Communities and Justice

Connecting Seniors Grant Program

About the grant program

The Connecting Seniors Grant Program funds locally driven projects, programs or activities that supports seniors to connect with others, foster social inclusion for older people and address the challenges that contribute to social isolation. The program is aimed at older people aged 65 years and over, or 50 years and over for Aboriginal people, who are socially isolated or at risk of isolation.

This grants program awards $600,000 in funding for projects across three funding categories to local government authorities and not for profit community organisations to deliver a more flexible program. The categories include:

  • Category 1: $100k – 5 x $20k – Creation grants
  • Category 2: $300k – 10 x $30k - Enhancement and/or expansion grants
  • Category 3: $200k – 5 x $40k - Local council grants

It follows the Reducing Social Isolation for Seniors Grant Program (Rounds One, Two and Three) and the Combatting Social Isolation for Seniors During COVID-19 Grant Program that was launched in 2020.

Connecting Seniors Grant Program – Successful recipients

Under the Connecting Seniors Grant Program, the NSW Government awarded $600,000 to twenty-one organisations to deliver projects that foster and build social connections for older people. The Connecting Seniors grant program delivers on the Ageing Well in NSW: Seniors Strategy 2021-2031, with the Government committed to creating a more inclusive community and addressing isolation and loneliness.

You can find the details of the projects below.

Category 1: Creation Grants

Words on the Waves

Central Coast Reads: Seniors Connect

Central Coast Reads: Seniors Connect is an innovative community readership project that delivers a combination of Book Clubs and Author Events for the seniors of the Central Coast. Alternating monthly across a year, it will offer at least five (5) Book Clubs, followed by Author Events (4) featuring the author of the book discussed in the previous month. This offers two opportunities for connection: in a close-knit book club environment, based at aged care centres, libraries and community venues; as well as at a larger-scale author event based at an easily accessible venue, for connections outside established social and geographical circles.

This project will draw on Words on the Waves Writers Festival’s successful management of book and author events for groups ranging from 20 to 300, established over four years of operation. It will work collaboratively with aged care agencies and other community groups, many of whom identified a need for both home-based and guided external outings for seniors who can no longer drive a car. Central Coast Reads: Seniors Connect will have the added benefit of cultivating a love of reading (with proven mental health benefits) and a connection with the worlds and ideas contained within books.

For more information, contact

NSW Spanish and Latin American Association NSW SLASA

CALD Seniors Club

The project will provide support and access to seniors who are socially isolated or at risk of isolation to different social, educational, and recreational activities to reduce social isolation, enlarge their social networks and have a more active community and social life. In addition the project will provide seniors with  access to free and culturally appropriate activities. Also the project will give seniors the opportunity engage in meaningful and lasting social connections.

The idea of being part of a Seniors Club will increase and reinforce their sense of belonging and friendship, something that seniors from multicultural communities lack. The project will put an emphasis on reaching those seniors harder to reach especially those who are still traumatised by the pandemic.

For more information, contact

Kintsugi Heroes Ltd

Our Stories Matter

This project will engage people from diverse cultural, gender and lived experience backgrounds, particularly harder-to-reach older people by leveraging existing extensive connections and partnerships to promote the project widely within the Hornsby LGA. Through the power of storytelling, Our Stories Matter participants will realise they are not alone and will seek to build meaningful and lasting social connections. This will especially be the case for face-to-face events where “heroes” publicly share their stories and demonstrate the power of vulnerability.

As part of the face to face and virtual events there will be opportunities to help older people connect with each other in small group activities to help build connections with the increased potential to develop lasting quality relationships.

For more information, contact

Belong Blue Mountains Incorporated

Belonging Together

The intergenerational program will bring older isolated people within the local community and children 4-5 years of age together to share experiences and activities.

1. To facilitate social connections between different generations and promote positive interactions between seniors, children, and families

2. To create an engaging and interactive environment for children to learn and play, and for seniors to participate in meaningful activities and increase their sense of belonging in their community.

