Age Concern Kāpiti Focus Groups

Age Concern Kāpiti invites the community to attend a Focus Group on their amazing comprehensive project at 10.30am at St Peters Hall. All welcome.

We started our three year AgeConnect Kāpiti project last July. Its purpose is to increase social connections for older people/koroua or kuia in Kāpiti.

It’s been an eventful nine months as we consult with and gather information and feedback from the community before we write an action plan which will come into effect in years two and three.

What have we done so far? We had a meeting in September, attended by representatives of community organisations. We explained our project and discussed the following topics: What services and activities already exist in our community, what is being done well? What are the barriers to social inclusion? How can agencies collaborate to tackle social isolation and loneliness? What role can the general community play? What are the low-cost, no-cost solutions? How do we reach older people who feel lonely?

We repeated that format at a public meeting in October. From those two meetings we established a working group made up of individuals or representatives of organisations who are keen to drive the project.

We established strong relationships with Victoria and Massey universities. Four wonderful final year Bachelor of Commerce students from Victoria wrote us a communications plan and Massey are preparing a survey of older people in Ka piti to help us determine the extent of social isolation and loneliness here. This survey will be carried out in May and we anticipate the full findings by September.

Three weeks ago, we held the first of six focus group meetings in the district. These meetings are continuing weekly and follow a similar format to our meetings, but with the focus on the community in which the meetings are being held.

One thing has become very clear as we work on our project. The prevalence of loneliness reflects the increasing fragmentation of society. An intriguing paradox of our hyperconnected digital age is that we seem to be drifting apart.

We look forward to keeping you updated as we continue our work to increase social connections for older people/ koroua or kuia in Kāpiti.

Details of the two remaining focus group meetings are: April 10 Paekākāariki St Peter’s Village Hall, Ocean Rd and April 17 Paraparaumu Te Newhanga Community Centre, Ngahina St.

Both meetings are from 10.30am to 12 noon. Everyone is welcome to attend.

For further information, please contact Age Concern Kāpiti 04 298 8879.