Colleen - Building resilience in lockdown with online fun!

It was a real lifesaver for me, during lockdown, when the wonderful WestClub team at Flourish Australia in Penrith came up with online games.

In the past, my traumatic lived experience of having no family or friends I felt I could depend on, took its toll on my mental wellbeing. For years now, I’ve enjoyed riding my mobility scooter down to WestClub, to share a few laughs with other people. I value my independence and these visits give me a reason to get out and about.

I’m a very outgoing personality and when the centre had to shut its doors during the COVID-19 lockdown, being confined to my home left me with a heavy sense of social isolation. Twice weekly carer visits were my only contact with the outside world.

Flourish Australia really wanted to find a way for me to stay engaged with the community and asked whether I’d like to join in some group games online. It was a way of giving all of us who regularly attend WestClub, a way of safely enjoying time together, remotely.

It’s amazing that something so simple did so much to strengthen my resilience.

So many social connections happen online now but I’m not terribly savvy with technology.

I had taken the opportunity to join a computer group at WestClub and learn the basics, using my iPad, but I’m not yet up to speed with using the internet. WestClub made it easy for me to join in the Bingo fun, by phone.

Now that the centre is re-opening, I hope to get back to building my capacity for using computers, with their assistance. I need to re-train my brain for technology.

Flourish Australia have done so much for me. With their help I gained NDIS funding to meet more of my needs than I was able to afford on my own, such as the equipment I need to get around. At the end of last year, I was invited to a WestClub Christmas party, out in a local park, which I absolutely loved. I took my brand new, motorised wheelchair for a spin, cracked a few jokes, and the whole experience gave me a real boost.

From then on they have stayed in touch with me by phone, which I appreciate, but I just can’t wait to get back to seeing everyone at WestClub, face-to-face.

I just hope we get to keep the games going!  

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