Mayoral column 9 December 2013

Published on 09 December 2013

Plan has an eye to the future

Council will consider a brand-new approach to enhancing the lives of Loddon’s ageing residents when it meets in Serpentine today.

The proposed Community Care Strategy 2013/2017 is built on two plans previously employed by Council – an Aged and Disability Strategy and an Active Ageing plan. 

Based around the idea of partnership, it has been developed through consultation with agencies and service providers in Loddon, a community survey, focus group work and a prior searching examination by Councillors and executive staff.

Director Community Wellbeing Wendy Gladman said Loddon Shire presented some particular demographic challenges, with half its population over 50 years of age.

“Nevertheless, our research showed Loddon residents valued having a large range of groups and activities on offer, friendly communities, plenty of recreational opportunities and good access to medical and health services, GPs, chemists, banks and shops,” Wendy said.

“The difficulties they identified about living in Loddon included access to transport, isolation and difficulties in using scooters and wheelchairs in our towns.”

The Community Care Strategy focuses on eight key areas to support local people as they get older.

These include maintaining Council’s high-quality Home and Community Care (HACC) services, strong advocacy, making the most of our community facilities, improving transport options, lifting volunteering and encouraging good communication and engagement.

Each area has a number of specified actions attached to spell out how Council plans to get things done.

“A key emphasis here is on positive ageing,” Wendy said.

“Positive ageing reduces the risk of an ageing population having increased health concerns and a corresponding lift in demand for community care services.”

Win a gold nugget

The Loddon Visitor Information Centre in Wedderburn is giving Shire residents the chance to strike gold this Christmas.

The centre is running a special promotion in which people who call in and fill out a voucher go into a draw to win a gold nugget valued at $70.

Tourism Manager Robyn Vella said the idea was to encourage local people to find out more about things to see and do in the region. 

“The Loddon Valley is ‘gold’ when it comes to entertaining family and friends over the coming holiday period,” Robyn said.

“A trip to the Loddon Visitor Information Centre will equip you with all the information you need to discover and explore new places and experiences with your visitors.”
 
The winner will be announced during the community house Christmas celebrations on 18 December.

Event money on offer

Organisers of events within Loddon Shire have been invited to put up their hands for grants of up to $10,000 under a new round of funding from Bendigo Regional Tourism.

Loddon is a partner in the regional tourism body, along with the City of Greater Bendigo and the Mt Alexander and Central Goldfields Shires.

With a total of $60,000 available, Bendigo Regional Tourism is looking for events which could potentially attract a wide range of visitors, tap into new visitor markets, grow and become more viable and bring economic benefits to the region.

Submissions must come from incorporated bodies or bodies auspiced by an incorporated body.  Qualifying events must also have principal support from their local municipality.

For more details, write to l.mitchell@bendigo.vic.gov.au. Submissions close on Tuesday 17 December.

Join in the fun

The festive season gets under way in style in Loddon Shire next Friday (13 Dec.), when four local communities stage their Christmas celebrations.

First off is the Boort Tourism Group’s Christmas Festival in Godfrey St, running from 5pm to 9pm and featuring market stalls, a barbecue, children’s entertainment and late-night trading.

At 8pm, carols evenings will be held at Rheola, Wedderburn and Powlett Plains.

Rheola will have traditional carols in the local hall, while Wedderburn will feature the Eaglehawk and Maryborough Salvation Army Band and items by students from the college.

At Powlett Plains hall, the Goldfields Choir will perform a selection of seasonal songs.

Another piece of festive fun is an “Australian Christmas Tree Competition” currently running in Boort and district.

Sponsored by New Horizon Welfare Services and co-ordinated by the Pyramid Hill/Boort Anglican parish (which also takes in Bears Lagoon), the competition is open to individuals, families, businesses, community organisations and school classes.

The invitation is to create an Australian-themed Christmas tree using materials found around homes or businesses, in the bush or on farms.

There are cash prizes on offer in both the open section and a separate section for primary school-aged children. 

Entry forms are available from the Boort Resource and Information Centre and the deadline for entries is Thursday 19 December.

Council meetings to change

Today (9 Dec.) sees the final Council meeting for the year, with another full agenda touching on issues such as community care, a social media strategy for the Shire, event sponsorships and Council’s focus on mental health.

The meeting will be held at the Serpentine Council Offices at 3.30pm and members of the public are welcome to attend.

Next year, there will be changes to how Council conducts its monthly meetings, with these now scheduled for every fourth Tuesday at 3pm and a new meeting structure adopted.

All meetings next year will take place at Serpentine.