By Craig Campbell, Dundas Star News
Organizers of ‘What About Us?”, a discussion of social participation opportunities for Dundas seniors, hope to improve communication throughout the community.
Pam Penny of Dundas Active 55+ steering committee and Denise O’Connor from the Hamilton Council on Aging say communication is one important piece in their effort to connect older adults to community services, events and fellow residents.
The next step in that ongoing effort is the workshop scheduled for Monday, Oct. 28 from 1:30 to 4:30 p.m. in the second floor auditorium of Dundas Town Hall.
“It’s a different style of workshop,” O’Connor said. “We’re not confining people. We’re bringing people together to see what happens.”
The idea is to allow discussion to roam into areas the participants want to take it – and hope partnerships will be created by people and organizations with common goals and interests.
For more information, and to register in advance for the workshop, visit www.dundasseniorsyouth.ca and click on ‘Seniors Workshops” under the Events Calendar menu.
O’Connor said a key element is not relying on government institutions to provide programming and services, but to find new ways of working together in the community.
The guiding questions are: What exists, What are the gaps, and what are the opportunities?
People of all ages are invited to share their ideas and interests. They particularly hope Dundas private sector representatives and faith groups participate – and anyone who might have free space that could help create new opportunities for a more vibrant, connected community.
Penny and O’Connor agreed Dundas is already a senior-friendly community that attracts retirees – including a large percentage of retired McMaster University staff and faculty – but there is plenty of room for improvement.
Penny has often expressed her frustration with the lack of information and notification available for residents 55 and over on the programs, events and services available to them.
She’s helped spearhead the creation of a new website (www.dundasseniorsyouth.ca) that is intended to serve as a clearing house of information – or a portal connecting older residents to what is available in the community, and to like-minded people.
The intention is to make the website an intergenerational effort – bringing Dundas youth and Dundas seniors together. Penny is already talking to Routes Youth Centre – now located in the Dundas Community Centre along with the Dundas Seniors Club – about mutual projects.
O’Connor said it’s a natural fit, bringing together local youths and older adults.
“Fifty-five plus is another step. Youth are defining themselves, older adults are re-defining themselves,” she said.
Among the partners expected to attend are the Hamilton Public Library, City of Hamilton recreation staff, Hamilton YWCA, Environment Hamilton and Dundas In Transition.