Community Happenings

GenR8 Change has recently teamed up with neighbouring community led initiatives SEA Change Portland and Hands Up Casterton to bring (virtually) two experts to our local area to build community knowledge and skills around managing both screen time and gaming.  In April, our area was lucky to have Dr Lauren Arundell from the Institute of Physical Activity and Nutrition at Deakin University share strategies for managing screen time in the home. More recently, we welcomed Steven Dupon, the Director at Institute of Games to build skills of parents to achieve a healthy gaming-life balance for their families.  Having had a few weeks to test and try their new strategies, we've caught up with some parents to hear how they've made change in their homes. We hope to share a few of these stories over the coming weeks, first up - The Fox family! Edith Fox already had some great strategies in place to manage screen time in her home, but she’s made some tweaks for the better that have resulted in a happier and healthier family. ‘We already had some rules in place that were working okay, the biggest one being no internet access at all on Sundays. Since the webinars we’ve been implementing a rule around accessing laptops only during school times only 9am-3:30pm - with breaks for recess & lunch’. Edith adds, "It’s amazing the arguments you have over devices but when the initial shock wears off & the kids get used to the rules then it becomes normality". During the week there are no screens except TV after 4:30pm. On Saturdays Edith allows 2 hours of undisturbed gaming time. We need to remember social connection during this time is important and increased screen time is inevitable, the art is in achieving balanced and quality screen time. ‘We’ll have a family movie night on the weekend, complete with popcorn. My son even makes admission tickets for us and we’ll take in turns in picking a movie”, Edith says. Edith admits it has been a tough time to stick by her household rules and the change in weather hasn’t helped, but there are creative ways to avoid the screen, “Old board games have been getting a great workout, UNO and Lego. Our family just purchased a mushroom kit and have plans to build a chook pen’”. Edith also recognises the role parental behaviour and role-modelling plays on children when it comes to screens, “We as parents have to show the right behaviour”. Well-done Edith for achieving a healthy balance in your home!   If you missed the recent Screen Time and Gaming webinars, you can access resources/recordings here; - Screen Time https://www.genr8change.com/screen_time_resources - Managing Gaming https://www.facebook.com/GenR8Change/videos/266493364544025/   For more information or to share your story around how your family, school, workplace or community group is working to promote a healthier lifestyle please reach out to Ebony at ebony.jenkins@wdhs.net

We asked out local families how they are keeping active whilst in 'lock-down'.... here's what they've been up to! Thanks to all our families for your great contributions.    Part 1 -    Part 2 -    What's your family been doing to stay active during this time? Let us know, as we'd love more examples to share! Get in touch with Ebony at ebony.jenkins@wdhs.net or on 0466 554 562  

Windamara Aboriginal Corporation have started a Gym Library in response to local gyms and recreation facilities being closed due to Corona-virus restrictions. To hire fitness equipment through the free library, Windamara clients need to first get in contact with a well-being officer or psychologist (ph: 5527 0090). Once registered, the client can request the types of equipment they'd like to borrow and the team will then deliver (zero contact delivery of course!) the equipment to Heywood or Hamilton addresses. The initiative has been popular, so there way be a small wait on borrowing the most sought after items. Equipment available to be borrowed includes; medicine balls, dumbbells and kettle-bells all of varying weights. Each piece of hired equipment comes with a sheet of exercises that can be done using that specific equipment. Windamara well-being officers have been following up and checking in with clients using the service to see how they're getting on.                 Windamara clients are also lucky to have access to regular virtual fitness classes, run via zoom by Grant Roberts. These are accessible via the links shared on the Windamara Healthy Lifestyles Community Group Facebook page.  Windamara Pshcologist Daryl Hobbs has also put together a resource for clients called '28 Days of Activities for being Shut In'. The list gives plenty of ideas for activities that will improve not only your physical but mental health whilst isolating, see below. The Windamara community are encouraged to use the Facebook page to share progress with these 28 activities.    We think the concept of a Gym Library is great! Have you heard of anything similar happening? Let us know!   Contact: Ebony Jenkins ebony.jenkins@wdhs.net or PH: 0413249377

SGAE Hamilton and partners have celebrated the end of their very first Garden to Plate program by doing what they do best, sharing fresh food and festive vibes! The Garden to Plate program launched in early 2019 and uses vegetable gardening and meal preparation to enhance language, literacy, numeracy and technology, and build skills for everyday living. It's an innovative approach to students obtaining a Certificate in Transition Education. Running one day a week, the program will commence again in February 2020 welcomes more participants along for the ride. Around 30 members of the Southern Grampians community came together on Monday 25th November for the Garden to Plate Summer Christmas, including program participants, carers, families, peers and the Mayor of the Southern Grampians Shire. Program participants showcased some of the fresh produce they have nurtured, and the cooking skills they’ve developed so far. HIRL garden volunteer Glenice says it’s important for participants to embrace the whole life cycle of the plants, ‘they’ve nourished little seedlings in the hothouse before they were even planted, they’ve been a part of the growth process from start to finish (garden to plate!)’.   Fresh garden beans, peas, carrots, beetroots, zucchini and varied herbs all featured in this weeks celebration.               Garden to Plate is much more than a gardening or cooking course, it’s about building life skills, utilising kitchen gardening to do so. Participants grow their social and organisational skills, problem solving abilities and more on top of learning about weights, measures, budgeting and shopping.   If you know of someone living with a disability who might be interested in Garden to Plate, get in touch with SGAE 48 Thompson Street or on 5571 9900.   Is your organisation, club, community group or school making a change so that the healthier choice is the easier choice? Let us know about it! Get in touch with Ebony at ebony.jenkins@wdhs.net or 5551 8475 for support or to share your story.

