FROM walking basketball to learning about gems, hundreds of seniors in the New South Wales Hunter Valley region of Cessnock have no shortage of things to do.
That’s thanks to Cessnock Council which tries to offer something for everyone in its annual Seniors Festival program.
As such, the council has seen it rewarded with a Local Government award for the second year running.
The Local Government Week award for innovation in special events acknowledged the council’s 2017 festival program, which offered more than 40 activities to residents across five categories – health and wellbeing, arts and culture, learning, history and heritage, clubs and special interest.
Mayor Bob Pynsent said more than 2000 people made use of the 2017 program, which involved 30-plus local organisations.
The real pleasure was to see the smiling faces of seniors who had come out from various hostels and don’t get a chance to get out often.
Advisory panel member and Nulkaba resident Peter Torenbeek said the committee had worked hard to develop a varied program that offered activities and events across the local government area.
He said efforts were made to engage as many seniors as possible, including over-55s who were new to the region.
“There were some community choirs that sang more modern songs and a number of open days, including at local aged care facilities that might give them an idea of what may be ahead in terms of aged care,” he said.
Other events included Indigenous activities, barbecues, movie screenings, exercise groups, walking basketball and a lapidary club.
Mr Torenbeek, 72, who is also president of the Cessnock Mens Shed and community garden and Cessnock Lions Club, described a trip to The Old Brush Gallery in Brunkerville as a personal highlight.
“I’m not really an outdoor person, but it was good to get out into the bush and listen to the birds and kangaroos,” he said.
“The real pleasure was to see the smiling faces of seniors who had come out from various hostels and don’t get a chance to get out often.”
The council also received a highly commended award for excellence in communication.
The 2019 Seniors Festival will take place from February 13-24,
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