Jul 18, 2023

Star Café serves up intergenerational and disability-inclusive fun for all

Resident June Clarke and trainee Kim Mahony
VMCH resident, June Clarke with café trainee, Kim Mahony. [Source: supplied]

A unique social enterprise cafe fostering intergenerational communication and traineeships for people with disabilities has just turned six months old and has no plans to close.

Star Café was opened to provide people with disability invaluable work experience and some café culture and connections for older residents and families.

Star Café on Victoria’s surf coast opened in December 2022 at Star of the Sea Aged Care Residence in Torquay, run by aged care and disability services provider VMCH.

Having witnessed beautiful connections between aged care residents, younger trainees and visiting children, Café Coordinator, Cathy Rundle, and aged care staff recently organised a special school holiday activity for all ages.

Residents, trainees and children enjoyed a fun afternoon of bingo, balloon exercise, some delicious party food and face painting.

Sylvie and resident Jeanne Cameron enjoy bingo
Sylvie and resident, Jeanne Cameron, enjoying a game of bingo. [Source: Supplied]

Resident June Clarke described the event as “wonderful” and is already looking forward to the next activity day.

Fellow Resident, Beryl Allen, said interacting with the children and trainee staff made getting her daily exercise a fun experience.

“It was nice to be able to connect with members of the community. I especially loved playing Bingo with Mia! She is so polite and has a beautiful soul.” 

Star of the Sea Aged Care Lifestyle Coordinator, Jen Cotsopolous, said the activity day was a huge success and the interactions have really lifted the spirits of residents.

“Residents reminisced about their childhoods and bonded with the children,” she explained.

“The emotional, physical, recreational and mental benefits of the intergenerational activities were plain to see.”


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Residents William Stevenson and George McKinley enjoy balloon tennis with Sylvie. [Source: Supplied]

Cathy said more intergenerational inclusion days are in the café’s future.

“Star Café really is a special place that means a lot to many people,” she said. 

“Hosting kids’ parties is also on the cards, and we have the support of the local primary school who have used us for catering.”

The café has connected with several mums’ groups and local charity Geelong Mums and has set up a donation collection where people can leave their pre-loved baby items.

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