If you cannot read this email please view online.

5 February 2024

We all want a good life

Welcome to our February Connect Local News

We hope 2024 is off to a fantastic start for each one of you.

If your New's Year's resolutions have started to fray or perhaps totally fizzled  we hope our newsletter inspires you to reignite the ones about being more socially connected.


In this edition we introduce you to two members of our team, Taryn a Community Connector and Ahsan who works on the evaluation side.


You'll also meet:

  • two remarkable Glen Eira women, Joy and Judy, who have flourished since their experiences with Connect Local
  • Social Health Australia who are doing amazing work in the Community and
  • Integral Yoga Centre offering tailored yoga classes in Murrumbeena for EVERY BODY.

Until our next edition, stay connected, stay inspired and take care!


Warm regards,

The Connect Local Team

Rajna, Kerry, Ann, Taryn, Lynn, Ahsan and Liz

Tell us a bit about yourself.

I'm Taryn, a passionate Community Connector, and I've been weaving threads of connection for Connect Local for the past 6 months. My background is in Human Resources, where I championed prioritising people within organisations, contributing to their growth and compliance. Most recently, I’ve transitioned to my coaching business, where I guide others in building self-awareness and confidence, empowering them to discover purposeful and meaningful work. As a trained yoga and meditation teacher, I am on a mission to foster meaning and connections in our lives because, I believe, without it, something is missing

What do you enjoy about being a Community Connector?

What I love is meeting all the wonderful participants, hearing their unique stories and helping them to rediscover their local areas. 


What would you tell someone who is thinking about calling Connect Local?

We all have the potential to be more connected to our community, and my priority is to empower you to ask for the support you need.

I am here to help you gain the confidence to build meaningful connections and friendships. I understand that many individuals know what they want but might hesitate to ask. My mission is to help you believe there is always a way to enhance your support network and friendship groups and feel a greater sense of belonging within Glen Eira. 

You can refer someone (or yourself) to Connect Local by using the referral form on the website or simply phone 1800 929 022.

Joy Gets Her Wings

In the heart of our community, a remarkable and beautiful initiative is unfolding, weaving the threads of connection.


Meet Joy, a spirited 81-year-old piano player, who has become a shining example of the transformative power of human connection.

Joy is particularly special to us as she played a pivotal role in the co-design of Connect Local, driven by a concern for the rising tide of loneliness and disconnection in our society.


After contributing to Connect Local's development, Joy herself became a participant, expressing a preference for smaller groups and one-on-one interactions. Her desire was simple – to engage in activities often taken for granted by those with sight.

Community Connector Taryn, recognising Joy's unique needs, introduced Joy to Social Health Australia (SHA). This volunteer-led charity focuses on caring for individuals through a companioning program which pairs community members with people from all walks of life who are willing to donate their time.

Through SHA's companioning program, Joy found a true friend in Tim.
Their outings to the beach, cherry-picking adventures, and market explorations have not only filled Joy's life with happiness but have also reintegrated her into the community. Tim, originally a volunteer, has evolved into a cherished companion and friend.

The positive impact of this connection extended further when Joy, inspired by her experiences, became a volunteer companion herself within the Social Health Australia initiative. Having completed the training, Joy is now supporting three participants, truly showcasing the ripple effect of genuine human connection.

Social Health Australia is an independent charity, supported by grants from the Lord Mayor’s Charitable Foundation and the Australian Centre on Social Innovation, and operates on a volunteer basis.

Joy's journey with Connect Local and SHA exemplifies the profound impact of community-led initiatives in fostering meaningful connections by harnessing the innate capacity we all possess – the ability to extend kindness, listen deeply, and be present for one another.


As Joy beautifully puts it, "Being involved with Connect Local and Social Health has made me think of the lyrics, ‘people who need people, are the luckiest people in the world.’"


Social Health Australia can be found on the Connect Local Community Directory or you can phone them on 0429 933 391.

Lynn and Judy

Judy with Lynn, Community Connector

I discovered Connect Local through a poster at the framing shop on Centre Road, Bentleigh. Feeling lost and alone after my recent arrival in Melbourne, I decided to telephone the number mentioned in the flyer.


