'Renewed sense of purpose': Unique Mandurah Wayfairer Project giving volunteer organisations a boost

A new program has launched in Mandurah, aiming to bring a new sense of purpose to older community members while also boosting local volunteer numbers.

The Mandurah Wayfairer Project will work to connect residents over the age of 50 with volunteer roles in the community, based on their individual talents and interests.

It serves to capture the underutilised knowledge, skills and experiences of Mandurah's older demographic while also helping local clubs and groups assess the gaps in their volunteer bases.

It also aims to encourage social connections, knowledge sharing and problem solving.

The Mandurah Wayfairer Project, which was launched on November 14, is brought to life through a partnership between the City of Mandurah and Inclusion Solutions.

More than 100 local residents and people from community, sporting, school and other non-for-profit organisations attended the launch with 46 clubs already signed up to be involved.

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Mandurah is one of two sites in Western Australia where the project will be funded for the next five years by the federal Department of Communities.

Mandurah mayor Rhys Williams said he was "glad" the federal government chose Mandurah for the project and was excited to see it get underway.

"Given there are a lot of people that have chosen to call Mandurah home in their retirement, what a great way to make sure that our general community benefits from their skills and wisdom,"

"[The project] matches them with community organisations that are desperately looking for volunteers and, at the same time, provides them with a renewed sense of purpose.

"The isolation of older people is a really big concern and one of the things I love about the Wayfairer project is that it tackles that head-on.

We've got to make the most of having this because I think it's going to be one of those things that will really make it's mark and have an impact - it's just perfect for Mandurah.

Mandurah mayor Rhys Williams

"We've got to make the most of having this because I think it's going to be one of those things that will really make it's mark and have an impact - it's just perfect for Mandurah."

Clubs or organisations who wish to be involved in the project will complete the Community Analysis to identify their specific needs or gaps and provide information on how best to match participants with groups in need of help.

The Community Analysis will also assist the City of Mandurah to understand the challenges they face and how to best address them.

Local older residents, or Wayfairers, interested in taking part will be interviewed and participate in group workshops to identify their unique knowledge, skills and passions.

They will then be paired with the volunteer roles that best match their results.

For more information, or to register your interest in the project, visit the City of Mandurah website.