Sale Seniors coming together for wellbeing and resilience during the pandemic

Elbow Community Building assisted Sale Elderly Citizens Village (SECV) to apply for a grant to bring the Seniors community of Sale together, after years of drought, bushfires and pandemic. This application was successful, and we then supported SECV to deliver the project.

Sale Elderly Citizens Village (SECV) consists of a residential aged care facility – Ashleigh House -and two connected independent living communities – Eastwood Park and Northwood Park. Across these facilities SECV supports over 150 older people to enjoy meaningful and fulfilling lives as they age. 

Prior to the pandemic in 2019 SECV recognised the many challenges facing their residents, and the wider Sale community. With the support of Elbow Community Building they applied to the Gippsland Primary Health Network (PHN) One Good Community grants program, which was focused on drought and bushfire recovery in Outer Gippsland.

The proposal was to bring Seniors groups in Sale together for lunches at Ashleigh House. There were several objectives of the project. proposes to host a series of community lunches that include residents of our independent living units as well as members of the wider seniors community in Sale. These lunches were planned, facilitated and presented to work towards three objectives:

  • create social connections between different Seniors groups in Sale to promote a stronger community
  • present information about self-care and resilience to this potentially vulnerable groups of rural Seniors (including the provision of relevant support resources)
  • discuss the opportunity of working together to establish a Seniors Hub in Sale (potentially on SECV land) to create a truly sustainable connection between these groups.


A range of Seniors community groups were invited:

  • Eastwood and Northwood Park residents
  • Sale U3A
  • Sale Senior Citizens
  • North Gippsland Country Women’s Association
  • Sale Probus Club
  • Ashleigh House Lifestyle Coordinator
  • Central Gippsland Health Planned Activity Coordinator

The project was heavily impacted by the pandemic however 2 lunches were run and extensive contact was made with people who attended. 

Invitation were distributed by hand to the letter boxes of the Eastwood Park and Northwood Park with personalised phone call follow-ups. This approach is credited with a very high uptake with both lunches quickly fully booked to the COVID-19 capacity limits. 

Lunches were held in the Ashleigh House library to and SECV team leader Mark gave an introduction to each menu item. 

During the lunches members of local groups who are welcoming of older people gave short introductions about their group, and extended an invitation to those present to join in. 

People who came to the lunches gave tremendous feedback and indicated a willingness to work together on a shared facility for older people in Sale. Survey responses indicated that there is a degree of isolation for older people in the area and people were enthusiastic about building a more connected community.

Several people joined new groups, including coming into Ashleigh House to volunteer with the lifestyle program for residents. 

Surveys of the community members attending also showed the excellent quality of SECV food. 

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