Chatter fills the air and wafts across coffee tables. The aroma of sandwiches, sausage rolls, party pies, teas and coffees drifts between conversations of old friends catching up and new friendships being forged. It’s another Tuesday morning at The Dickson Tradies, and members are enjoying the club’s weekly complimentary Seniors' Morning Tea.
Queenie and Ray Uren sit at a coffee table in The Tradies lounge – Queenie sipping a tea, Ray enjoying a coffee. A mix of light classics and requests drift towards them from pianist Ross Clarke, who’s seated at the black baby grand piano.
The two long-time members of The Tradies who have been married 56 years look forward to Tuesday mornings; it’s a chance to see some familiar faces like Austin Stewart’s – friends they’ve made through the morning tea.
“We get entertainment and it gets us out of the house,” says Queenie with a smile. “Ray usually has the sandwiches and I have the muffins,” she adds, admitting she’s guilty of harbouring a sweet tooth.
“You name it, it’s there,” says Ray of The Tradies spread. “This is the only outing we do through the week.”
“It’s a good chance for us to leave the house without heading to the doctors,” retorts Queenie with a laugh.
The Seniors' Morning Tea, which has been running for four years (9:30am until 11:30am), continues to grow as word spreads of the free fillings, entertainment, and forming friendships.
“There’s always new faces,” says The Tradies Receptionist, Sue Fallon. “If you walk in there everyone’s just talking and they look very relaxed. Most people seem to come every week and there are some very strong friendships developing, that’s for sure.”
These days Sue greets most morning tea comers by name as they stream through The Tradies front door – often earlier than the tea’s starting time to ensure their favourite seat.
“I like to see the smiles on their faces because they really do look forward to it,” says Sue. “They can enlarge their social circle, which for older people who tend to be fairly isolated it is great fun for them. They often come out really happy – they come out almost skipping having had a couple of hours of company.”