Ruth’s story: “I feel so lucky to have joined”
A long-standing local resident, Ruth Flower has always been involved in the local community through volunteering and other groups. She was one of our founding members when Virtual Village East (VVE) was established in 2019, and has has found it a wonderful way to meet more people.
One of the key reasons Virtual Village East exists is to provide a network of friendship and support for seniors, and Ruth has made many good friends who often get together outside of VVE’s planned activities.
“The great thing about VVE is you can pick and choose from a variety of activities, making it different to some of the other groups I’m involved with, which tend to do the same thing each week,” she explains. “You can join exercise classes, mindfulness classes or cooking demonstrations – there’s always something going on. What’s more, you can be as involved as little or as much as you like, and it’s free which is fantastic for those of us living on the pension!”
Ruth says she’s had some wonderful times. “We’ve been to the art gallery, to the Onehunga Community House, Cornwall Park and the Wintergarden – it really has been fabulous.”
She has also appreciated the opportunity to learn new skills. “Before COVID, Virtual Village East offered technology workshops on using Zoom and Facebook. Students from St Kentigern College were on hand to provide one-to-one help, which was great,” she says.
“I didn’t know at the time how valuable this was going to be as this was before lockdown. VVE was such a blessing during this time because we could still get together via Zoom, which helped ensure members weren’t too isolated. We enjoyed some great events and activities, including Mid-week Meet-ups with an interesting speaker each week. Our monthly Coffee & Catch-up also took place on Zoom, and Lee continued to send out the weekly newsletter with lots of fun activities to do.”
Coming out of lockdown, Ruth says the virtual aspect of the village is still valuable. “If you are sick or the weather is terrible, you can still join in via Zoom,” she explains. “It really is a unique and special network with a lovely, friendly and kind group of people. I feel so lucky to have joined.”