One of the less obvious impacts of COVID and endless lockdowns, hard been the loss of social connections that people used to enjoy. It’s not just that people are reluctant to come out, it’s that some of the venues and activities they once enjoyed are no longer functioning.
The ChinWag Café is an exception. Formerly known as the Friday Club Café, ChinWag is an opportunity for elder folk to gather, play games and enjoy an excellent light meal. The name ChinWag Café has also been adopted now by a similar gathering run by the Citizens Advice Bureau in Thames.
Whitianga Social Services programme co-ordinator Stacey Gaskell fondly remembers Friday mornings with 40-50 people gathering at the Social Services rooms in Cook Drive. “There were people playing Rummikub, or draughts, or just enjoying a good chat,” she says. “Since the end of lockdown our numbers have fallen back a bit. We’re missing volunteers willing to help out, as well as people who just want to share a good time on a Friday morning.”
For those that aren’t familiar with the game Rummikub, there are plenty of people will to show you the way around the game.
If you’d like to meet new people, maybe learn a game or two, or just enjoy a light meal on a Friday morning, get along to the Whitianga Social Services building in Cook Drive and introduce yourself to Stacey.
Pictured: Seated Left-Right are Marjorie Tune, Stacey Gaskell, Vaughan Handley and Eris Boyack. Standing are Social Services staff Mike Bennett and Chrissy Roe.