As part of Age Concern Wellington’s Connect Programmes, regular coffee groups take place in Wellington City Council social housing complexes. These coffee groups are held in partnership with Wellington City Council, and their support is invaluable.
Recently, over a dozen people gathered to chat over a warm drink. Despite their different ages and varied backgrounds, the tenants seemed pleased to meet and get to know each other. One common factor they all share is that they live alone, and even though they are surrounded by people they often feel isolated. The discussion centred on lockdown impact and experiences.
Bobby Bir, of Wellington City Council, said: “The tenants shared that they felt that the government had made a brave and right move to lockdown for the good of NZ. However they realised it was important to stay connected with people during this time. They also appreciated all the different support that was made available…”
For some, the pandemic helped them realise that they may need to make alternative accommodation arrangements like moving into a rest home environment. For all, the feeling of relief that New Zealand is no longer in lockdown is clear, but the fear of another lockdown remains evident.
The session ended with a chop suey cooking demonstration and tasting, and everyone will likely look forward to the next gathering. Lasting connections are being created through these groups of people who were often living near one another for years without knowing each other.