Katie shows off her artwork at top left, while Manda Zhong, top centre, emcee the virtual Chatswood Social Club get-together

We hate to disappoint but the latest restrictions to contain Covid 19 virus have meant our disability groups were postponed.  So this week, after dabbling with technology, we launched our first ‘virtual’ group activities for people with a disability – to much applause from enthusiastic participants.

“We were flooded with emails and calls about how much participants were missing their usual activities,” says Disability Services Coordinator, Gaynor Starkey, “so we’re thrilled to get some virtual activities running online.”

Brigette, top right, tells friends she’s been busy filling her maths exercise book with equations.

Participants and coordinators alike were devastated when we had to postpone our eight popular activity programs for people with a disability – two Social and Recreational groups, Walking and Explorer groups, Chatswood Social Club, Different Degrees Theatre Ensemble and 184A (arts ) and Creative Movement (dance) – as venues closed amid evolving restrictions on numbers of people at one gathering.

This week we kicked off virtual activities with one-and-a-half hours of virtual Chatswood Social Club via Zoom, a video communications platform where half the total group joined in online.

Chatswood Social Club members started their online ‘gathering’  by showing each other what they’d been up to since they last saw each other in person. Work-out videos, yoga, playing with cats and jigsaw puzzles all featured. Katie showed off her artwork and Brigette waved her maths exercise book to show she’s been busy with equations. The social evening finished with a game of hangman.

“Everyone was super-excited to be doing something different,” says Manda Zhong, SCS activities coordinator who ran the evening. “Even those who were a little quiet were smiling and waving and happy to be among their friends again. Next week we’ll play some of their favourite games such as Family Feud.”

Our initial success suggests virtual activities could be the shape of things to come during the shutdown.

Meanwhile, Alice, the assistant artistic director of our drama ensemble Different Degrees, is uploading drama exercise videos on YouTube and Vimeo and will consider moving to the Zoom platform later.

If you’re interested in finding out about our disability groups please call Gaynor on 9427 6425 or see our community connections page for people with a disability.