Standing tall is a school based mentoring program ran out of Baimbridge College, matching trained volunteer mentors with at risk youth to establish trusting relationships for support, encouragement and guidance in the lives of young people.   Karen (mentor) and Nyah (mentee) are one of the 17 current pairs in the program. Karen and Nyah have been a Standing Tall pair for 3 years now and have built a strong relationship that has benefitted them both. Karen and Nyah often use their weekly mentoring time to get out for a walk! Whilst on occasion the pair will also go on driving lessons or play table tennis, they have really embraced the social walk and both find it a great way to break up their day. Nyah says walking has helped strengthen her relationship with Karen, “I find it easier to talk about things while we walk and it’s good one on one time” says Nyah, “..it’s refreshing to go for a walk in the middle of the school day”. Karen says all the mentoring pairs should try using their mentoring time for walking, because there’s so much to see in our area. “We’ve been to HIRL, along the Grange, out to the Wannon Falls and through the gardens. The whole reason we started walking was to show Nyah more of what’s out there in Hamilton”.        Standing Tall co-coordinator, Jane Crowe congratulates the pair for thinking outside the box and getting out and about. “It’s great for pairs to do something active, frequently in our program mentors take their mentees out for lunch, which is again great bonding time but sometimes not the best food choices are made. We’re looking to make healthier choices easier within our group as a whole, we now have a permanent fruit bowl in our mentoring space and display the Australian Guide to Healthy Eating. It’s hard on our budget to provide healthy choices, but we are working on finding healthy alternatives”.     A big congratulations to Nyah and Karen for trying something new and healthy within their mentoring time! We hope they set the scene for other pairs to follow their lead and enjoy some active outdoor time. To find out more about Standing Tall, you can contact Jane at standingtallhamilton.bco@outlook.com or phone 5572 2788 . How is your school, workplace, sporting club or community group encouraging healthy choices when it comes to food and activity? Let us share your story, contact Ebony at genr8change@gmail.com or phone 5551 8475

Lying just outside of the Southern Grampians shire, the Merino produce swap is one of the strongest in our area. Recently, swapper Kim Chintock shared just how the swap became so strong and how it’s evolved over the years. Could your community use some of these learnings to start a ‘swap’ of your own?                                                                                    The idea of a Merino produce swap evolved out of the Food for Thought conference back in 2012. A presentation from existing Nareen Swap group inspired a small local group to try a similar thing, and six years later they’re still going strong. The swap happens on the second Saturday of the month from 10am at the Merino Community Health Centre. A further idea stemmed from the swap team shortly after the swaps began, as the community centre had a large garden space, the team worked to establish a community garden. Starting with just three raised vegie beds, over time fruit trees, citrus buses and decorative plants have been established and maintained by volunteers. At each swap, attendees give a gold coin donation towards morning tea. This has raised over $1000 to date that has been injected directly into the upkeep of the community garden. Just recently, the swap group have changed their name to, ‘Merino Swap & Share’ because it's really about bringing anything along, putting it on the table and sharing. The word ‘share’ is important to the group, as not every transaction is a trade, you can bring along 'anything' and who knows you may take home a different 'anything'. Now, in addition to the monthly gatherings, excess produce and goods, especially in times of abundance at the entrance to the Merino Community Health Centre, for anyone to take or add to. The next step for the group is to create a Facebook group page where users can post what they have an excess of or goods they no longer require, as another means of maintaining the swapping culture between meets. The concept of sharing is a growing trend worldwide and Merino is up there with it!                                                  

Approximately 35 community members gathered in the The Hub Hamilton early on Tuesday morning to learn about and celebrate changes organisations, schools, sporting clubs and workplaces have made so that healthier choices are easier to make in their respective settings.   Ursula from South West TAFE, John from Western District Health Service, Lynne and Emily from Southern Stay Disability Services Inc and Fiona Hermon from Penshurst Primary School - Vic all shared their stories of change on the community panel.   There was lots of positive networking and buzz fuelled by delicious healthy catering from Cafe Gray, Tosca Browns and Jack + Jude.   We hope all who came along left feeling inspired to drive further change and promote healthy choices! As always, if you have an idea for change, need some support with healthy choices or have a story you'd like to share please do get in touch at hello@genr8change.com We're already looking forward to the next celebration event!                  

Coleraine welcomed a community produce sharing basket last week! The sharing basket lives at new Coleraine cafe' the Catching Pen, and is a base for community members to drop their excess produce from any overflowing vegetable gardens to ensure it doesn't go to waste. The basket is accessible to anyone, and if you don't have produce to leave, you can still take as you please for a small donation that goes directly to the Coleraine Primary School Stephanie Alexander Kitchen Garden program.  The philosophy is 'Give what you can and take what you need'.              Community member Beccy Wishart says the Coleraine community have really embraced the idea so far, "We picked up the concept from Dunkeld who have their own produce cart. Ours has been popular with the community so far, there's been plenty of support and we feel it's off to a flying start".  It's amazing what type of ripple effects small actions can have! The Coleraine crew picked up this idea from a similar initiative happening in Dunkeld, who were inspired by a community produce hub in Robe SA.    Do you know of any other produce swaps happening across the Southern Grampians? Or maybe you'd like some more information or tips to start your own? Contact Ebony at ebony.jenkins@wdhs.net or on 5551 8475.