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Stitch members in South Australia reveal their secrets to building a thriving Stitch community

Stitch members in South Australia reveal their secrets to building a thriving Stitch community

From little things … big things grow. 

I’m reminded of Paul Kelly’s song every time I browse the upcoming activities section in Adelaide. 

Only a few months ago South Australia’s capital had very few in-person local activities on Stitch, with members relying on virtual activities to stay socially connected. Several members had suggested things to do in the past, but they hadn’t generated enough momentum for the community to really get started.

Then something interesting began to happen. 

Stitch member Suzanne suggested an outdoor hike, and only one person came along. Rather than be deterred by the low turnout, however, she then posted a dinner event … and this time got seven attendees. The next walk had half a dozen members show their interest.

Perhaps inspired by Suzanne’s initiative, other members started posting their own activities and events, with a Stitch member Ann organising a group dinner in the city.

Once activity became two. Two activities became three. Three activities became seven. Seven became … dozens!

If you take a look at the upcoming activities in Adelaide you’ll now notice everything from hikes and dinners to cycling and card games. 

Witnessing the growth of this local Stitch community, in particular in the midst of a pandemic, has been a wondrous thing to behold. 

We reached out to several event organizers in Adelaide and asked how they managed to build their local community into one of the most active and thriving communities in Stitch. 

Ann
Adelaide, South Australia

Over the past two and a half months I have hosted 16 activities, everything from dining, hiking and walking to places of interest, exhibition visits, and a two-day visit to the wonderful Fleurieu Peninsula.  

I am grateful for the people in my life now, for Stitch for giving me the platform to do lots of things I have always wanted to do, and for helping people who are just like me, looking for more to life.

Now I have found my new life, and I know at least 35 other people who are also happy and enthusiastic with what they have found on Stitch. 

Ann’s event: Enjoying a morning walk at Belair National Park

It’s exciting when I receive a sincere “thank you” from people attending their first event. I finally feel connected to a friend. And when they ask “what’s on next week?” I don’t have to think hard as I have a head full of ideas! 

Joining Stitch was like opening the door to a new life. My previous life was busy with cancer; it’s still with me but I barely think about it. 

I also lost my best friend and husband just as I was recovering from a stem cell transplant, so my life had no direction or stability for quite some time. That’s changed since joining Stitch.

Ann’s event: Whale watching and hiking at Victor Harbour

The idea of finding other people with similar likes to me gave me a light bulb moment. For years I wanted to get out and walk/hike anywhere in natural bush surrounds, but had no one to go with. 

It turns out there are lots of people on Stitch who share my passion for walking and hiking. Once I discovered that, I became hooked on hosting walking and hiking events! 

“Joining Stitch was like opening the door to a new life”

Stitch Community Champion Ann

The truth is, Stitch is whatever you want to make it. In the short term you will see and do things you have always wanted to, and you will feel connected and accepted. In the longer term you will make solid friends, and get to know the area in which you live, and beyond.    

I now post an activity and all my friends have the opportunity to attend, how good is that! 

Ann’s event: Enjoying a leisurely stroll through the Adelaide Botanic Gardens
(with a sneaky wine afterwards!)

Terry
Adelaide, South Australia, Australia

We have discussed the situation here (Adelaide, South Australia) many times and we are surprised at how quickly things have happened.  

People who came to the early events very quickly bonded and formed a close group. These people seem to have spontaneously created informal groups and created private events, such as visits to each other’s homes. I am cooking for seven people this Friday night at my house. This is a first, and we think it will become a regular event.

We think that everybody is looking for the same thing; company, and people with shared interests”

Stitch member and event organizer, Terry

We have not done anything remarkable that explains the rapid uptake of our community. It seems that the only thing needed to facilitate these developments, is that somebody in a community has to stand up and take responsibility to kick things off.

We have encouraged members to promote their own events and a number of people have done so. This organic growth in creating new organisers bodes well for the long term development of our community. 

We think that everybody is looking for the same thing; company, and people with shared interests. Often people at different times in their lives find themselves isolated from former friends and workmates. This is where Stitch can offer a non-threatening environment to start again and to meet new people.

Terry’s event: A three hour hike admiring the cockatoos, butterflies
and koalas at the Cleland Conservation Park

It has to be said that the driving force in all this has been Ann. While I have helped behind the scenes she has provided the enthusiasm that has driven the development of our activities and groups.    

“Somebody in a community has to stand up and take responsibility to kick things off”

Stitch member and event organizer, Terry

We have not done anything remarkable that explains the rapid uptake of our community. It seems that the only thing needed to facilitate these developments, is that somebody in a community has to stand up and take responsibility to kick things off.

Suzanne
South Australia, Australia

I joined Stitch like many others, hoping to meet people near my age who like to do what I like to do: hike, socialise and go out for a meal now and then. 

When I checked activities in my area there were none, except for virtual activities. So, I started creating my own events including a bush walk and dinner at a local restaurant. 

“I joined Stitch like many others, hoping to meet people near my age who like to do what I like to do”

Stitch Community Champion Suzanne

I immediately met some other Stitchers who had also been wondering where all the events were. We decided that it was up to us to start organising and that’s what we’ve been doing. 

To date I have organised a few bushwalks, a dinner, a picnic and a bike ride. We are very lucky in South Australia that there is no community transmission of COVID so we can socialise. We take full advantage of it but are also careful to be COVID-safe when we gather.

Suzanne’s event: Brownhill Loop Walk
Photographer: Terry 

If you live in or around Adelaide in South Australia, be sure to join Stitch to gain access to all upcoming activities in and around this city!

4 Comments

  1. Ruth Lym

    Wow! Is the pandemic done in South Australia?! Here in the US, I don’t go out of the house without a mask. We don’t have people come to our house who don’t live here. We don’t stand so close together. I haven”t hugged my daughter (who lives in the same city as I do — San Francisco) since February. I am envious of you guys being able to do normal things together. Have fun!

    1. Andrew Dowling

      Yes Ruth, lots of parts of Australia currently have zero cases of community transmission of the virus. It just goes to show what can be done when there is a concerted public response (including adherence to social distancing, masks, restrictions, testing, etc). A good example is what’s happened in Victoria. Back in August Victoria was getting around 750 new cases per day, while the UK was seeing a bit over 800. Victoria went into a pretty hard lockdown which is now ended, and a couple of days ago they recorded zero cases of community transmission. Meanwhile the UK is recording around 23,000 per day. The wildly divergent outcomes from a similar starting position make quite an illuminating comparison.

  2. Judells

    Yes, it’s been awesome to be part of Stitch Adelaide. I have made wonderful new friends, walking partners and am part of a fabulous new community. We all rave about how Stitch brought us together.

  3. Jann Tuxford

    Such a great article and congratulations to all the people who have started groups in SA. You have inspired me to look into starting a group locally.

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