SOCIAL isolation in the community is the target of a new scheme to arrange home visits for older lesbians.

Matrix Guild of Victoria is seeking lesbian volunteers to participate in the program, which will involve committing at least two hours per month to visiting an isolated older lesbian at their home or residence, and possibly accompany them on trips.

One of the visitors who volunteers in the Matrix Guild program is Ardy Tibby, who said she found her experiences with the older lesbian she was visiting rewarding.

“For the first visit we went out to lunch at a seaside hotel and talked for a long time — I learned so much about her,” Tibby said.

Volunteers receive training and a travel allowance as part of the program, which is free for the clients.

The scheme will have a different focus from the volunteer visitors scheme launched by Gay and Lesbian Switchboard earlier this year.

Anneke Deutsch from Matrix Guild told the Star Observer the organisation wanted to create a separate scheme in part because the government funding associated with the switchboard program was generally only eligible for people over 65 and with a degree of frailty.

“We have many requests for visits from isolated lesbians who were younger than 65 and in many cases quite independent physically — they are therefore not eligible for the Switchboard scheme,” Deutsch said, explaining the Matrix Guild program would cater to lesbians over 40.

She also said many Matrix Guild members who expressed interest did not want the general training in LGBTI issues offered as part of the Switchboard scheme.

“Many of our members who volunteered as visitors wished only to visit other lesbians and wouldn’t have participated in a scheme where training included information about gay men’s, intersex and trans issues,” Deutsch explained.

For more information about the scheme, contact Anna Cook from Matrix Guild at inquiries@matrixguildvic.org.au, or call 0448 002 870.

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