Western Sydney Initiatives

In 2008 Our Lady of Consolation (OLOC) became involved in community building in the Mt Druitt area, using our own funds to provide support to older people living in the community. Working closely with the local currently we started by providing a free fortnightly shopping bus service to allow older people easier access to the Westfield shopping centre at Mt Druitt.

We also provided monthly social bus trips from Willmot and these became so popular we soon made them fortnightly and expanded to provide the same service for older people living in Shalvey. OLOC provides the bus, lunches and support staff, all at no cost to the people using the service. We now provide a social outing for 40 people a month from Willmot and for 20 people form Shalvey.

 

In late 2009 we became involved in Health One Willmot, a health clinic initiative and we now employ a welfare officer. OLOC staffs the clinic on Tuesdays, helping to link older residents with community nursing, podiatry and massage services.

Partnership with the Older Women’s Network

Since 2010, we have supported the Blacktown District Older Women’s Network by providing annual funding for health and wellbeing programs for older women in the Blacktown local government area.

Willmot Cyber Café

Since July 2011 OLOC has taken on the auspice of the Cyber Café in the Willmot shopping centre, which was facing closure because of a lack of ongoing funding.

The closure of the café would have meant the loss of a significant community resource in a community already poorly resourced, so OLOC committed to providing ongoing funding so as to keep the project operating.

With the backing of a community advisory committee, the Cyber café offers a friendly, comfortable environment where local people can participate in a range of activates that interest them. There are seven terminals and they are well used throughout the day.

The people using the café vary from children playing games to adults practicing driving permit tests, searching for jobs, lodging centre link forms or just getting information or social networking.

The feedback we receive from people who use the Cyber Café is that having access to these facilities has opened up more opportunities for them to stay connected to friends, family and employers as well as providing a friendly and social atmosphere.

New initiatives at the Café

Other activities that operate from the café are a weekly cooking group, a knitting group, a craft group, a walking group, a men’s group and a fresh vegetable project.

Housing Initiative

In 2012 we commissioned a research project on the number of older people on low incomes who are living in precarious housing situations, living on incomes at or below the level of the aged pension and struggling to be able to afford private rental accommodation.

We recently purchased land at Toongabbie and we are exploring the potential to provide some low rental housing accommodation options for older people.