A good time to try Calisthenics

Cloverdale Calisthenics College is looking for more participants to join the fun, fitness and friendship of this uniquely Australian artistic sport.

The group was established in the Corio area in 1994 and has been providing opportunities for pupils of all ages since then, under the direction of Principal Coach Mandy Mueller.

Pupils from as young as three can join weekly classes, on Monday and Tuesday nights, to develop their skills in a range of areas. Together they learn to perform many choregraphed routines to music selected by the coaches and participate in competitions throughout the year, culminating with an end-of-year display.

Calisthenics offers its pupils an opportunity to improve flexibility and strength while learning and performing items that include handling clubs and rods, marching, singing, dancing and items of precision involving movements of gymnastics and the grace of ballet. Pupils strive for excellence and build self-confidence while working in a team environment.

For more information, contact Cloverdale Calisthenics College, phone 0418-559-241, or find the group on Facebook.

Healthy, friendly approach to weight

Finding a healthy way to lose weight and live a healthier life can be hard.  At Cloverdale TOWN, the approach is to use a supportive, social environment to encourage each other.

TOWN stands for Take Off Weight Naturally, a low-cost club that helps members take steps needed to change their lifestyle, eat sensibly, exercise and achieve a personal and healthy goal weight.

The group has been based at Cloverdale Community Centre over many years and wants to welcome new members, regardless of their goals and abilities.

Team leader Kim Milburn said the group can support members who want to lose a lot of weight or just a few kilograms.

“We aim to create a social atmosphere and a community where people feel comfortable,” Kim said. “As well as a weekly weigh-in, with incentives for members who’ve lost weight, we have different topics and tips that can help.”

Weekly topics include tips for a balanced diet, exercise ideas, specific foods, eating well and knowing how to re-set when things don’t go according to plan.

Roslyn Hearn has lost 27 kilograms in her first 12 months of membership and this year has taken on responsibilities as assistant leader.

Roslyn, who has an intellectual disability, said losing weight in a supportive, social environment changed her life.

“I needed to lose weight for medical reasons and found it hard until I came to TOWN,” she said. “It’s helped many parts of my life and now I want to help other people.”

As assistant leader Roslyn has responsibilities during the weekly meetings and also looks forward to the social aspects of the group.

Cloverdale TOWN meets on Thursday mornings. For more information phone 0438-517-215.

Facility supports health and fitness

Northern Bay College has a new strength and conditioning centre, that is proving popular with students and staff. Craned onto the Goldsworthy Campus, the modular complex is attached to the gymnasium and gives students and staff a state-of-the-art facility.

Initially designed to support the Years 7-12 SEED (Sports, Empowerment, Education and Development) Program, it has quickly become a much in-demand facility by other programs, students and staff. Sessions are run as part of the health and physical education program run by college staff.

Before College staff and students access the equipment, they are first given a pre-exercise questionnaire and induction by qualified personal trainer. This includes safety for users and care of the equipment.

Starting in Term 2, lunchtime and after school sessions will be offered to students due to the popularity of the fitness centre. Access is not limited to sport students – any student or staff looking to improve their health and fitness is given a personalised program by an instructor, to support the goals that the individual is hoping to achieve. The strength and conditioning centre is a safe, secure and healthy environment, and regarded by the College as an outstanding long-term asset.

Open and here to stay

Corio Library staff want everyone to know they’re back and keen to welcome the community for a visit, to borrow or to join an activity.

Information Services Librarian Leanne Reinke has been in her role since December and is gradually introducing new activities, as well as continuing already-popular sessions.

They include:

  • Book Club – held on the first Monday of the month, 2pm-3pm. There are some places available and another group will be formed if there is demand.
  • Book Chat – Monday evening sessions. A facilitated group for members to talk about the books they are reading.
  • Themed Information Sessions to discuss different genres of books, for example crime, then take home ideas of more books to read.
  • Purl Jam Knitting Circle – Thursday from 2pm-4pm.
  • Practice Your English – Tuesday from 11am-11.45am. Resources are available to help participants.
  • Create and Make sessions- book an induction session to learn about the 3D printer, sewing machine or overlocker.
  • Technology and library help sessions – book a librarian for a 30-minute appointment to get help with the library, computers, myGov.
  • Children’s activities – Baby Time, Toddler Time, Story Time and after school activities.

“We are also able to help parents with use of the apps used by the schools to communicate,” Leanne said. “We have amazing staff and can usually help with immediate issues too.”

Leanne said the library won’t be moving as part of the Northern Aquatic and Community Hub, which is being constructed nearby.

“We’re here to stay and we just want to encourage everyone to come back to the library,” Leanne said. “Come and see us.”

