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Come fly with me: Kids and residents team up for mental health

A team of aged care residents and local school kids have assembled in the fight against poor mental health.

The team got together to build 200 paper aeroplanes that will be showcased at Newcastle Airport in October as part of Mental Health Month, which is coordinated through NSW, Victoria and the ACT by charity WayAhead.

Residents at Peninsula Villages in Umina and children from nearby Wallaby Street Early Learning Centre in Blackwall spent time together folding and decorating their planes, which are set to be part of a fleet donated by community groups from across the region.

“The really special thing about the 200 planes our residents have made and donated is that no two are the same,” said Peninsula Villages chief executive Shane Neaves.

“Whether it be their design, colour or markings, each plane is unique. The planes we have made are even more special by the intergenerational partnership with the local kids from Wallaby Street Early Learning Centre who helped our residents with the folding and making of them.

“The challenges faced by people suffering from mental health conditions are also unique. They can take time, patience and understanding to live with, and hopefully, overcome,” he added.

As part of an awareness campaign leading up to Mental Health Month in October, WayAhead is encouraging people to reach out and connect with others, especially those in aged care who can experience isolation.

“Whether it be through activities, excursions, or sharing a cup of coffee, the simple act of connecting with others can make such a difference at any stage of life, including later life,” said Neaves.

“A big part of the excellent quality of life our residents enjoy is the fact they always have the opportunity to engage with others, be it their fellow residents, family, friends, or our caring staff.”

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