‘I can’t find a community meet-up in my area. Why?’

Aug 14, 2019

A question we get quite a lot here at Starts at 60 HQ, and increasingly so since we started sending our weekly Community newsletter, is ‘I can’t find a community meet-up in my area. Why?’ Having read all the news, some of you then click on the link that takes you to the list of community meet-ups, hosted by Starts at 60 every month, only to find that there isn’t one in your area or that the closest one is too far away.

We love that there is so much interest in our Starts at 60 Community and Travel Buddies Meet-ups. We enjoying bringing our community of over-60s together.

There are more than 90 meet-ups held every month around Australia and New Zealand, and the feedback and photographs we receive from these events proves they are hugely popular! It’s an opportunity for you to get together with likeminded over-60s over a cuppa, a meal or a chat.

Why then can’t you find a Starts at 60 Community and Travel Buddies Meet-up in your area? The answer is simple … To run a Starts at 60 community meet-up we require a host. Our meet-up hosts are volunteers from within our Starts at 60 community and they are vital to the meet-up program. Without a host, a community meet-up simply cannot run!

You might think that hosting these monthly meet-ups is time consuming or requires experience, but it isn’t and it doesn’t.

Becoming a Starts at 60 Community and Travel Buddies Meet-up host is simple and straightforward. There are some general guidelines that hosts must abide by, but these are designed to ensure the Starts at 60 Community and Travel Buddies Meet-ups remain a welcoming and fun environment for everyone involved.

All you’ll need to do is book a convenient location, be it a cafe or restaurant. While most meet-ups are held on the first Tuesday of the month from 11am, there is flexibility in both the day and the time. Once you’ve got your location, let Starts at 60‘s events coordinator, Karen O’Brien-Hall, know the venue name and address and she’ll list it as an official Starts at 60 Community and Travel Buddies Meet-up. The day and time of the event is advertised on our website and community members register their interest in attending online, via Facebook, or by email.

We can even help you with advertising in your local paper or community newsletter!

On the day of the meet-up (or as soon as possible after) you report your attendance numbers to Starts at 60 and provide a photograph of your event. We have a dedicated Starts at 60 Club Community and Travel Buddies Meet-up group on Facebook, which is a friendly space for hosts to share photos of their events as well as discuss ideas on how to increase attendance numbers and spread the word in their local communities.

Here’s what the hosts of some of our other groups have to say about the experience they’ve had since volunteering with Starts at 60.

Jennie Law, Heathmont and Ringwood, Victoria: “I started the Victorian group because there was not one operating three years ago and because I had just retired as a Victorian representative and still wanted to have contact with people (as I’d done for the last 20 years, travelling all over Victoria and into South Australia and New South Wales). I was used to every day being different and I wouldn’t have been comfortable sitting at home gardening or feeling sorry for myself. Over time both groups in Heathmont and Ringwood developed regular attendees. Some come for a short time, but many have made long-term friendships through this group and that’s the aim of the exercise.”

Carol Coo, Gympie, Queensland: “Before becoming a host I used to look after my grandchildren twice a week. When that was no longer necessary it left an incredibly hole in my life and I needed to reinvent myself. Thank goodness Starts at 60 was there (four years ago in October)! I’ve not looked back. I love the group of people who attend this monthly meet-up, they are a wonderful bunch of people!”

Shane Mason, Docklands Melbourne, Victoria: “I became a volunteer host as the city (Melbourne) did not have one. As a new Docklands resident, I wanted to meet new and interesting people in my local area that could help me discover more about the marvellous city in which I live. The group has done that and so much more!”

Phyll Chapman, South East Perth, Western Australia: “Though I’m currently travelling and attending meet-ups in other locations, I wanted to get out of the house and saw the Starts at 60 Community and Trvel Buddies Meet-ups as an opportunity to do that. You can do it alone or with a spouse; you can have coffee and cake or chips and steak; meet a new mate, the feeling is great! Lend a hand to help out, that’s what the groups are about; support friends in need, you will benefit indeed. Visit different groups in your town or away, there’s always some news that will come your way!”

Kathy Knott, Hibiscus Coast, New Zealand: ‘I recently moved back to the Hibiscus Coast in New Zealand and was looking to get together with like-minded people. I became a host because it’s allowed me to do that. I love travel and I enjoy talking with people.”

We’ve received a lot of interest in having a Community and Travel Buddies Meet-up in Albury, New South Wales and Wodonga, Victoria and are looking for hosts in those areas. If you are a community member in Tasmania, Australia or Dunedin or Wellington in New Zealand, we’d love to hear from you too as currently there are no meet-ups in any of these locations.

When you join the community of Starts at 60 meet-up hosts, you’ll join a supportive community and will have a great excuse to go out and make new friends. Are you ready to get involved?

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