PENINSULA Social Club volunteer Michael Hillier is a man on a mission: He wants to end “social isolation and loneliness” among mainly elderly and those with disabilities on the Mornington Peninsula.
The social club – part of the not for profit community transport service Peninsula Transport Assist – arranges social and lunch get-togethers designed to get its mainly elderly clients out of their houses and mingling with others in social settings.
“Our mission is that nobody should be without company if they want it,” said Mr Hillier, who has run social activities for older people and those with disabilities for the past 20 years.
He previously worked at the Brotherhood of St Laurence and admits to being “passionate about community development”.
“The latest research shows social isolation and loneliness is as bad for you as smoking 15 cigarettes per day,” he said. “It contributes to an increased risk of heart disease, dementia and depression. It has a major effect on older people, particularly if they live alone, no longer drive or are recently widowed.”
Those attending activities, such as luncheons and musicals, pay a flat rate of $25 to be escorted door to door. This covers the volunteer’s vehicle running costs and contributes to the cost of meals.
“Everyone is welcome,” Mr Hillier said. “There are no age restrictions, and volunteer companions and drivers are there to help. The activities are suitable for all needs and fitness levels.”
Invoices can be sent straight to a home care or disability provider and clients receive reminder phone calls, SMS and emails. Those needing personal care can bring along a family member, or support worker, and other volunteers attending can offer friendship and support.
The monthly lunches from 12-2pm are held at hotels and restaurants which have seniors’ menus. The cost ranges from $15-$40. Venues are Beretta’s Langwarrin Hotel, Langwarrin, on the first Tuesday of the month, Kings Creek Hotel, Hastings, second Tuesday, Mornington Hotel, third Tuesday, and Rosebud Hotel, fourth Tuesday.
Morning Melodies are at The New Atrium, Safety Beach, and The Sands, Carrum Downs. Call: 0418 139 515.