Travelling right

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A NEW grants program designed to enrich the lives of older Australians has been launched by the Commission for Mission.

Uniting Journeys is offering up to $10,000 toward responsible travel opportunities for (but not exclusive to) people 55 years and older.

Project support worker Jim Wakelam said the program also aimed to encourage intergenerational, interfaith and intercultural travellers with good ideas for responsible travel.

“We have a grant program that runs for two years – there will be six grants each year.

“In order to qualify for the grants people need to go online and fill out a simple expression of interest. It’s brief – only about 20 minutes work. What we are after is the essence of a good idea, rather than slick grant submissions,” Mr Wakelam said.

One of the obvious connections between church and travel is the concept of pilgrimage and Mr Wakelam said the program aimed for at least half of the grants to be awarded to people within the Uniting Church community.

“Pilgrimage is not about getting to a destination – it’s about the process of moving from one place to another mindfully, who you meet and who you travel with.

“People want to explore the process of journeying with others who are interested in talking and learning, and coming to a more spiritual understanding of each other.

“If we can simply encourage people to be a little more thoughtful when they travel, that’s one way to change everyday tourism into pilgrimage,” he said.

Uniting Journeys has set up an easy to use application process on their web page:

“People propose their idea in terms of what benefit it has for the travellers and what benefit it has for the people who are being visited.

“If we like the idea we will invite them to first come to an information session, and once they have all of the information we can provide, ask them to make a more detailed presentation. A short list of ‘pitches’ will then be allocated a mentor who will work with them over time to help polish their ideas.

“Travel, ground content and accommodation will be arranged by our travel partners Jetaway Travel, so that the tour idea comes together professionally, but as easily as possible,” he said.

A unique purpose of Uniting Journeys is to provide opportunities, especially for older people, for constructive, responsible travel that otherwise might not be possible.

The Uniting Journeys Foundation is funded by donations from every traveller who takes part in a journey, funds directed by the Commission for Mission and individual donations.

Those interested in contributing to this work should contact Adrian Pyle the director of Relationships Innovation, Commission for Mission. Ph: (03) 9251 5253


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