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Activities aplenty to celebrate NSW Seniors Festival throughout Hunter

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Backed by the theme, Reach Beyond, the Hunter is gearing up to celebrate the state-wide NSW Seniors Festival this month.

Minister for Seniors Jodie Harrison said the event was a fantastic chance for seniors to get together, connect and make new friends.

“This year’s theme says it all,” the Charlestown MP added.

“We want our seniors to seize this opportunity, to attend the various events and try something new.

“They have and continue to make valuable contributions to our communities, whether it is through volunteering or caring roles.

“The NSW Seniors Festival is our way of thanking them for this, with plenty of free activities on offer across the state, including the Premier’s Gala Concerts, expo and comedy shows.”

Here’s a sample of what’s happening across the region from 11 to 24 March:

City of Newcastle

Community connection and lifelong learning is at the heart of Newcastle’s annual festival celebrating seniors.

Close to 40 events and activities will take place, delivered by City of Newcastle (CN) and a range of organisations.

CN facilities will play host to numerous events including the flagship comedy gala and Seniors Expo at City Hall, a travel writing workshop with renowned author Bruce Elder at Wallsend Library and a saucy science lecture with Newcastle Museum’s resident scientist.

Lord Mayor Nuatali Nelmes said that the success of previous festivals led to the establishment of a committee to organise a packed program for 2024.

“Line dancing lessons, Tai Chi classes, handbell ringing demonstrations, pickleball matches and cake decorating sessions are just some of the free activities on offer,” she explained.

“The festival is an opportunity to collaborate with community organisations and groups who champion the health and wellbeing of our seniors and continue to raise awareness of the barriers older people face every day.

“City of Newcastle is proud to take part in this inclusive event that encourages people to connect with their community, supports health and wellbeing, and celebrates the wealth of knowledge and experience that our seniors bring to the city.

“Our Seniors Festival Reference Committee has put together a strong schedule and I encourage local seniors to join in the festivities and make the most of what is on offer.”

City of Newcastle’s newly-named Senior Citizen of the Year and president of Hunter Ageing Alliance Professor Julie Byles was a key member of the group.

“The Seniors Festival strengthens social connections by bringing people from across the region together,” she said.

“We hope that the breadth of events in this year’s program, tailored to different interests and abilities, will encourage our seniors to ‘reach beyond’ and try something or meet someone new.

“The importance of continual learning and connection cannot be underestimated which is why the festival plays such a significant role in the mental health and wellbeing of seniors in our community.”

Alongside the City of Newcastle events are a wide selection of community-led activities, lectures and workshops.

It all starts on 11 March with the flagship comedy gala and expo at City Hall.

Full details for all local events can be found online at https://newcastle.nsw.gov.au

Port Stephens

Seniors in Port Stephens are ready to celebrate at this year’s NSW Seniors Festival, the largest gathering of its kind.

There’ll be lots of free and heavily discounted events, activities, workshops and performances across the LGA, encouraging residents to get together and enjoy social connection.

Mayor Ryan Palmer said it was all about celebrating the invaluable contribution seniors made to the Port Stephens community.

“Local businesses and community organisations are hosting more than 30 events across our region – from music, books, movies, learning about culture, craft or getting active,” he stated.

“There’s something for everyone to enjoy.

“We have so many amazing seniors here in Port Stephens who volunteer their time, and work hard to give back, and this is an opportunity for them to celebrate the wisdom and experience that comes with age.

“I encourage everyone to get along to as many events as possible and be part of this wonderful two weeks.”

To see the full list of events, visit pscouncil.info/seniors-events

Maitland

Maitland is gearing up to celebrate the NSW Seniors Festival in style, with a diverse and engaging program of events designed to honour and celebrate seniors in the region.

The LGA will play host to a range of offerings including art exhibitions, fitness classes and captivating performances.

The festival includes connection through art at Maitland Regional Art Gallery and free access to both Maitland aquatic facilities.

“We’re thrilled to be part of the 2024 NSW Seniors Festival and to celebrate the invaluable contribution of our seniors,” Maitland City mayor Philip Penfold said.

“Maitland has put together a fantastic program of events that features a wide array of activities catering to the interests and passions of our seniors.

“From cultural exhibitions to dancing classes, there’s something for everyone to enjoy.”

The highlight of this year’s festivities is special event Comedy Bites and Lunch Delights, taking place from 10.30am on Saturday 23 March.

It promises a stellar line-up of comedians including Peter Berner, Simon Kennedy, Bec Melrose and Mat Wakefield.

Attendees can enjoy lunch, followed by live music from Angamus Duo at Maitland Town Hall, with proceeds from the ticket sales supporting not-for-profit organisations dedicated to community assistance.

After the laughs, partake in the Seniors Festival mini expo in the Evans Room, Town Hall, which is free and open to the public.

For more information about the NSW Seniors Festival 2024 program in Maitland, go to mait.city/SeniorsFestival.

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