Building our Next Door community

2 November 2020

One of the largely unspoken impacts of the COVID-19 crisis has been on our ability to network and build our communities. Between restrictions on travel and visiting friends, the cancellation of most events, and the general concern around interpersonal interactions, we have lost much of what used to bring us together. That’s why, as we all adjust to the new COVID world, we need to take time to actively build our communities and support networks.

Our Next Door program team has worked hard during the COVID crisis to ensure they keep in contact with our clients: older women who have been at risk of, or experiencing, homelessness. However, due to their circumstances, many of these women have become socially disconnected during this time.

We know how important having an understanding community is, especially when at a vulnerable point in our lives, so the team decided to provide opportunities for our clients to build those connections.

Now that restrictions and risks have eased in the ACT, they have organised a series of coffee mornings across the Canberra region. Nearly 30 women have come along to these events, and the team has been so pleased to see their clients meet like-minded women and start to form friendships.

Several of the women have told our team how much these events meant to them, and how they are continuing the connections with the women they have met. One even went so far as to thank the Next Door team though a gift of chocolate, which was most appreciated!

“Thanks so much for the lovely ladies get together – looking forward to our next get together”

With these events proving so successful, we are now organising a trip to the National Botanic Gardens in November, and already have 15 women keen to attend. This will include a coffee catch-up and a walk around the gardens.

We are also looking forward to holding our end-of-year party with our clients, at the CIT Restaurant on 27 November. This will be a chance to spread some holiday cheer among the women in our program.

We have been lucky to have received ACT Seniors grants from the Community Services Directorate for 2019 and 2020, and a sizeable donation from a local church community, to fund our activities so far. We hope to continue to receive small grants to build on our current program and respond to the needs of our clients.

Do you own or run a café? We’d love to hear from you about supporting a networking event for our clients! Email


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