3. To provide support, resources, and education for parents of young children

4. To promote a positive image of ageing and break down negative stereotypes associated with ageing Activities will be held in designated safe and accessible spaces within the neighbourhood centre and local community.

Activities will include arts, crafts, games, story- telling and activities that are conducive to child -centred play and the promotion of social interaction, learning and creativity.

For more information, contact

Bathurst Information and Neighbourhood Centre Inc

Connecting Seniors to volunteering

This project supports seniors aged 65 and over who live in the Bathurst Region who are isolated and lonely to successfully volunteer in our community. Volunteering enables seniors to participate, contribute, be included, and to have a valued role. Many seniors have either retired from the workforce and are at a loss about how to connect with our community; other seniors may not have been in the workforce for quite a while, but they have obligations to fulfill such as volunteering to receive Centrelink payments. This project provides workshops which will enable seniors to gain the confidence to volunteer at one of the many available volunteering options. A series of workshops will be held (one each quarter), and each workshop will run for four (4) weeks, with a total of approximately 40 participants for the year. The workshops enable seniors to gain skills, confidence, to develop friendships and to be referred to a local volunteering organisation.

For more information, contact

Royal Life Saving Society of Australia (New South Wales Branch)

Empowering Active and Connected Seniors - Regional Program

Over the last 10 years, 116 people over the age of 65 have drowned in Australia, half of which have been in NSW with 37% aged between 65-75 years and 63% aged 75 years and over.  Most of these drownings have occurred as a result of falling into water.  Royal Life Saving Society NSW (RLSNSW) recognises that in most emergency situations it is often a family member first on the scene administering vital lifesaving care.  As such, RLSNSW through our Active Adults framework will deliver the Empowering Active and Connected Seniors programs in partnership with aquatic facilities for seniors aged 65 and over, and Indigenous seniors aged 50 and over. 

RLSNSW will partner with local pools in the Maitland, Lake Macquarie, Toronto, Central Coast, Wollongong, Shoalhaven, Kiama, Tweed, Richmond Valley, and Lismore, and RLSNSW to provide active participation opportunities in aquatic activities as well as teach/ refresh seniors in how to confidently respond to an emergency situation through providing education on Cardio Pulmonary Resuscitation (CPR) and using an Automated External Defibrillator (AED).  This program is designed to empower older people to stay active, socially engaged and to have the confidence that they can save a life, no matter their age.

For more information, contact

Category 2: Enhancement and/or Expansion Grants

Blackheath Area Neighbourhood Centre (BANC)

Seniors Hub

This program provides a variety of different classes and events free of charge to the community. These are held on a weekly and monthly basis, with some being one-off, but most are ongoing.

The program will include: Art therapy, Digital Literacy, Eco dyeing, Dancing, Bushfire preparedness, Mental health first aid, Yoga, Gardening, Cultural Talks with Aboriginal Elders and Weaving.

Under the Connecting Seniors Grant program there will be more activities including intergenerational social, art, and movement classes.

For more information, contact

Mackillop Family Services

Seasons for Healing for seniors

The project delivers change and loss training for local professionals to support their local First Nations communities with our evidence informed small group programs - Seasons for Healing and two sessions to support seniors and their caregivers. The Seasons for Healing groups can then be facilitated ongoing in community, providing a forum to bring seniors and caregivers together to connect and support each other.

With the impact and ongoing threat of natural disaster, the pandemic and the many changes and losses experienced by seniors - life transitions and other common life events (e.g., relationship changes, bereavement, relocation, diagnosis, entering aged care services etc.) the groups provide a space for seniors to reflect, gain acknowledgment, offer/receive support and build resilience for the future.

For more information, contact

Touched By Olivia Foundation

Community Circles City of Canada Bay

Community Circles has been an exceptionally successful program that has been initially piloted in the Wingecarribee Shire Council (WSC) LGA. Its initial aim was to foster and maintain 150 connections for isolated and lonely seniors over 18 months. In the first 11 months of operation, it has already connected over 350 seniors across a large range of programs.

