Communities and Justice

Connecting Seniors Grant Program

Overview of the Connecting Seniors Grant Program

The NSW Government is committed to investing $600,000 in projects and initiatives under the Connecting Seniors grant program that support the vision that all people in NSW experience the benefits of living longer and enjoy opportunities to participate, contribute to and be included in their communities.

Objectives & outcomes

The program aims to build social connections and reduce isolation for older people, including those aged 65 years and over, or 50 years and over for Aboriginal people. The objectives of the Connecting Seniors grant program are to:

  • provide meaningful and lasting social connections
  • help older people connect with each other in small group activities in person (if possible)
  • enable older people to develop lasting quality relationships
  • engage new people, particularly harder-to-reach older people

Assessment criteria

Eligible organisations are invited to apply against the following assessment criteria.

  • Relevance – the project is relevant to the objectives of the grant program and the demonstrated needs of target groups in local communities; achieved through engaging older people, particularly new and harder-to-reach older people.
  • Impact – the project will deliver tangible, positive and clearly articulated outcomes. Must provide proof of previous and current impact with lasting social connections.
  • Implementation – the applicant demonstrates the appropriate skills and expertise to deliver the project on time and on budget to attract and sustain participation.

Successful grant recipients

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. 

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. 


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.

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. The program aims to: 

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. 

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. 

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

Empowering Active and Connected Seniors - Regional Program

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.

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.

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. The groups provide a space for seniors to reflect, gain acknowledgment, offer/receive support and build resilience for the future. 

Touched By Olivia Foundation

Community Circles City of Canada Bay

Community Circles is an exceptionally successful program that was 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  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. 

Playgroup NSW Incorporated

Generation Playtime: A Timeless Play Project

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. 

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.

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.

LifeWay Lutheran Church Inc

Community Meals

The Community Meals program is a simple, yet highly effective, program where volunteers help to prepare and share a meal with residents of Link Wentworth Housing.  Most of these people are over 55 years of age and are needing support for various reasons and 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 neighbours from their wider community. LifeWay Lutheran Church, in collaboration with Together For Ryde, Link Wentworth and the Salvation Army will 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. 

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, black summer 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. 


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, engaging guest speakers and panellists on topics including social connection, LGBTQ+ history; digital technology and wellbeing. 

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.

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.

Tweed Shire Council

Empower Seniors Program

The Empower Seniors Project is dedicated to fostering social inclusion among seniors 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. Activities will include a technology class, cooking class, falls prevention program and a fun and interactive program to promote cognitive health. 

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. 

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.

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. 

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. 

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. Activities are informed by the “Five Ways to Well-being" and include Gentle Exercise, Art, Chair Yoga, and more. 

Further details

Please refer to the Connecting Seniors Grant Program Guidelines and Frequently Asked Questions for further details.

Last updated:

23 Jan 2024