The library is open seven days a week. Monday 9am-8pm; Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday 9am-6pm; Thursday 9am-8pm; Saturday 9am-5pm; Sunday 2pm-5pm. It is on the corner of Cox Road and Moa Street.

Free legal advice

Deakin Law School Clinical Solicitor and lecturer Michele Tucker leads a team that provides access to free legal help, and she’ll feel right at home when she brings them to Corio to help the community during Law Week in May.

Michele grew up in Department of Housing homes in Norlane and Corio. She is the eldest of five girls raised by their mother.

“Many of my family still live in Norlane and Corio and my grandparents lived in Norlane for more than 60 years,” she said. “Nan is in aged care in Norlane.”

After attending Norlane and North Shore primary schools, then Norlane High, Michele left school in Year 10 and worked as a legal junior in a Geelong law firm.

“I never considered university as an option as no one I knew went to university,” she said. “I worked for law firms in Geelong and Melbourne as a law clerk and eventually in management roles. In 2002 I applied to Deakin to study law, but didn’t get in. I was pretty disappointed.”

A lawyer working with Michele explained different pathways to study. She commenced a Bachelor of Arts degree in 2003 and was then able to transfer to a double degree: Bachelor of Arts/Bachelor of Laws. 

“While juggling full-time study I continued to work part-time in law firms and was also a single mother during this time. I completed my degrees in 2007 and was admitted to practise law in 2008. To say my family was proud is an understatement.”

Michele practises in different areas of law. She also started teaching in the Law School at Deakin University in 2012 and is Clinical Solicitor and Co-ordinator at Deakin Law Clinic, as well as teaching.

Deakin University is a sponsor of Law Week, from May 16-22, which is run by the Victorian Law Foundation. Michele will be at Cloverdale on Wednesday, May 18 with students from the Deakin Law Clinic. 

“I will do a presentation on Family Law and Family Violence Intervention Orders and the students will assist me with a pop-up clinic for the community, to provide information about different areas of law,” Michele said.

“I love my job. I’m very passionate about the law and enjoy helping people solve their legal problems. The legal system and processes can be overwhelming for some people, so I try and break down the issues for clients. 

“I believe it’s only fair that we should all have access to legal assistance and justice, regardless of our background or financial situation.

“I also love teaching, so I have the best of both worlds with my job. It’s amazing to watch our students grow and gain such invaluable practical legal skills during their time in the clinic.”

Deakin Law Clinic is a free, community legal service with five practice areas: Family Law, Criminal Law, Civil and Commercial Law, Employment Law and Policy Advocacy Law. 

The clinic opened in 2017 in Melbourne CBD and a new Geelong office, at Deakin Waterfront campus, in March this year.

Students work on real life client matters under lawyers’ supervision to gain practical and communication skills for their careers in legal practice.

Time is right to step away

The following was provided by the Member for Lara, John Eren …

It’s so hard to believe that 2022 is already upon us. I hope that everyone had a safe, happy and healthy holiday season and that 2022 is your best year yet.

For almost 20 years I have represented the great people of Geelong both as the Member for Geelong Province and then as the Member for Lara. 

It has been two years since I was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease. This diagnosis, along with challenges brought about by the COVID pandemic, has made me place a greater focus on my health and wellbeing and that of my family and friends, to value the ability to spend quality time with them. 

After thinking about my future as time moves on and following discussions with my family, it was with sadness that I decided to not contest the 2022 State Election. 

When we come to the end of this term of Parliament, in about November this year, I feel that will be the time for me to step away and spend my time pursuing other things. 

Until the November State election next year I will continue to strongly represent the Lara electorate and I will be working hard each day to ensure we continue to achieve great things for our community.

In the meantime, my office is still here to help. Many people do not know the assistance they can receive from their local State Member of Parliament’s office.

As your state representative, I’m here to assist you with any State Government matter including education, health, public housing, main roads and public transport to name a few.

Applications for commemorative letters such as 100th birthday and 60th wedding anniversary letters from the Queen, or 90th birthday and 50th wedding anniversary letters from the Prime Minister can also be requested from my office.

Family, learning and fun

Families in Corio and Norlane can access long-term help to prepare their children for starting school, and to develop their love and confidence in learning in their first year. 

HIPPY – Home Interaction Program for Parents and Youngsters – is a free, fun and flexible home-based learning program for parents and carers, who are guided to use playing with their child as a way of teaching them. Barwon Child, Youth & Family (BCYF) is the local provider of HIPPY in Geelong.

Families commit for two years, usually starting in the year before the child starts school. It continues during their first year at school, with activities that support what they are learning. HIPPY families receive free activity packs from five learning areas: Thinking and Exploring, Communication, Creativity, Social and Emotional, and Family and Community.