Community Circles provides a paid Connector in each LGA, who then works with the Council, local businesses and community groups, to connect those needing support with those that can provide support to the broad range of services and activities that available to seniors within a LGA. Where services, groups or activities do not exist, then Community Circles finds volunteers to create and run such groups.

For more information, contact

Playgroup NSW Incorporated

Generation Playtime: A Timeless Play Project

Older people are experiencing an epidemic of social isolation and loneliness. Across the world, intergenerational playgroups, bringing together groups of children aged 0-5 and older people, have demonstrated the ability to foster social connections, improve outcomes for both adults and children, and strengthen communities.

Playgroup NSW has been running "Timeless Play" intergenerational playgroups within aged care facilities, supported playgroup settings and in community and can demonstrate the impact of these in reducing social isolation, increasing social connectedness, and promoting the development of new relationships.

This project will enhance and extend on previous Timeless Play programs by offering an innovative model of intergenerational grandparent (or older carers of children) playgroups that will promote new connections between older people through their shared grandparenting and play experiences at the groups. Playgroup NSW locate the groups within local shopping centres in targeted areas as these spaces are increasingly being identified as accessible and known places in communities with the potential to provide social connection and activities.

For more information, contact

Circle Foundation Cooperative Ltd

Singing For Health – Eurobodalla

The Circle Foundation Cooperative, a NFP social enterprise, is running innovative non- clinical ‘social prescribing programs’ in the Eurobodalla region, that connect community, reduce loneliness and improve health and wellbeing in order to tackle chronic physical and mental health conditions in our populations.

Singing for Health is a community choir program for people who are vulnerable and/or impacted by chronic health conditions/disability/social isolation and living in the Eurobodalla shire. The aim to improve the health and wellbeing of participants through active engagement in a social, joyful and inclusive singing program.

Led by local singing teachers with specialist skills in music therapy, the Singing for Health Choir will offer a 10-12 week program, 4 times per year in 2024.

For more information, contact

Bligh Park Community Services Inc.

Age is just a number

"Age is just a number" is a 40 week project starting early February 2024. Elders/seniors of our community will be invited to attend fortnightly 'in-house' sessions which will range from purely social get togethers to learning how to successfully run interest-based group activities. Each fortnight the project will provide a bus for seniors to go 'offsite' to explore places of interest or visit other community groups to meet others and have new experiences. Connection happens easiest when you're having fun. A range of different interests and activity levels will be catered for including picnic lunches, gentle bushwalks, swimming, and exploring history and natural beauty. Learning and mentoring will be provided by staff in: making connections - free promotional activities: finances for small groups: dealing with conflict: the small grants process etc.

For more information, contact

LifeWay Lutheran Church Inc

Community Meals

This NSW Government grant would be used to expand the current Community Meals program from serving 20+ people per month, to serving 120+ each month in the LGA of Ryde and surrounding suburbs. 

The Community Meals program is a simple, yet highly effective, program.  Volunteers help to prepare and share a meal with residents of Link Wentworth Housing, who provide housing for people who have qualified as being vulnerable and needing support for various reasons.  Most of these people are over 55 yrs of age.  Isolation has been identified as a significant issue.  

The Community Meals program brings these people together over a shared meal where they can get to know their immediate neighbours, and neighours from their wider community.   Link Wentworth Housing staff also come regularly. 

Community Meals is currently operating in just one unit block in Ryde.   LifeWay Lutheran Church, in collaboration with Together For Ryde, Link Wentworth and the Salvation Army would use this grant to expand this program to include other unit blocks with a community room like the new social housing units in Midtown Macquarie Park.

