Social Inclusion Week (21-29 November) aims to help all Australians feel included and valued, and given the opportunity to participate fully in society. Over the past few months, our lives changed dramatically, impacting on our ability to interact with those who are most important to us. However, VMCH has continued to ensure that their clients and residents are able to remain connected, engaged and able to participate.

Using technology to stay connected

VMCH has been working with our multicultural groups, and teaching them how to keep in touch with their friends via technology. Our Filipino social support group has been catching up every week through our Tea and Technology sessions which teach seniors how to use electronic devices, and utilise platforms like Zoom. The ladies’ group is one of 14 online groups that VMCH facilitates with the help of YourLink, which has been an exceptional way to keep those who may be at risk of social isolation connected with their friends and family.

Sharing some new skills

Val is looking forward to nurturing and sharing her talent – honed during lockdown – with the community as restrictions ease. For the past few months, Val has spent much time threading and knotting balls of wool together, creating long, knotted threads. Val has Cerebral Palsy, so the hobby isn’t just fun, it’s physically great for her muscles too.

People with disability are one of the key groups of people who can often feel excluded. Once life returns to normal, Val hopes to join a craft group or find a craft teacher to work with to make her vibrant wool craft into gifts or some kind of art, potentially saleable, for other to enjoy.

Keeping homes affordable

One of the key community groups who often feel excluded are people who are homeless. We’re proud to offer affordable homes to older people across Melbourne who might otherwise have nowhere to live. John from our Mentone affordable homes community is one of our most loved residents. He goes out of his way to make sure his neighbours feel valued, supported and connected. Sharing a cuppa, helping with groceries and train trips into the city are just some of the ways John and his neighbours stay connected and help each other out.