 24 and 31 at 2-3:30pm and Albion Park Rail, Ash Ave Jan 19, 10-11:30am
Home will stop until Jan 17, 2022. Regular weekly Zoom groups have stopped but 1-on-1 Zoom help can be booked by contacting us.
Scam Awareness Week – The Great Debate Living Connected took part in Scam Awareness Week 2021 ( 8-12 Nov). We organised a Debate on the topic “Online Banking is safer and better than traditional Banking”. You can watch this on our Youtube Channel.
Opening up everywhere in 2022 In the Illawarra, our weekly sessions at Woonona-Bulli RSL, Fairy Meadow and Unanderra will resume first week of February 2022. Monthly Sessions at Albion Park Community Centre in Russell St will be held every 4th Wednesday from February 23 at 10am and on the 3rd Wednesday at Albion Park Rail Across our whole network, home visits and individual Zoom Help can be booked from January 17, 2022, with Zoom sessions free of charge. Your first home visit is free, but a cost will be incurred thereafter. Discounts are available for pensioners and those with home care packages, who can pay through a home care package by arrangement with the provider. In the Shoalhaven, we will work with existing partners IRT and start an exciting new venture with young mentors and their families at the soccer club – more soon. In the Eurobodalla and Southern Highlands, we will be having discussions with our partners on when and where we can resume free Dropin sessions in 2022. Please contact us if you are interested.
Seniors Festival 2022 The NSW Seniors Festival will take place from March 25 to April 3, 2022. and this year’s theme is “reconnect”. Living Connected will hold festival events throughout our network on a related theme “Apps for Reconnecting”
Our Great Team For 2 years, the Living Connected team faced the unexpected challenges of the pandemic. The team helped people learn to use their digital devices to deal with the isolation that came with lockdowns, and the restrictions imposed as we open up. We have received wonderful feedback from many helped. Some of our team got together and shared a few pizzas after our AGM to celebrate our successes and contribution to the community.
Coming out of Lockdown, we are resuming these free Dropin Sessions:
Woonona Bulli RSL, Princes Highway Woonona on Thursdays 3pm-4:30
Fairy Meadow Community Centre, Guest Park on Fridays 10-11:30am This replaces the session we used to run at iAccelerate on Tuesdays This replaces the Tuesday morning sessions at the Innovation Cmpus
From November 15, Unanderra Community Centre, Corner Princes Highway and Factory Rd, on Mondays 1:30-3pm.
As always, anyone wanting help with phones, tablets and laptops should bring their devices with them. Only people who have evidence of full Covid vaccination can attend. If you want help getting your certificate, we will provide it. All our helpers are vaccinated. Please don’t come if you are not well and respect the normal COVID rules.
As we resume face to face, we will stop the Tuesday morning and Thursday afternoon Zoom Sessions and the last one on Monday afternoon will be November 8. We will continue to hold the weekly Zoom help session on Thursdays 10-11am and start one on Tuesday 3-4pm. The Zoom Meeting ID is 921 0743 1729 Passcode 382299
Get Online Week on YouTube
In Get Online Week (October 18-24) we live streamed discussions on our YouTube Channel which were a great success. The final one, “The Digital Landscape in Bangladesh” featured 3 international students who work with us as digital mentors. 17 people attended the live broadcast on October 21 some from Bangladesh and Bangladeshis in other countries and we have had 51 views since. Our team members in lockdown had a great time planning all 5 broadcasts and were really pleased with the response. How about you subscribe to our YouTube channel and watch all these recordings! Topics include The Living Connected Journey, How to find things on a Mac and on a PC. Use this link https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCkjbruEQ13J4mGwUMVZSJPg
Get Online Week in Person
Get Online Week was an opportunity to resume some of our regular in-person Dropin Sessions in the Illawarra and Shoalhaven. Many thanks to the Milton CWA and the Woonona Bulli RSL for allowing us to use their venues under strict COVID restrictions. We hope to open up elsewhere soon.
Living Connected prides itself on providing work experience for Wollongong University graduates while they look for a permanent job. We have mixed feelings when they inevitably get one. Our 2021 Admin Officer, Callum, is off to a great career in Canberra We wish him well and thank him for rising to the challenge of keeping us going in and out of lockdown
Though it irks us that the Illawarra is considered part of “Greater Sydney”, we remain in lockdown. We are using this time to update our online presence and back of house systems. UOW team members are once again struggling with online learning, and we offer them our support. We have also taken on some new team members looking for something to do online: Mija and Shibin in Wollongong, Lyn in Batemans Bay, and Alden in India who heard about us from one of our interns.
Digital Mentoring Services
For a number of weeks to come we may not be able to offer our face-to-face services, but we will resume our Drop-in help sessions and home visits as soon as allowed. This may start with those in regional areas. Meanwhile, our regular online group sessions on Zoom are becoming popular. Clients can also contact us to book an individual Zoom session with one of our team. Please drop in at any time (details in the email or see https://livingconnected.org.au/living-connected-online/).
Typical 1 on 1 help in a Zoom breakout room using screen sharing.
Zoom Hosting Service We are still offering a service to help organisations and groups run Zoom meetings. We can host for you or give you instructions and practice to host yourself. We can also record a session and put it up on our YouTube channel so you can send the link to others, as we did for an online presentation for the National Council of Jewish Women NSW. Click the link to view. https://youtu.be/pmTbbwANOVM
Our YouTube Channel
In “normal’ times our team members (also called digital mentors) get a great deal of joy and satisfaction from helping elders in person. With only Zoom services while in lockdown we have fewer clients. So, to keep spirits up, team members are creating short video clips introducing themselves for our YouTube Channel (banner and link below).
Living Connected has just finished running 3 x 2hour digital training sessions in 20 IRT facilities in the Illawarra, Kiama, Shoalhaven and Southern Sydney. We now look forward to concentrating on our regular program. Thankfully, we completed the last 2 sessions with IRT residents on June 25, the Friday before we went into lockdown. We met some wonderful seniors residing in IRT facilities, including folk at Towradgi Village, one of the smallest, pictured below. Also below, you see that we were helped by some of our Young Mentors in the April school holidays at IRT Diment Tower: a win-win experience for both learners and mentors. A big thankyou to our team who helped run almost 60 extra sessions in the last 3 months.
Mid-year means that some of our student helpers graduate and leave us. Here we say farewell to Ridwone , a regular helper at our Unanderra Dropin, off to do a PhD in Queensland. We now take on new interns Harley and Rose and several new UOWx volunteers. Thanks to Naz for the selfie effort.
Getting back to normal
We look forward to spending more time on our regular program of Dropin sessions and home visits. These continue to be popular, helping people with their individual challenges using phones, tablets, laptops and the internet. We hold three weekly Dropins in the Illawarra and monthly sessions further afield at Albion Park Rail, Nowra, Culburra and Bundanoon. We will soon be starting up Dropins sessions at Lake Conjola and further south in the Eurobodalla. All sessions are free of charge.
We Do Magic Awards
Living Connected was successful at the recent awards presented by the Community Industry Group, an amazing organistion that brings together all the wonderful people who run community programs in the Illawarra. We were privileged to win the “Terrific Team Effort” category for our Young Mentors program and were a finalist in the “Reinvention and Rejuvenation” and “Friends in Need” categories. Helen and Sue are here with Omar from iAccelerate and Nicky from CIG.