TWO northern suburbs women have turned their own migration experiences into a positive resource for families new to Perth.
Lorraine Swart, of Connolly, and Jennie McNichol, of Tapping, set up Buggybuddys, a free family networking and events website, last year.
Families new to Perth and new to parenting can find friends, something to do or somewhere to go through the site, which offers its own events and encourages members to organise their own.
Site options range from mums or dads and kids play dates, family barbecues and picnics, adult meals out and sports events to playgroups, recommendations for toy libraries and reviews of holiday destinations and family restaurants.
UK migrants Lorraine and Jennie drew on their own experiences of settling in Perth with young families to set up the website, which includes a Facebook page.
The women responded to a “real need” among lonely migrants who had no idea how to find friends, activities and services in a new city.
“Living in such a beautiful place as Perth, we wanted families to be able to experience what the city has to offer,” Lorraine said.
“Many of the activities needed to be in a local area so mums who do not drive could walk or take public transport.
“We have more than 4000 members, including six netball teams across Perth and a five-a-side football team.
“Members can chat through discussion forums, search for people to meet up with in their local area and create their own sub-groups online.
“We have many different nationalities such as Peruvian, Russian, Danish, English, South African, Canadian, American and Icelandic; there are fly-in, fly-out families, craft and book groups.
“Activities are weekly and monthly around Perth.”
Jennie said the website removed the stigma of not having friends.
“People are embarrassed to admit they are lonely but if they join the site, they can shout out and meet others in the same situation,” she said.
“By providing the information forum, we want people to feel there is a community here in Perth for them and they can access it.”
The women hope businesses and local councils will use the site to advertise their services.