A group of Napier social agencies is taking an online approach to preventing social isolation and ensuring older residents can become involved in community events and programmes.

Napier Connects, which has set up an online "toolkit" guide available through the Napier City Council website, was sparked by Minister of Senior Citizens Maggie Barry in 2012.

Napier was chosen for the project's debut because of its proportion of people aged 65 and over, a well-connected non-governmental organisational sector and it was seen to have supportive community leaders.

The council's community planning manager, Natasha Carswell, said the city's approach was to support and create opportunities for people to connect as much as they wanted to.


Since Napier Connects was launched, a digital seniors programme, local walking groups and a garden makeover project were among the initiatives which had been set up.

Napier Mayor Bill Dalton said Napier Connects was a practical way for people to help themselves and would also complement the work the council would be doing on a positive ageing strategy.

"Social isolation is an issue in every city, and in Napier, rather than dwelling on the negative, we are focusing on getting people better connected," he said.

Ms Barry was enthusiastic about the way the programme had come together.