For more information, contact

The Family Place Inc

Post Referendum Elders Yarning and Healing - Connection to Culture Country and Community

This project expands on the existing Deadly Lads group which is a men's support group and yarning place for Aboriginal men. Additional resourcing will focus on our Elders and Seniors. Activities include Red Dust healing workshops and mentoring, Men's camps, Connection to Country and Culture experiences with the aim of rallying and supporting our Elders and community. This has been identified as a huge need with declining rates of mental health and homelessness directly related to the compounding impacts of invasion, blacksummer bushfires, the pandemic, Sorry Business and now the tragic results of the Referendum have all lead to a significant decline in our Elders mental health, wellbeing and overall quality of life. This resourcing will specifically support connection, inclusivity, wellbeing and support access to other specialist services working in a culturally competent framework. Non-Aboriginal seniors will be welcomed to the group as a conduit for connection and healing and reconciliation. Yarns are held regularly, Red Dust will be held to support healing around the impact of invasion and there will be 1 cultural camp. Yarns will focus on healing, advocacy, self-determination and some community development thinking around concepts of Voice, Truth and Treaty.

For more information, contact


LOVE Project- Living Older Visibly and Engaged in the Regions

LOVE in the Regions will allow ACON to enhance offerings to older LGBTQ+ people in regional areas. This is a hybrid in person and online project and partnership between ACON's Ageing Program, and Northern NSW office.

The online component of this project involves revitalising and expanding the Online Love Club meetings. They will create at least eight structured online gatherings throughout the year, engaging guest speakers and panellists on topics including social connection, LGBTQ+ history; digital technology and wellbeing. These events will be promoted widely, targeting LGBTQ+ older people outside of Sydney, to encourage ongoing regional participation. Some gatherings may be hybrid events, with an in-person Sydney component.

The Northern NSW Office will partner with LGBTQ+ Seniors Groups across 5 LGAs in Northern NSW to hold 3 different social events for older LGBTQ+ people. The project will provide community members with an opportunity to gather together and build their social networks, as well as accessing information about wellbeing and ageing. These events will also increase ongoing attendance to existing LGBTQ+ senior social groups and networks, thereby empowering and supporting community driven initiatives.

For more information, please contact

Mission Australia Housing

Active Communities Together (ACT)

Building on the DCJ-supported Active Seniors Empowerment (ASE) program's success, Mission Australia Housing introduces the Active Communities Together (ACT) initiative with the following objectives:

1. Foster meaningful and lasting social connections, ACT cultivates a profound sense of belonging and connection among seniors, forging inclusive, positive civic, and age-friendly integrated communities through place-based co-design strategies.

2. Facilitate in-person small group connections for older people: ACT features engaging senior-designed platforms for empowerment, inter-generational education, and friendship. Activities include community gardening, digital literacy, walking groups, board games, and facilitated discussions, enhancing community connections.

 3. Cultivate lasting, high-quality relationships through welcome committees, friendship groups, and diverse health, housing and social support partner collaborations, ACT provides avenues for seniors to develop lasting relationships in neighbourhood parks, community centres, and across our 17 community garden sites.

4. Engage new and harder-to-reach older people through large-scale, volunteer-led outreach engaging new and harder-to-reach seniors, collaborating with partners for promotion, service connection and inclusivity.

The core program participant leadership group strengthens efforts, providing valuable feedback for effective ACT delivery. ACT builds on the success of its predecessor, targeting low socio-economic status seniors living in community housing, creating vibrant and connected communities for seniors to thrive socially, emotionally, and mentally.

For more information, contact

Category 3: Local Council Grants

Tweed Shire Council

Empower Seniors Program

The Empower Seniors Project is dedicated to fostering social inclusion among senior through various small group activities.  All programs prioritise the establishment of connections within the groups and the broader community. Guest speakers will be invited to discuss ongoing community programs, further enhancing these connections.

It's worth noting that 14.6% of households in the Tweed Shire are occupied by individuals aged 65 and older, residing alone, exceeding the NSW rate of 9.6%. This disparity elevates the risk of social isolation. Additionally, the Tweed Shire exhibits a higher proportion of individuals aged over 65, accounting for 26.6% of the population, in contrast to the state's average of 17.6%.

