How we celebrated this Seniors Festival

NSW Seniors Festival is an opportunity to make new friends or get together with old ones at an array of local community events, many which are free or heavily discounted.

This year, NCNS Community development worker, Justine Reynolds, coordinated 2 Mystery bus tours and a Valentine’s Day morning tea in celebration of Seniors Festival this year. The events were a hit, bringing many seniors together, making new friends and enjoying new experiences.

NCNS Community Development Workers Justine and Nada, along with 14 seniors set off on the first Mystery Bus Tour in Celebration of Seniors Festival. The ride was a laugh, with the group attempting to guess the mystery location the whole way.

At last, we arrived to “The Secret Garden,”  a not-for-profit community garden and nursery in Richmond facilitated by North West Disability Services. They provide training and educational programs in horticulture, permaculture, animal husbandry, vegetable and fruit production as well as specialised engagement and training for children and people with a disability. Their “Food for Thought” program, is a safe supportive and educational environment where people with mental illness and disabilities can learn horticultural skills.

On arrival we were treated to some delicious cake and coffee followed by a tour of “The Secret Garden” with Rick. We were in awe of the mud brick shelters and children’s play area and were also impressed with their focus on sustainability and inclusion.

If you are after a free, relaxing day out, we would definitely recommend a trip out to “The Secret Garden.”

Most of the seniors who came along to our first Mystery Bus Tour had not met each other previously, with people coming from a range of areas from Blackheath to Blacktown. You would not have guessed that they had only met that morning, as they chatted and enthused about their purchases of local fresh free-range eggs, honey and even native bee homes on the trip home.

The next NCNS Seniors Festival event was our morning tea on Valentine’s day with a guest speaker who talked about volunteering and the benefits of volunteering. Out of the 20 Seniors who attended the event, many had experience as volunteers and were able to share their stories with the group.

There were mystery door prizes and each senior going home with a care pack from West Care and a resource pack with information about volunteering.

On our second Mystery Bus tour, the group interrogated the bus driver seeking information about the secret location. It was a hot day so we were glad that this was shorter trip. We soon arrived at Lewers Art Gallery where we enjoyed morning tea while chatting. We had people who came along from a range of areas from Schofields to Campbelltown. One of our seniors was turning 90, an incredible woman whose energy left us in her wake.

During the tour of the art gallery we were told the history of the artwork and were also informed of the volunteering opportunities available, with many seniors keen and taking home information on how to get involved.

On the way back, we stopped in at the Greencross Vets, where we were lucky enough to have a back-shop tour of the cattery. Our group loved seeing all the animals, especially the baby rabbits. As we were shown the cats accommodation, staff shared the sad stories behind some of the cats who were staying there. The group was touched by the stories and were eager to help. They are planning to make cat hammocks and blankets, as well as collecting supplies to send to Queensland for the lost or orphaned pets from the recent floods.

Over the 3 events, we were thrilled to see so many seniors forming new friendships, exchanging numbers and having a great time, this is what Senior’s Festival is all about.

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