Citizens group sets up a service where people can talk with others on a conference call.

News 100 yellowBy Pepper Parr

October 18th, 2017



They get called shut-ins; people that just aren’t able to get out and mix with people.

Sometimes it is because they don’t have a car, sometimes it is because the public transit isn’t all that good and it takes forever to travel a small distance.

Fred BSCI pres

Fred Hendriks, president of the Burlington Seniors Community – a group that is doing some much needed programing for seniors in the city.

The Burlington Seniors Community, a private company that was created when some of the people who were active at the Seniors Centre were told they had to vacate the space they had in the building.

There were a lot of hard feelings but they did what they had to do and began creating programs for seniors they felt were needed.

That’s how Seniors Without Walls started as a pilot project that the BCSI people expect to grow.

Penny Hersh, one of the BSCI volunteers, explained how it got started. “The idea wasn’t ours – it was being done in other cities, Ottawa, Edmonton and Winnipeg are examples. The idea is to get people together by telephone on a conference call.

We keep the groups quite small – not more than 10 to 12 in a session.

People who want to take part just give us a call – 905-631-2524 – and we set them up. There is no cost.

BSCI has a contract with Mercury Teleconferencing who handle all the technical stuff.

Hersh explains that there are a lot of lonely people out there who can’t get out – and many of them don’t have a lot of friends or social contacts. They want to connect with people – and we make that possible.

The conferencing takes place twice a week – when the pilot has run for a number of months the BSCI will evaluate how things have gone and decide how they want to go forward.

“We got a lot of help from Heather Thomson at Community Development Halton” said Hersh and the Library is very interested in what we are doing.”

BCSI equipment

Some equipment that is being considered for use by seniors.

BSCI is in the process of re-defining themselves now that they are out on their own and not working with the city. They are looking into setting up some exercise equipment that will be outdoors that seniors can use. They held a Thanksgiving lunch and were a little overwhelmed with the turnout – but we didn’t turn anyone away” said Hersh.

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