These activities will include a technology class, cooking class, falls prevention program and a fun and interactive program to promote cognitive health.

For more information, contact

Bathurst Regional Council

Connecting Seniors

Bathurst Regional Council, through the Bathurst Library, will coordinate a series of 52 events in the Bathurst LGA aiming to bring seniors together with young people to exchange skills and enrich community connections.  Seniors will be invited to attend events which increase their digital literacy and in turn help young people develop skills in customer service.  The program aims to extend beyond providing traditional tech help and build connections, foster understand and create lasting intergenerational connections.

Seniors will be offered personalised, one on one in person tech help by a trained young person at weekly sessions in the Bathurst Library or at one of twelve outreach events in local shopping centres. Bathurst Regional Council will engage the specialised knowledge of Youngster.Co to deliver the program.

This project works to achieve the objectives of Bathurst's Positive Ageing Strategy 2021 - 2026 which aims to improve the region's ability to cater for an ageing population.

For more information, contact

Wollondilly Shire Council

Wollondilly Intergenerational Connection Program

Social isolation among seniors poses a significant health risk, with a quarter of Australian adults experiencing loneliness, which can lead to an increased risk of dementia and depression. In response, the Wollondilly Shire Library has developed the Intergenerational Connection Program, guided by the Australian Institute for Intergenerational Practice (AIIP). This program is designed to combat social isolation in our senior community by fostering connections between seniors and young people.

The program will leverage existing Library and Childcare Centre facilities, facilitating 8-week workshops that bring together seniors in retirement living with youth. These workshops, focused on improving well-being and social literacy, offer mutual benefits to both age groups and promote connections between schools, senior facilities, and community services. The enduring impact of the program will extend beyond the workshop schedule. This intergenerational exchange will contribute to positive outcomes and enduring impacts, enhancing social cohesion and reducing isolation among seniors while fostering connections within the wider community.

For more information, contact

Orange City Council


Connect-a-region will build on the success of the Connect-a-kit and Connect-a-community programs implemented by Orange City Council. Where Connect-a-kit provided monthly activity packs which were delivered to seniors’ homes and the Connect-a-community program brought seniors back into the community to try new activities; the Connect-a-region program will expand to include new and popular activities each month alongside opportunities to attend large scale events.

Council will provide a range of free monthly activities for seniors such as dragon boating, fishing, guided walks, tenpin bowling, tai chi, information sessions, craft, healthy cooking, day trips, painting, aqua Zumba and cultural experiences. In addition to monthly activities, Connect-a-region will offer seniors the opportunity to attend large scale events such as the Sydney Royal Easter Show, Bathurst Winter Festival, Floriade and the Hunter Valley Christmas Lights Spectacular.

For more information, contact

Liverpool City Council

Liverpool Seniors Well-being Outreach Program

Over 40 weeks Liverpool City Council will partner with Collective Leisure to deliver weekly 1 hour well-being activities at three locations each term, targeted at hard to reach seniors aged over-65 within the Liverpool City Council Region. This will be followed by light refreshments to facilitate conversations and friendships.

The program builds on the success of the Liverpool Well-being and Social Club which launched at Lurnea Community Hub in 2023. This outreach model is an innovative approach designed to target those most disadvantaged, disengaged and at highest risk of social isolation and loneliness. The program will mobilise the Lurnea model to engage seniors, increase social connections and improve well-being holistically by taking the activities directly to seniors in local community centres, libraries, aged care facilities and retirement villages. Weekly sessions will run in-line with school terms, bringing 10-week programs to 9 different venues in 2024. Activities are informed by the “Five Ways to Well-being" and include Gentle Exercise, Art, Chair Yoga, and more.

For more information, contact

More information

You can find more information on previous grant rounds here.

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Last updated:

23 Jan 2024