Image: The Garden Party Collective is helping Fremantle seniors strengthen community connections and get to know their neighbours.

Local governments can now apply for grants of up to $10,000 in the latest age friendly communities funding round, announced by Seniors and Ageing Minister Mick Murray on 13 February.

The $100,000 funding round, which will accept applications until 22 March, aims to support age friendly projects and increase inclusion and community access for seniors.

The grants are part of the Age Friendly Communities Innovation and Implementation Program, launched by the Department of Communities in November 2016.

The program aims to support local government strategies that recognise and respect the diverse needs of seniors in the community. It is also designed to encourage local governments to test new ideas and ways of working, including collaborations with other local governments and community partners.

In its first year, the program supported a diverse range of projects across regional and metropolitan communities in Western Australia.

Projects included health and exercise programs, home maintenance workshops, digital literacy education, transport initiatives, intergenerational projects, senior-friendly customer services, social engagement and the formation of seniors groups.

The City of Fremantle was awarded a grant to start the Garden Party Collective, where neighbourhood events were held to activate micro communities. Workshops were held to gain support from seniors interested in organising a garden party. As a result, four garden parties were planned, with the first held in December 2017.

City of Fremantle Community Development Officer Kay Raymond said the Garden Party Collective workshops provided a positive experience for participants and a solid foundation of skills to drive changes in the participants’ community.

“Facilitators of the Garden Party Collective are continuing to support and nurture the project participants to ensure that new and strong connections are formed,” Ms Raymond said.

“We aim to form neighbourhood groups empowered to monitor community inclusion in the future.

“This is one of the best projects I’ve ever been involved with. Building community capacity in seniors has been extremely rewarding and full of the unexpected.”

Find out more about the grants program here.