More Indi seniors will have better opportunities to stay connected thanks to two new Federal Government initiatives to prevent loneliness and social isolation under a $6 million communications package.
“Almost 21 per cent of residents in the Indi community are over 65 and many Australians in this age group are not always confident using digital technology,” Nationals Senate Leader and Senator for Victoria Bridget McKenzie said.
“These $5000 and $2500 grants will help improve the online skills of our senior residents who are increasingly turning to the internet to access online services during the COVID-19 pandemic while expanded access to Friend Line will make sure that no seniors in Indi feel lonely or isolated.”
Quercus Beechworth, Pangerang Community House Wangaratta and Felltimber Community Centre Wodonga will each receive $5000 while King Valley Learning Exchange and Myrtleford Neighbourhood Centre will receive $2500 each under the Be Connected program to provide digital devices to older residents in Indi.
Senator McKenzie said the $20,000 investment would assist community groups purchase digital devices they could loan to seniors, helping them connect with friends and family during the Coronavirus and help boost IT literacy.
In addition almost $5 million will be used to significantly expand Friend Line, a national telephone support service for older Australians, to answer 60,000 calls a year.
Friend Line (1800 4 CHATS) will rapidly expand to be available outside normal business hours between 10am to 8pm, seven days a week.
The Be Connected program is delivered in partnership by the eSafety Commissioner and the Good Things Foundation.