Victorian Seniors Festival ‘connecting’ like never before

By Simon Ruppert

Benalla's older residents can enjoy the 38th Victorian Seniors Festival in a new digital format streamed directly into their homes.

Disability, Ageing and Carers Minister Luke Donnellan recently launched the Victorian Seniors Festival re-imagined to ensure Victoria continues to celebrate and keep our seniors community connected.

Due to the current coronavirus restrictions, the annual celebration of older Victorians has been transformed, with the month-long festival turned into a six-month virtual party.

The re-imagined theme highlights that Victorian seniors can still thrive despite the pandemic.

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In its new format the festival delivers three broadcasts each week, all showcasing some of Australia’s biggest and best talent, along with stories recognising and celebrating seniors across the state.

With broadcasts of online events and activities, seniors will be treated to music, stand-up comedy, Bollywood dancing and more – all from the comfort of their own homes.

This year’s festival theme, ‘In the groove’, is a call for all older Victorians to embrace the new opportunities the festival has to offer.

The virtual festival will run right through to October and is hosted by Tristan Meecham and Bec Reid, founders of All The Queens Men, and frequent partners of the Victorian Seniors Festival.

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The Victorian Goverment provided $5.95 million to address social isolation and keep senior Victorians connected as part of the $59.4 million package it recently announced to support mental health and wellbeing during the pandemic.

The package includes support for local services that work with seniors, with $50 000 to be provided to a lead organisation in each LGA to deliver on-the-ground supports like coordinating deliveries of supplies, or safely helping people to download apps or software to make connecting with friends and relatives easier.

The statewide coronavirus phone line will be also be expanded to proactively reach out to people known to be isolated or vulnerable – including senior Victorians – and another $100 000 will fund the development of radio content for older Victorians, especially those in aged care facilities, with entertainment and music.

● For more information about virtual events and activities, visit this link.