All fun and games in Buninyong Probus

AMONG the picturesque surroundings of their local bowling greens and botanical gardens, the Buninyong Probus Club held its first day of activity earlier in the week.

Club members tried their hand at croquet, pétanque, Finska, quoits, duck racing, board games and went for a short walk in the sun, taking the opportunity to catch up with friends and learn new athletic skills.

Buninyong Probus Club president Rita Russell said the initiative was funded by a community impact grant of just under $2,500 from the City of Ballarat.

“The goal was to improve the quality of life of Buninyong Probus members affected by the COVID pandemic who were unable to engage in social and community activities,” Ms Russell said.

“During the COVID pandemic, many limitations have been placed on older people, with many of their normal activities canceled or restricted, causing anxiety, stress and an inability to manage what used to be day-to-day functions.

“Activities aimed at maintaining good levels of physical and mental well-being, which are a central part of Probus, are particularly relevant for those of our members who live alone and have been isolated.”

All games were funded by the grant and purchased from Ballarat stores, stimulating the local business community, and lunch was provided by the Buninyong Bowling Club.

Bob Whitten, Les Ayres, Patrece Nolan and Pat Ayres were introduced to croquet.

Outings co-ordinator Robert Thornton said the members had a great time and if the club could get financial support again they would like to organize the activity day next year.

“We were all excited to go out, have a cup of coffee and try something we had never done before. Croquet is a first for almost everyone,” he said.

“We have a getaway twice a year. We have 64 people going to Horsham in October, and the games that were bought for the activity day will be taken away and reused, so it’s not just once.

Currently with 110 members, Buninyong Probus was established 17 years ago as a non-profit organization, focused on friendship, camaraderie and retirement fun.

Regular meetings are normally held at Buninyong Golf Club.

“It attracts members from local rural and urban communities,” Ms Russell said.

“[Probus’] the purpose is to provide regular opportunities to keep the mind active, expand interests, enjoy the camaraderie of new friends, improve mental and physical health and well-being

“It brings together people from all walks of life and offers activities and social support.

“Volunteers coordinate outdoor activities such as biking, walks and hikes, caravanning, bocce balls, trips, getaways, and indoor activities such as maps, arts and crafts, theatre, movies, morning coffees and restaurants.”

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