Starts at 60’s community meet-ups offer more than just a cuppa

Oct 09, 2019
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The Community and Travel Buddies Meet-up group from Strathpine, Queensland used their latest gathering to raise funds for the Pink Ribbon campaign. Source: Getty Images

Our monthly Community and Travel Buddies Meet-ups are a popular part of Starts at 60. With more than 90 meet-ups being held every month around Australia and New Zealand, these events are an opportunity for you to come together with other over-60s, have a cuppa (or a glass of wine), share in a meal and chat about whatever takes your fancy.

I love getting feedback about the Starts at 60 meet-ups. I’ve heard about how people have used these monthly meet-ups to celebrate milestones such as special birthdays or the arrival of a new grandchild, have been the place where travel buddies have united and gone on holiday together, and — more recently — how one group has been able to raise awareness and funds for a charity cause close to their hearts.

The Strathpine Community and Travel Buddies Meet-up held on October 1, coordinated by the wonderful Rhonda Kerr Milliner, was not only a chance to get together but an opportunity to fundraise for the Cancer Council’s Pink Ribbon campaign — a campaign that aims to raise awareness about breast and gynaecological cancers as well as funds for prevention programs, support services and vital cancer research.

Rhonda has been the host of Starts at 60‘s community meet-up at Strathpine, Queensland for the past four years.

“We’re a reasonably small group compared,” Rhonda says. “Some people come to us for a short time and then move on. Others come at irregular intervals depending on their availability. There are those though, who have been coming to these meet-ups since the very beginning.”

Rhonda says the members who meet at the Strathpine event took it upon themselves to support the Pink Ribbon campaign.

“A good number of ladies came along to this meet-up,” she says.

Rhonda had organised for prizes to be donated for raffle sales and everyone who attended the event went home with a prize, “some with several prizes”. There was plenty of laughter and everyone had lots of fun.

And while I congratulate Rhonda and the Strathpine group for their commitment to a cause, and applaud these groups for making these meet-ups their own, it has also highlighted to me that that’s what the Starts at 60 Community and Travel Buddies Meet-ups are all about — connecting with likeminded over-60s and having some fun.

I’ve had feedback from those who have felt isolated and alone, who have reached out to say how much joy attending one of the Starts at 60 monthly meet-ups has brought them. They might have been widowed or divorced, they might not have any family living close by, they may have been recovering from a health issue and haven’t been able to venture out of home for some time, but to hear about the fun and frivolity they are experiencing at one of our Community and Travel Buddies Meet-ups brings me great satisfaction.

These meet-ups would not be the succcesses they are if it weren’t for our hard-working hosts. All of the Starts at 60 Community and Travel Buddies Meet-ups hosts are volunteers from within our community. They demonstrate their passion for bringing people together for company or friendship every month. They make no demands and treat everyone who attends their local meet-up as an equal, a new friend to be welcomed.

I encourage you to find the group nearest you and say ‘hello’. And if you can’t find a meet-up in your local area, have a chat with our events team about how you can become a host!

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