Mayoral Column 28 May 2018

Published on 28 May 2018

Rural mental health forum first of its kind

An upcoming forum regarding suicide prevention will be the first of its kind in our region to focus solely on rural mental health.

Suicide Prevention – it’s everyone’s business will be held at the Inglewood Town Hall on 30 August. The event, which is for staff and volunteers working in the mental health industry, is being organised through the Loddon Healthy Minds Network.

The forum has been made possible thanks to funding of $20,000 from the Federal Government’s Building Better Regions fund.

The aim of the forum is to not only focus on suicide prevention and mental health in our rural areas, but to raise awareness and start conversations in our own communities (and beyond) regarding these issues.

The forum’s keynote speaker is former Australian Rules Football player and commentator Wayne Schwass. Mr Schwass is also the founder and former Chief Executive Officer of Sunrise Foundation, which was launched after he became one of the first footballers to speak openly about depression. Additionally he is the founder of Puka Up, a social enterprise launched in 2017 focusing on mental health, emotional wellbeing and suicide prevention.

A range of sponsorship opportunities for the forum will be available, including an entry-level sponsorship for businesses or organisations which will enable volunteers working in mental health or suicide prevention to attend the event.

More details regarding the suicide prevention forum will be released in the coming weeks. For more information and updates, visit Council’s website  

Pick My Project launched

In late April I mentioned the Victorian Government’s new community grants initiative that gives community members the chance to suggest and decide on ideas that will most improve their communities.

The Pick My Project community grants fund is now open for all Victorians aged 16 years and over to submit their project ideas for consideration.

As mentioned previously, Pick My Project is a great opportunity for our community members to work with Loddon Shire (and the State Government) to try and secure funding for your favourite local idea or project that may not come under other grant programs.

Ideas could focus on funding for sport and recreation activities, improving health and wellbeing, innovation, arts and culture, and ideas that improve our community and bring people together.

Once you have your idea, you then need to partner with an eligible organisation, such as a community group, school or Loddon Shire before you submit your idea.

Community members will decide on their favourite ideas by voting (giving local residents the first and final say on the best way to improve their local area), with winning ideas receiving funding. Winning projects will be announced in September 2018.

Projects between $20,000 and $200,000 are eligible for the program, with a total of $30 million allocated for Pick My Project to fund community ideas around the state.  

To find out more visit 

Let’s Nut It Out workshop

A reminder that the Let’s Nut It Out workshop will be held from 9am to 4pm on Wednesday 6 June 2018 at La Trobe University’s Bendigo campus.

Organised by Make a Change Australia, Let’s Nut it Out is a networking, resource building and critical skill development workshop for leaders, changemakers, social entrepreneurs and visionaries.

The workshop aims to help participants learn skills, gain new information and focus on advancing your projects, be they big or small. It is for people of all ages who would like to make good things happen in their community, and is particularly aimed at those involved with social, health and wellbeing, environmental and community-wide challenges.

The program will include inspiring talks, peer-to-peer learning, defining project challenges, nutting out solutions and access to mentors around marketing, finance and business management. In addition to the workshop, the program includes online resources, pre-event prep packs and post-event follow up.

The workshop costs $55, with the program able to offer ticket subsidies for eligible participants. Please call Make a Change Australia on 0419 006 243 to find out more.

For more information and link to book the workshop, visit

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