Sunday, 09 August 2020


New faces and fresh ideas on SeniorNet’s wish list for 2020

Their members learn digital photography, genealogy, the latest smartphone tricks, even how to find the best crafting patterns online, and now SeniorNet Whitianga are on the hunt for enthusiastic people who can offer a skill, lend support or provide practical help to keep the dynamic club functioning smoothly.

With around 120 current members, gone are the days when courses and workshops were about grasping the basics of Microsoft Word and finding the control key on the computer. Evolving technology is opening up an exciting range of opportunities and it doesn’t matter what your level of technical skill.

“Everyone has something to offer,” says vice-chair, Linda Hill. “Think about your work life, your hobbies, the things you like to do. Even if you just enjoy talking to people you can come along and help out at one of our classes. None of us are experts and we are all learning from each other.”

Lorna Russell, a committee member since the club was formed in 2005, is taking a step back. Lorna has been involved in the administration of the club for just over 10 years. Over that time, she has compiled course schedules, written newsletters and even took on full secretarial duties for a period of time. Her most recent role has been managing the club members, which involved responding to queries and assisting with membership applications - all at the same time as tutoring several classes. “I’ve loved every minute of it, I’m still staying on the committee and I’ll still be tutoring, but it’s time to scale down,” she said.

Lorna’s decision prompted the club to think about the path forward. “For now, we will divide up the duties Lorna was doing between a few of us, but we need to think about the future and how we sustain SeniorNet Whitianga going forward,” Linda says.

Club chair, Megan Henson, agrees with Linda. “As an organisation, we contribute around 1,100 volunteer hours to the community each year,” she says. “It doesn’t matter how much or how little time you can dedicate, everything helps. We also want to see new faces, people with fresh ideas. Just because we do things a certain way, doesn’t mean it’s the best way. Someone out there in the community might know better.”

Lending a hand doesn’t necessarily mean going on the committee either. “We definitely would like a few new committee members to come on board, but we are happy to have people help wherever they feel able, even it’s making the tea and coffee or washing up the cups after class, that would be great,” says Megan.

Tutoring, administration and providing support to other club members, are all other ways volunteers can help. “Those who contribute regularly can avail of free classes - and of course there is free tea and biscuits, what more could you ask for,” Megan jokes.

Creating and maintaining a new website is also a goal for the club this year that might provide an opportunity for someone to contribute. “There is a real social benefit of being involved in SeniorNet Whitianga, you meet lots of like-minded people, everyone learns together, you keep your brain active and you have a great deal of fun,” says Linda.

Lorna is promising to still help keep everyone organised, despite retiring from her admin duties. “Lorna has been an administration goddess really, I couldn’t even begin to describe how much she has done over the past decade - on top of that she has been a great friend,” says Megan.

“Laurna been an inspiration to us all really and after more than ten years I think we all agree she has earned some down time, but I fully expect her to be still bossing us around, we need it,” laughs Linda.

The next SeniorNet Whitianga Open Day will be held on Thursday, 20 February, from 1:30pm to 3:00pm at the Whitianga Social Services building in Cook Drive, Whitianga. The open day will be an ideal opportunity to learn more about the club. Anyone interested in getting involved in the club can phone (07) 866 4215 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. for more information.

Pictured: SeniorNet Whitianga committee members Lorna Russell (on the right), Megan Henson (centre) and Linda Hill.


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