Woolgoolga Seniors Centre committee and support members and State Member for Coffs Harbour Gurmesh Singh celebrate the grant for their new bus: (from left) Roger Freestone, Colleen Williams, Mr Singh, Sue Whelan, Irene Noy, Sharon Wooley and Ron Whelan.
Woolgoolga Seniors Centre committee and support members and State Member for Coffs Harbour Gurmesh Singh celebrate the grant for their new bus: (from left) Roger Freestone, Colleen Williams, Mr Singh, Sue Whelan, Irene Noy, Sharon Wooley and Ron Whelan.

Bus boost for Woopi seniors

FOR the first time in a long time there are no jam and cream scones being served at the Woolgoolga Seniors Centre on Wednesday and Friday and the planned 15th anniversary celebrations on May 4 were a bust too.

However, the centre's committee isn't sitting on it's hands, in fact they are using the time planning for the future and staying connected according to club president Ron Whelan.

He said while the anniversary celebrations were cancelled, they did have some good news with the centre receiving a $50,000 NSW Government grant to replace their existing bus.

"It has been a bit tough for us with our 350 seniors all locked down like everybody else is," Ron said.

"We had planned a lot of things for this year but it's all gone by the wayside for us."

Instead, the group has been running computer programs, checking in with it's members and planning for the future including applying for grants.

"The bus we have is 15 years old and by the time you get the equipment in their there is only room for about eight people," he said adding it was time to update.

As well as picking up people to come to the centre the bus is used to take members on all sorts of trips from day trips to trips away including visits to the Sunshine Coast and North Haven.

"We had a brilliant trip to Maleny last year," he said.

"We have had to cancel all our trips so far but we are hoping to have plenty next year - we've got a bit of time to plan them."

The club, which usually has a full program of activities each week caters for 350 members from 55 to 104, is a hub for the local seniors community in the town and surrounding area with many and varied activities and of course the famous Wednesday and Friday's morning tea.

"I miss the scones and cream," Ron joked.

State Member for Coffs Harbour Gurmesh Singh said the bus was funded through the NSW Stronger Country Communities Fund which is aimed at improving social inclusion and meeting the needs of the state's aging population.

"We know the elderly are often susceptible to mental illness due to isolation, now more than ever, and these bus trips will offer the valuable health benefit of social inclusion after current restrictions are lifted," Mr Singh said.

To find out about the group's Be Connected computer clases, head to the Facebook group.