Mayoral Column 16 May 2016

Published on 16 May 2016

Are you interested in accessing occasional child care?

Being the primary carer of pre-school age children can be a juggle at times, particularly when you need to take time out for work, an appointment or simply to have a break.

This is a message Council has received from parents and is now able to address after receiving funding to run occasional care programmes through Loddon Shire’s five kindergartens.

It’s exciting to be in a position where we are able to offer occasional care to parents on a casual needs basis, without tying the family into a regular weekly commitment.

However, we need to ensure we have the numbers and ongoing interest to get this opportunity off the ground.

To this end, in recent weeks Council’s early years team has been conducting information sessions at kindergartens across the Shire and chatting to families at the kinder gate, in a bid to promote the new programme.

While we understand it may be difficult for carers to fully anticipate their occasional care needs and we already have the government funding to provide the service, it’s vital we receive expressions of interest to determine the service delivery need.

Occasional care is available for families with three to five year old children and six year-olds with an exemption from school if they turn six in the year care is provided.

The Commonwealth and state government program is also a surprisingly affordable option for the majority of families.

To register your interest in accessing occasional care, or for further information, contact our Early Years Coordinator Alycia O’Sullivan by phoning 5437 7909 or emailing earlyyears@loddon.vic.gov.au by Friday 27 May.

Free mental health first aid courses

First Aid can, and does, save lives.

You can never have too many people with Certificate II in First Aid in a workplace, a community group or the home.

Our community is fortunate to have a significant number of “first aiders” among its ranks but I’m not sure we could say the same about mental health first aiders.

We currently have a fantastic opportunity to address this imbalance with a number of free mental health first aid courses being conducted across the Shire.

While the funding for these courses is being provided through the Drought Support Fund, the training is open to all adults within the Shire, regardless of whether they have a direct link to the land.

The course focuses on developing the skills to give initial help to adults experiencing mental health problems in a mental health crisis situation or in the early stages of a mental health illness.

My fellow Councillor Colleen Condliffe, who is also a member of the Loddon Healthy Minds Committee, was among those to participate in a two day course which wound up in Wedderburn on Sunday.

Colleen undertook the course alongside interested community members from towns including Charlton, Wedderburn and Dingee.

The participants were from a range of different backgrounds and ages, with the youngest graduate being 18 and some being well into their 50s.

A second Mental Health First Aid course, to be held over several evenings at The Boort Resource and Information Centre, kicked off last night (Monday 16 May).

We hope to support further mental health first aid courses, including those which focus on the wellbeing of our young people, later in the year.

To find out more visit the Mental Health First Aid Australia website at www.mhfa.com.au or log onto www.loddonhealthyminds.com.au.

Rug up and meander around a market

Welcome recent rain accompanied by cool, crisp mornings and evenings have signalled winter weather isn’t far away.

But don’t let that stop you from rugging up and heading out with the family on the weekend.

We have some fabulous country markets in the Shire where you can stock up with vegies to make those winter soups and casseroles, while fossicking through a host of craft and bric-a-brac stalls before enjoying a bite of lunch.

Make a point of marking on the calendar the Wedderburn Farmers Market which takes place on Sunday 29 May and the Pyramid Hill Lions Market and Lions Bridgewater Country Market which are scheduled for Saturday 11 June.

Meet up with friends, and while you out and about, if your travels take you through Inglewood, consider popping into The Blue Eucy Museum which is enjoying extended opening hours.

The museum, which celebrates Inglewood’s unique links with the eucalyptus oil industry, is now open Thursday to Monday from 10am to 4pm.

Prospective volunteers interested in assisting at The Blue Eucy Museum, and in doing so helping to raise the town’s tourism profile, are encouraged to contact our Tourism and Marketing Officer Robyn Vella on 0428 448 390.