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Janet, Carmina and Marlene seated on a bench

Three friends, two flights, and one unforgettable lunch

The story of how Virtual Social Centre friends Carmina, Marlene and Janet took their online friendship offline!

Some people were just meant to cross paths, and this was most certainly the case with Carmina, Marlene and Janet.

These kindred spirits, each with a heart as big as their personality, found friendship in an unexpected place; the Virtual Social Centre (VSC). The VSC is Feros Care’s ground-breaking online platform allowing people to connect with others and enjoy new experiences – all from the comfort of their own home.

This fun-loving trio had been talking on the VSC for some time when the opportunity arose for them to meet in person. It was a very welcome and delightful surprise for the ladies, especially as Western Australian based Carmina lived so far away from Marlene and Janet in Victoria.

Excited to transform their virtual relationship into a physical one, the much anticipated catch up proved to be every bit as special, heartfelt, and full of laughter as they had imagined.

How it all began…

Carmina, Marlene, and Janet all joined the platform for similar reasons, stemming from health problems which limited their social interactions. Consequently, the onset of boredom, loneliness, and general disengagement soon followed.

As the VSC and its supportive online community provides an antidote to these types of feelings, the three women thought it would be a great way to connect with like-minded people and bring a sense of fun back into their lives.

And they were right!

The beginning of a beautiful friendship

When Carmina, Marlene and Janet first started talking, it didn’t take long for them to realise how much they had in common – despite hailing from different corners of the globe.

“I actually thought we were all opposites – the lot of us,” laughs Marlene. “I mean I’m from England, Janet is from New Zealand, and Carmina was born in Italy!”

“But we like the same things and we can really laugh together. That’s true friendship – it doesn’t matter if you’re rich, poor, or live halfway around the world,” she says.

Janet and Carmina also expressed how similar they all are, both personality-wise and in terms of their interests.

“We’re all outgoing and very passionate about gardening. And we sure do love a chat,” adds Carmina with a warm, infectious chuckle.

The friends continued interacting and nurturing their special bond and then one day, Carmina’s brother and sister-in-law offered to take her with them on an upcoming trip….to Victoria.

Meeting in person

All three were absolutely thrilled at the prospect of meeting in the flesh, arranging to have lunch at Craig’s Royal Hotel in Ballarat.

After hearing so much about Carmina’s special VSC friends, her family decided to tag along and formed their own friendship with Marlene and Janet.

“As soon as we met, I knew Janet and Marlene were just as nice in person. I felt like I’d known them my whole life and they were so wonderful with my family,” says Carmina.

Marlene, who once worked on the hotel’s drapery many years ago, wholeheartedly echoed Carmina’s sentiments.

“If you got a hug from one, you got a hug from everybody. Carmina’s family became our friends too and as my niece would say, the whole day was ‘brill’ (brilliant).”

Janet also reflected fondly upon the moment they finally came together.

“It was all cuddles. Especially with Carmina and I being Italian – double kisses and all! If Marlene didn’t want it, she didn’t have much choice,” she joked.

They spent the afternoon talking and laughing, sharing stories about everything from their gardens to their grandchildren, with Marlene summing up the union perfectly.

“When you have a really good friend, it doesn’t matter if you don’t see them very often, you just pick up where you dropped off. It was like that with us.”

Thank you, VSC!

Another commonality the women share is their passion for the VSC and how thankful they are to have found one-another.

“I’m so lucky that I went on (the VSC). I’ve made so many friends and it’s helped me in so many ways. It’s been truly amazing,” says Carmina.

Marlene shared similar thoughts on the lifechanging impacts the platform has had on their lives.

“If you’re lonely, you won’t be when you join the VSC. And if I hadn’t gone on, I wouldn’t have met these wonderful ladies.”

Janet, who mentioned she and fellow Victorian Marlene have arranged to catch up again and that she plans to one day visit Carmina in Western Australia, couldn’t agree more.

“When you’re getting older, you’re losing your friends, you’re losing your family – you get very lonely,” she says.

“The VSC would help anyone, especially those stuck at home. It helps with exercise and stops you feeling down – even if you don’t do anything, you’re talking.”

Her final words articulate their mutual appreciation for the VSC and its ability to change people’s lives by fostering connectivity.

“It’s company. It brings people out of their shells. And most importantly of all, it builds friendships – just like ours.”

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