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Seniors’ Street Art Program Receives National Applause

A bold initiative that saw a motley crew of senior citizens give their residential village bus a funky makeover has been formally recognised for smashing negative stereotypes of older people.
Aged care provider Feros Care won the advertising category at last night’s [OCT 15] MACA Media Awards at Sydney’s Australian Museum for its hugely popular ‘Pimp My Ride’ program, which received national exposure earlier this year.

The MACA awards, which are hosted by the NSW Ministerial Advisory Council on Ageing (MACA), seek to challenge negative stereotypes of older people by highlighting examples of balanced and realistic media reporting on older people and ageing.

That was certainly the case for ‘Pimp My Ride’, the memorable Feros Care program that saw about 20 of its Byron Bay residential village residents aged 80 to 97 attend street art workshops before painting the bus they use for social outings and transport.

Feros Care CEO Jennene Buckley said the MACA Media Award was particularly satisfying as the initiative had grown organically.

We are always looking at ways to empower seniors to grow bold and it was from that motivation that ‘Pimp My Ride’ was born,” she said.

“While a very colourful bus was the end result, our residents were able to enjoy a series of workshops with a renowned Byron Bay street artist that introduced them to an art-form and world that had previously been foreign to them.

“The fact we captured their journey along the way allowed us to create an incredible video and subsequently receive this tremendous honour from MACA, but the highlight for us was seeing the seniors step out of their comfort zones and try something new.”

The ‘pimped’ Toyota Commuta bus has become a familiar sight on the streets of Byron Bay, with the initiative proving such a success that Feros Care has submitted grant applications to fund future ‘arts in ageing’ programs for seniors in the community.

“I love how Feros encourages us to embrace different things,” 97-year-old resident Nina said at the time of the workshops.

“Things that I never thought possible, all of a sudden are possible.”

Ms Buckley said ‘Pimp My Ride’ had also left a lasting impact on Feros Care staff.

“Winning this award brings back memories of a wonderful time,” she said.

One day a group of residents even rocked up at the workshops blasting music from The Beastie Boys. They had so much energy and enthusiasm for the project and to see them not only try but wholeheartedly embrace new challenges was inspiring.

The MACA Media Award continues a stellar year for Feros Care when it comes to accolades, with recent honours including:

• Jennie Hewitt, Wommin Bay Positive Living Co-ordinator, receiving the 2018 Aged & Community Services Australia Lifetime of Achievement honour

• Restorative care program ‘Trial to Smiles – Sunbeam Legacy’ being awarded a national Better Practice Award from the Federal Government’s Australian Aged Care Quality Agency

• ‘Grow Bold – Independent Fulfilled Lives’, a series of more than 15 fun and active programs, also receiving a national Better Practice Award

• The organisation being named a finalist in the Best Social Good Campaign at the Social Media Marketing Institute Awards.

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