By Sally Dusting-Laird
The Knox Community Chess Enthusiasts are back at Westfield Knox!
The COVID-19 pandemic hit everyone in Victoria like a hurricane in 2020 and that included the KCCE members who met weekly at the Westfield Knox community space but were required to stop their tournaments nearly nine months ago.
There was little contact among the regular chess players and as Stage 4 lockdowns were imposed in August 2020, KCCE felt the impact of the isolation and was keen to get back together to play and talk.
KCCE founder and coordinator Eddie Atacador was offered Zoom training by Coonara Community House in Upper Ferntree Gully using chess.com and finally the group was able to continue playing online.
But with Melbourne returning to a new COVID normal, Westfield Knox management reached out to the popular group and offered a brand new empty retail premises to continue playing from 4 November and it is three times the size of the original space allowing more people to join in the fun.
“The return to face-to-face chess at Westfield Knox Community Space is a welcome relief for chess enthusiasts following nine months of strict social hibernation, loneliness, boredom and COVID-19 fatigue,” Eddie said.
“It is immensely gratifying to see many happy faces at the end of the tunnel!”
Eddie started the group when he saw a need to form a hub for seniors like himself while waiting for his wife to finish shopping. Three years later, it is a melting pot of people from all walks of life, genders, abilities, young and old, playing and sharing a cuppa; a true example of community development in action.
In 2019, 960 people participated in playing chess and over the past three years, KCCE has touched the lives of more than 2,000 members of the community.
Westfield Knox provided the Community Space to Coonara Community House to contribute to the ability of local community groups to promote themselves as well as recruit valuable volunteers.
The new space is located on Level 1 just outside Myer.
Individuals who would like to join in on the fun can contact Eddie at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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