Carolyn met with the Mara Erhardt-Rumpe and Amanda Pagan from the Brotherhood of St Laurence. Mara and Amanda suggested that we need to clearly define our target population group. There many commonalities within subgroups, but not across different population groups – so we need to be clear about who we want to reach. Some people who are particularly isolated are mums with young children who live in growth corridors and don’t have access to transport, and older people.
Mara and Amanda spoke about the support packages that are available for older people, and how they don’t enable people to socialise and connect with others – they provide the bare necessities of life, but often leave people feeling isolated. Many older people also want to connect with younger people, so there’s a good opportunity for schools and other community-based groups to reach out to older people.
Mara and Amanda liked the #5up5down idea, but thought we’d struggle to people to participate – they thought rallying people around a common cause or problem – that doesn’t have its sole purpose being connectedness – could be more effective. They recommended that we ‘think micro’ and then consider how we could scale up the initiative to reach others.