Café serves up intergenerational fun and games

A social enterprise café located within an aged care home on Victoria’s coast has become a thriving community hub.

A social enterprise café located within an aged care home on Victoria’s coast has become a thriving community hub for residents, trainees with disabilities, and young customers.

The Star Café opened in December 2022 at Star of the Sea Aged Care Residence in Torquay. Operated by aged and disability services provider VMCH, it aims to provide people with disability work experience, while offering café culture and connections for residents and their families.

Cathy Rundle

Café coordinator Cathy Rundle said – seven months on – the initiative is delivering on all counts.

“We’re so delighted the local community has embraced the café, which has become a meeting place for young families and visiting grandchildren and great-grandchildren of residents.”

The café, added Ms Rundle, is very child friendly. “We’ve set up a kids’ corner with colouring books, puzzles, games and toys, and child-friendly dining options have become big drawcards.”

The connections forged between residents, younger trainees, and visiting children prompted VMCH to organise an intergenerational school holiday activity.

“Everyone had an absolute ball,” said Ms Rundle. “Our trainees are already forming friendships with residents and their families, and the residents’ faces really light up when they are around the little ones – it’s beautiful to witness.”

Star of the Sea lifestyle coordinator Jen Cotsopoulos agreed: “It was joyful and loud!” she said. “The children really lifted their spirits. Residents reminisced about their childhoods and bonded with the children. The emotional, physical, recreational and mental benefits of the intergenerational activities were plain to see.”

Those activities included bingo, balloon exercise, and face painting.

Describing the event as “wonderful”, resident June Clarke said: “I’m already looking forward to next time.”

And there are plenty more next times to come. “Hosting kids’ parties is on the cards,” said Ms Rundle, adding: “Star Café is a special place that means a lot to many people.”

Main image: Resident Beryl Allen and Mia become fast friends

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Tags: intergenerational, Star of the Sea Aged Care Residence, VMCH,

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