A cuppa connection

Rachel Watts hosts a fortnightly social meeting, where people from Canning can get out and connect with their community. Video: Jack Stirling.

Despite COVID-19 restrictions, the fortnightly Canning CommuniTEA group convened in the Riverton library with their masks on.

The social group is a part of the city’s Connect in Canning initiative, founded during the early stages of the pandemic last year.

The group alternates its meetings between Riverton and Cannington each fortnight and has seen 20 people attend so far.

The city created the initiative to keep neighbourhood connection during lockdown restrictions, as it forced many community centres to close.

Since restrictions have eased, initiatives such as CommunitTEA aim to promote healthy wellbeing.

Free food and tea or coffee is provided to those who attend the session. Photo: Jack Stirling.

Befriend community builder Rachel Watts says the program recognises some people are uncomfortable or unable to get out and meet other people in the community.

“We create really low cost, low obstacle ways for people to meet and get together,” she says.

“It helps people feel more confident, helps them get a sense of belonging, helps them feel that they are connected to the community and to the people around them.”

Community mental health worker Rahul Seth says he appreciates the availability of the social group.

“It’s really good to be able to give my clients an option to come out into the community and engage in a very simple yet warm format,” he says.

“I really appreciate the fact that there are these little communities that we can tap into and get people connected in the community and not feel as socially isolated as they could be.”

Mr Seth says community and social connection is essential for mental health, and the fortnightly meetings are a platform for people who otherwise wouldn’t connect.

“I see it as the most valuable tool when it comes to someone’s mental health and well-being,” he says.

“We’re all social creatures and desire connection. It provides those chances to connect, to make friends.”

Categories: Community, Mental Health

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