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Mayoral Column 29 February 2016

Released on 29 February 2016

Wide-eyed wonder awaits

Countless Primary school students from across the Shire are reading (or re-reading) the 52 Storey Treehouse as they anticipate seeing their favourite characters on stage.

Loddon Shire Council has invested a $4,500 share of funds allocated through The Loddon Drought Response Package, to a trip to Ulumbarra theatre on Thursday 17 March.

Perhaps the majority of the 371 primary age children set to benefit from the experience will be attending a live theatre show for the first time.

Council is committed to supporting projects which give young people living, and attending school in our rural municipality, the same opportunities as those living in larger centres.

This is a sentiment which appears to be echoed by our neighbouring communities, with the Bendigo Arts Access Program footing the bill of transporting students from each corner of our Shire to Bendigo and back home.

Students are looking forward to a full day out, with Council supplying morning tea, lunch and the cost associated with a surprise activity to take place before the show gets underway.

Secondary school students within the Shire will have a hands-on opportunity to explore Ulumbarra in September, when they are scheduled to participate in a full-day workshop giving them a behind the scenes look at back stage operations such as lighting, music- mixing, costumes and props.

Beat the “black dog”

While mental health difficulties can lead to a feeling of isolation or disconnection regardless of your postal address, rural residents may be more at risk.

Geographical isolation, hardship experienced through drought conditions and less readily available access to support services can all contribute to difficulties.

This makes it even more important to connect and talk openly about mental health and suicide prevention.

Wedderburn resident Ric Raftis, who is the Victorian Black Dog Ride coordinator and an accredited mental health first aid trainer, is one person leading the way within our Shire.

He’s been working with a team of people to coordinate The Black Dog Ride, taking place in conjunction with the SPAN (Suicide Prevention Awareness Network) Walk on Sunday 20 March.

Ric is encouraging motorcycling enthusiasts within the Shire to help raise awareness of depression and suicide prevention by joining a convoy travelling through Bendigo, Lancefield, Woodend and Daylesford.

If you don’t ride but would like to remember someone, or show your support for others touched by suicide, you can join the Suicide Awareness Walk to be held at the Dai Gum San Chinese Precinct in Bridge Street, Bendigo, where the Black Dog Riders will enjoy breakfast.

A butterfly remembrance ceremony, free sausage sizzle lunch and live entertainment will follow the morning walk.

For further details, phone Alannah McGregor on 0408 541 082.

If this article has raised any issues for you, call Lifeline on 131114.

Garage sale a golden opportunity

Gold prospecting enthusiasts from near and far are digging out their detectors as the Wedderburn Detector Jamboree, which kicks off on Saturday 12 March and Sunday 13 March, draws closer.

The Loddon Visitor Information Centre has been fielding calls from near and far, looking for people to join in festivities including Gold Prospecting Australia detector demonstrations, a gold panning knock-out competition, a detector token hunt and live music.

Furthermore, 17 thrifty households looking to turn trash to treasure have already registered for The Monster Town Garage Sale to take place while Wedderburn is swarming with visitors.

The Monster Town Garage Sale takes place on Saturday 12 March between 9am and 4pm at various locations listed on a map to be distributed at the Loddon Visitor Centre on the day.

It costs $5 to have your garage sale listed on the map, while those wishing to grab a map to scavenge the day away can do so by way of gold coin donation.

For further information on the weekend’s activities, or to secure a last minute spot on The Monster Town Garage Sale map, contact The Loddon Visitor Information Centre on 5494 3489.

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