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Lounge future in doubt

Thursday, 18th May, 2017

Muriel Noble and Shirley Benton enjoy morning tea and a chat yesterday. PICTURE: Kara de Groot Muriel Noble and Shirley Benton enjoy morning tea and a chat yesterday. PICTURE: Kara de Groot

By Kara de Groot

The Seniors Lounge at the North Mine Hall in Elizabeth Park is growing in popularity, but organisers say it’s in danger of closing unless funds are found.

The Lounge opened in August last year and aims to provide Broken Hill’s older population with a social alternative twice a week.

“It’s open from 10am to 3pm every Tuesday and Wednesday morning, and clients pay less than $10 on the days they want to attend for morning tea and lunch, and the various crafts and activities we ran,” said program manager Sue Johnstone.

“We have a hair salon, a garden, arts and crafts, and it’s all in a warm, friendly environment,” she said.

“We have a free hearing test come once a month too. We try to connect to other services and have them all in one place for them.”

State funding provided the start up capital needed to set up the lounge, which is now attended by 15 to 20 people each day it runs.

Unfortunately that money is nearly gone, and Ms Johnstone said they’re looking for new financial support.

“We’re going to see (Federal MP) Mark Coulton on Thursday about getting funding to cover operational costs,” she said.

“That’s all we want; the money to keep the lights on, pay bills and cover insurance.

“We only have one paid staff member, everyone else volunteers their time and we’re really appreciative of our volunteers, we couldn’t do it without them.”

Anyone interested in attending the Senior Lounge, or helping support it, can phone 8087 4284, or call into the office at 475 Argent Street.

“The main thing for older people is isolation, so if they’re lonely they can come here and talk with other people and reconnect, and there are activities for them to do as well,” Ms Johnstone said.

“Any crafts they make, crochet, knitting, jewellery, they can sell those at the Hall and the money from the sales go back into buying more craft supplies for them,” she said.

“We provide free transport for them to come, they just need to phone up our office the day before and we’ll arrange for the bus to come and collect them and bring them here, and drop them off again at the end of the day.”

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