Surprise party takes a virtual twist

 In News

In the face of COVID-19, many people are having to cancel or postpone celebrations.

But this wasn’t the case for U City resident Judy Turk, whose husband Tony found a creative way to celebrate her 75th birthday on Tuesday – with an online surprise party.
Catered by Luigi Delicatessen – also located at Uniting Communities’ U City – the three-course lunch party was shared with 20 others living at U City Retirement Residences via a Zoom video link-up. Along with Uniting Communities’ staff and other residents, Luigi delivered meals and wine to party-goers’ apartments on the upper levels of the building on Franklin Street to enjoy a real-time celebration with Judy.

‘It was a terrific surprise – I had no idea what Tony had been up to in planning this!’ Judy said. ‘Enjoying the day with our new friends and neighbours at U City was a fantastic way to celebrate.’

The event was a collaborative effort, with staff from Uniting Communities joining Luigi, Tony and the  residents in planning the surprise. Judy and her guests also enjoyed a number of fun activities throughout the lunch, including quizzes, a virtual birthday card of video messages, and a reworking of the Beatles’ classic ‘Hey Jude’ into ‘Hey Judy’.

A highlight for Judy was having former Port Power star Gavin Wanganeen deliver her birthday cake. ‘He’s always been a favourite of mine.

I’m such a keen Power supporter that I have one black eye and one white eye!’ she quipped.

U City opened last August, with the aim of creating an inclusive, diverse and connected community in the heart of Adelaide. As well as retirement residences on the upper floors, it is home to short- and long-term specialist disability accommodation, Uniting Communities’ social services hub, retail and hospitality tenancies, and a purpose-built Changing Places changing facility for people living with disability.

‘This is such a great reflection of the community that U City has developed,’ says Mel Ottaway, Executive Manager Services for Older People, from Uniting Communities.

‘It’s heart-warming to see not only residents, but also our tenants and staff, coming together to celebrate in such a novel way – especially at the moment, when keeping these kinds of interactions and connections alive is more important than ever.’

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