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The Selwyn Foundations charitable outreach supports elders who are socially isolated or lonely

Social Isolation & Loneliness

"The eternal quest of the individual human being is to shatter his loneliness." - Norman Cousins

Statistics suggest that there are perhaps 15,000 severely or very severely lonely older people in Auckland today - and this figure is expected to rise in the next fifteen years.

Loneliness can be a serious issue for older people, increasing the chances that your mental faculties may decline at a quicker rate. However, all the research indicates that remaining socially connected has a positive effect on your general health and can also bring psychological benefits, such as delaying the onset of dementia. 

Selwyn Centres

Because we understand the need to address this situation, The Selwyn Foundation established the Selwyn Centre Parish Partnership Programme in 2000. We’re working in conjunction with Anglican churches in localities across greater Auckland, Northland, the Waikato and Christchurch, creating places to meet up and connect. These drop-in centres offer friendship, fun, support and advocacy to people over 65 and have a timetable of shared activities, gentle exercise, morning tea and occasional excursions. The excursions are available at a nominal cost and include transport, if required. Each session is organised by a trained coordinator and a team of volunteers.

Designed to address the problems of loneliness of aged people and the associated health risks, the fellowship of these community drop-in centres are also taken out to state-owned pensioner housing complexes in certain locations.

Some coordinators are in a position to address the problems and associated health risks of loneliness in the wider elder community. There are pensioner communities and state-run housing complexes with their own communal hall. So by taking the Selwyn drop-in centre concept to where people already are, coordinators can extend the fellowship and social connection in a real way.

The Selwyn Foundation commits significant funding to the Selwyn Centre Parish Partnership Programme each year and is unique amongst aged care and retirement village providers in resourcing such extensive charitable outreach.

Find your nearest Selwyn Centre
There are more ways than one to support our most vulnerable.

We recently built on our partnership with Auckland City Mission through our support of their outreach programme for older people.

Started in 2014, we’re now making an annual grant to fund a social worker assigned to the City Mission’s outreach and support service. They work one-on-one with vulnerable and disadvantaged people over 60 years of age who do not have access to appropriate health, social or housing services.

As well as helping people access benefits and health services, the support worker gives budgetary advice to help people manage their daily lives and assists them in re-establishing social connections that may have been lost.

We collect data on the effectiveness of the initiative, so we can evaluate how well we’re helping those in need. When a gap is identified we can make improvements.

Pou Awhina Kaumatua and Kuia (Maori Pastorate) Programme 

The Selwyn Foundation funds the Pou Awhina Kaumatua/Kuia Programme. This lets older people living in rural communities have regular meetings with a Pou Awhina worker. It puts isolated people in touch with someone who listens and understands, not only what is said but also to what is not said.

Karakia is a usual part of home visits (upon request) and Kai Hapa is available, especially to those unable to attend Sunday services. As with all work with older people, dealing with illness, death and dying is an area the Pou Awhina gets involved with. Supporting whanau through these life changing events goes a long way to help them heal and move forward.

Visits are extended beyond the home and include visits to those in the Bay of Islands Hospital Kawakawa, Puriri Aged Care Kaikohe and Age Well in Kaikohe, has recently been added to the list. With the success of this programme it is hoped that we can continue to extend this pastoral care to more as time goes on.

Everything is possible for one who believes. Mark 9:23
Arohanui Reverend Ginny Henare.

Learn more about this programme

Our volunteer programme actively and positively furthers The Selwyn Foundation's mission to support and care for ageing people. Over 200 volunteers enhance the lives of our Selwyn Centre guests, residents of Selwyn Village and clients in our day centres, giving them greater opportunities to share their knowledge and life experiences, develop ongoing friendships with like-minded individuals, have fun and engage with other people in a creative and meaningful way.

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