Sutherland Shire Council's Befriending Program helps volunteers connect with lonely people connect this Christmas

Social reach: Sutherland Shire Council is encouraging residents to spread kindness within the community this Christmas.
Social reach: Sutherland Shire Council is encouraging residents to spread kindness within the community this Christmas.

Not everyone is lucky enough to have family or friends around to spend the festivities of Christmas together.

Sutherland Shire Council is sending a message to the community this year to encourage greater social connections for those who may be missing out.

The council’s Befriending Program is all about creating positive relationships with strangers.

“Christmas can feel like a lonely time for some,” Sutherland Mayor Carmelo Pesce said.

“If you have an elderly neighbour that lives alone, perhaps you could go and knock on their door and wish them a Merry Christmas.

“Or for those who would like more friends but are not sure how to connect to others, the council’s Befriending Program can enable people to meet, form ongoing friendships and share the festive season together.”

Community partners BeConnected Community Services, Gymea Community Aid and Information Services, Engadine Community Services, 3Bridges Community, Kurranulla Aboriginal Corporation are part of the program.

“Council, together with partner community organisations, recently held a volunteer information and training session for over 100 new volunteers that are eager to start regularly calling or visiting older people in the community,” Helen Ivory from BeConnected Community Services said.

“We are fortunate to have volunteers available now who are very keen to meet people and to regularly call and visit people who may be feeling left out over Christmas.”

To connect through the Befriending program, call 9710 0422 or email communities@ssc.nsw.gov.au

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