In the first year of HIPPY, the year before school begins, families learn skills to get their children ready for school. In the second year, parents learn more about supporting their children’s learning and development at school and at home. Families spend 10 to 15 minutes a day doing fun, educational activities with their children.

Each family is matched with a trained mentor who has already completed the program with their child. Mentors are also supported to work on their own professional goals throughout their two years in the role, as well as learning how to work in the Community Services sector.

HIPPY is run all over Australia and results show that children who have participated develop confidence, curiosity, a love of learning, persistence, determination, resilience and a belief in themselves. It is a program that fosters learning and positive relationships in the home that celebrate effort, persistence and connection.

A HIPPY parent recently shared: “HIPPY has opened my eyes to the possibilities to life, not only for my daughter’s but for myself as well. My two girls are more knowledgeable, capable and kinder people because I have been able to support them in the areas that truly matter. Patience. Persistence. Sharing and a love of learning.  They say HIPPY is a two-year program, but what I’ve learned will last me a life time and I can never thank HIPPY enough for that.” 

For more information, contact HIPPY Leader, Rob Evans on 0419-039-869 or via email: rob.evans@bcyf.org.au

Network of help to find work

Diversitat is providing extra help for people from culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) communities to find work as part of a Victorian network of Community Employment Connectors. Two Diversitat workers are covering the Barwon South West Region and are among 27 state-wide.

The Victorian Government invested $3.9 million to establish the network of Community Employment Connectors in local communities across the state. The program aims to support jobseekers, particularly in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.

The Community Employment Connectors provide individual support to help jobseekers navigate and connect with employment, education and training services. They support clients age 16 and over from CALD backgrounds who face barriers to employment and training pathways. The CECs are also helping adults from CALD backgrounds who face barriers to securing sustainable employment.

The program is in recognition that there could have been a number of challenges to full economic participation pre-covid, which have been compounded further by the effects of the pandemic. It focuses on delivering extra support and brokerage services that respond to the needs of CALD communities and young jobseekers.

If you or anyone you know could benefit from the services, email cec@diversitat.org.au.

CALD Community Connect project

Early last year, the Barwon Adolescent Taskforce (BATForce) approached the Department of Families, Fairness and Housing Community Partnerships team to see if it could support a project to increase employment outcomes, reduce social isolation and support connection to school for a group of CALD youth in 3214. This community-driven project supported young people attending Northern Bay College and their families.

Part of the project was a co-design piece where a small group of women from across community were trained to facilitate conversations in their communities to investigate any additional resources and information that may build the capacity of their communities. Topics such as health and nutrition have been discussed so far and the project looks forward to continuing these great conversations in the future. 

The COVID-19 pandemic continued to interrupt planned activities, however BATForce delivered two sessions within the school and continued to advocate for the young people and their families.  Connections were made with the Gordon TAFE and Deakin University to develop language courses and integrate work skills conversations; have students on placement at Northern Bay to assist with work readiness skills; and COVIDSafe catch ups were facilitated with community groups.  

The flexibility of this funding has been critical in enabling the project to continue to adapt to changes in rules and requirements associated with COVID. Face to face sessions became phone sessions became online meet ups with morning tea delivered.  Whilst the project has slowed down, the flexibility has enabled BATForce to continue working alongside the CALD community to develop opportunities that has set some wheels in motion that will provide ongoing support into 2022. If you would like to find out more, email admin@batforce.org.au

Vegan café in Corio

There’s a new vegan dining option in Corio, with Happily Ever Vegan operating at the rear of Corio Central Dental in Bacchus Marsh Road.

Owner James Blackman is an experienced chef whose diverse career includes fine dining restaurants and working as a private chef overseas, where he cooked for the ‘rich and famous’ including actor Will Smith and past US-presidents.

James said he had been operating his vegan café business from a food van for the past eight years, most recently in Torquay. He had been looking for a space in Geelong for “a couple of years” when the owner of the dental clinic offered space.

The business opened in early November offering fresh, wholesome food that can be eaten onsite or take away. There is also an option to buy take-home meals to re-heat. 

“Everything is organic, so the menu changes to feature what’s available at any time,” James said. “It includes salads, pasta, pies, soup and toasted sandwiches. I can also do catering and cakes.”

James said the new food option had been well-received. The dental clinic staff are customers and a growing number of local residents are also becoming regular diners.

Menus are promoted on the Happily Ever Vegan Facebook page and updated regularly. For orders or more information, phone 0487-001-434.

Happily Ever Vegan is at the rear of Corio Central Dental at 68 Bacchus Marsh Road, Corio and is open Monday to Friday from 10am until 4.30pm.