Lynn, the Community Connector, turned out to be an absolute blessing. She really was the best person I could have met.

Her warmth, support, and genuine care made all the difference during a challenging time of transition.


I have shared my positive experience with fellow community members at the Coffee and Chat table. Connect Local is the best thing that could have happened to me here in Australia.

My personal journey with them has been nothing short of exceptional. Lynn, in particular, has been a guiding light, offering not just assistance but a genuine connection that has made my adjustment to life in Australia significantly smoother.


Connect Local has been a lifeline for me. I encourage others in a situation similar to mine, having to navigate the complexities of relocation to consider reaching out to them. The support, care, and sense of community they provide can truly make a world of difference.


Judy, Bentleigh

Meet Ahsan - a member of the Connect Local Evaluation Team

Tell us a bit about yourself.

I trained as a Pharmacist in Pakistan and really loved my job, but I kept seeing that there were areas where care could be better. This led me to do research, finishing a Phd at Queensland University, then post doctoral research in Canada, where I worked at better ways to get care to people who need it. I started working at Bolton Clarke Research Institute in 2022, where the focus is to enable older Australians to live a life of fulfillment.  

What do you enjoy about research?
It takes on average 17 years to get research evidence into usual care!  We need to focus our research to enable more people to access what has been shown to work to improve their quality of life. I love that Connect Local is doing just that – it was developed through research and has an evaluation to make sure it really does work. 

Why is evaluation important for Connect Local?
The learnings will help us to understand the impact of Connect Local on those involved, find out the areas that need to be improved and what works really well. The ultimate aim is to not only show how well it works to improve the lives of Glen Eira locals, but also make sure others who might benefit will be able to access this program around Australia. 


What does the evaluation involve?
The evaluation involves either myself or Liz from our evaluation team, phoning you once every 3 months for 12 months, to ask you some questions about your feelings, health, healthcare use and any support you receive from friends and family. These learnings are really important for us to understand how our program is working and to decide about future expansion.

Community Directory screen shot

If you know of any hidden gems in Glen Eira we would love to add them to the Community Directory so others can enjoy them too. Please let us know or ask the group to list themselves on the Community Directory. It's a simple process. 

If you are in pursuit of improved fitness and flexibility this year, then check out the GENTLE YOGA CLASSES held at Murrumbeena Community Hub, Gerald St Murrumbeena.

The classes suit people of all ages and abilities, EVERY BODY,  for those interested in strengthening their bodies in a safe way, not causing any strain or injury.
Offering a calming and enjoyable experience, the classes emphasize an easeful approach to yoga practice with a focus on feeling healthy, vital, and full of life.
Whether new, or returning, to yoga, participants can expect experienced teachers who can modify classes to make them tailored and accessible.
Participants use yoga mats, sit on chairs or both and each class includes asana postures, deep relaxation, breathing, meditation & chanting.

The morning classes are held on Mondays and Wednesdays from 10:30am to 12:00pm. People over 50 are most welcome and payment is by donation or sliding scale. Contact Deborah – 0419 340 684

Additionally, a smaller, special Monday evening class from 6:00-7:00pm is designed for individuals living with longer-term and more chronic health issues. Contact Jarrod- 0417 301 919

Evening classes are held Mondays 7.15-8.30pm (taught by Jarrod) and Tuesdays 7.30-9.00pm (taught by Mitra -0400 594 095). They are multi-level and adaptable, and also available on Zoom. 


For more information about this hidden gem, please contact www.integralyogamelbourne.org or 0419 340 684, with special offers for new students in 2024.

Did you know that Glen Eira City Council provide a variety of free live entertainment on the second Sunday of every month?


The next session on Sunday February 11 will be performed by Chloe James, a local talented singer-songwriter who will entertain the audience with a wonderful afternoon of Indie-pop music. Her youthful approach, lush harmonies and honest lyrics will charm listeners.

Live entertainment

Date: Sunday 11 February

Time: 2pm and 3pm  (two 45-minute sessions)

Location: Glen Eira City Council Gallery (Corner Glen Eira and Hawthorn Roads, Caulfield)

Cost: Free

Contact: 03 9524 3333

Connect Local News

This email was intended for : enquiries@connectlocal.org.au • Unsubscribe