A major asset to the City of Casey community was announced last week when the Korus Connect Community Connector initiative was launched at Fountain Gate.
City of Casey Councillors, including former Mayor Cr Amanda Stapledon, proudly gathered last Wednesday to help celebrate the launch of the new project, which is designed to tackle increasing social isolation, loneliness and disconnection among members of our local community.
Council is providing $35,000 in funding to Korus Connect for a six-month pilot of the project at both Westfield Fountain Gate and Cranbourne Park Shopping Centre, with the Fountain Gate pilot launched at Cupcake Central on Wednesday 23 October.
City of Casey Mayor Cr Susan Serey said the addition of the Casey connector to local shopping centres will provide an additional support service for local people who feel isolated or lonely.
“We recognise that shopping centres are more than just buildings, they are places that offer social interaction with others, they’re places where people can feel part of things even if they’re on their own, and in some people’s lives, can feel like a second home,” she said.
“That makes shopping centres an ideal place to identify and build rapport with individuals who may need some extra support, and to give them an extra connection.”
Casey Connector for Westfield Fountain Gate Melissa Mcilroy (pictured second from the left), was also named the City of Casey’s 2019 Casey Citizen of the Year and joined the group to celebrate the launch this week, as well as Westfield Centre Manager Cathy Main.
Cr Serey said she was thrilled by the announcement of the Casey Connector in both Cranbourne and Narre Warren.
“We have been working in close partnership with Korus Connect as well as both of the local shopping centres to better understand the needs of the people who regularly visit here, and might be in need of some additional support,” Cr Serey said.
“The launch of this program means that anyone can walk through the door and approach the connector to seek advice or help with whatever might be on their mind.
Development Manager of Korus Connect Richard Kolega said that the community connectors are skilled in providing ongoing support to individuals, as well as their families.
“As highly trained professionals, community connectors do not provide all the answers, but through building trust and positive relationships, they are able to both journey and connect individuals into relevant aspects of local support and community networks, and importantly, ensure that these connections are sustainable and work effectively,” he said.
“We are delighted that the City of Casey have supported this initiative and we look forward to closely working with all organisations involved.”
The announcement of the Cranbourne Park Shopping Centre Casey Connector will be made at a later date, and the Westfield Fountain Gate Casey Connector will be available in the centre on Thursday and Fridays.