Could this model challenge retirement villages for ‘community’ and ‘support’?
Run by Connect Victoria Park, the ‘Village Hub’ is the first club of its kind in Western Australia – and the second in Australia after Waverton in Sydney – inspired by the Naturally Occurring Retirement Community (NORC) movement in the US.
For an annual fee of $40, members can access a range of activities including social cycling, a book club, coach tours, fitness classes and community lunches, plus a library and neighbour-to-neighbour volunteering program.
The Hub, which employs seven staff and is led by the Connect Victoria Park chief executive Luke Garswood, also provides a help centre to assist people with online tasks including navigating the Government’s MyAgedCare and MyGov websites.
Seed funding for the Hub has been provided by Lotterywest and the Town of Victoria Park, while local businesses have sponsored some activities including an all-ages community choir.
Mr Garswood says they are now aiming for 10% of the local over-55 population – around 700 members.
The NORC movement started in the US in the 1980’s – the Beacon Hill ‘village’ in Boston is perhaps the best-known example.
Could this be the start of a new wave here?