Volunteers playing an important role

Have you ever wondered about who is responsible what happens at our local Neighbourhood Houses? Volunteer community members play an important role as members of the Board or Committee of Management.

These are people with an interest or passion for their centre and a desire to contribute to their running. They are also community members who want to share their positive experiences with others.

Committee of Management or Board members set the direction of the organisation, then work closely with the centre staff to put their plans into action. Participation can be rewarding and enjoyable – it also provides good experience for other parts of life, such as work or other community service.

The current Norlane Community Centre board comprises Adam Fratantaro as the new Chair, Sandra Anderson (Secretary), Krystine Canny-Smith (Treasurer), Monique Hurley, Naomi Furlong, Stefan Manche and Bruce Warner.

Norlane co-coordinator Esther Konings-Oakes said there is room for more general members to come on board. “We are also looking for an experienced bookkeeper or accountant to take over from Krystine,” she said.

At Cloverdale Community Centre the committee of management has undergone quite a change in recent years.  Kellie Spark is in her first year as Chair and is supported by Steve Taylor (Deputy Chair), Mary Budd (Secretary), Peter Jewell (Treasurer), Dianne Johnston, Samuel Johnson, Matthew Pavelis and Helen Smith.

For more information about the Board and Committee of Management roles, call Cloverdale Community Centre, phone 5275-4415 or Norlane Community centre, phone 5275-8124.

Luke’s plan for helping others

Corio resident Luke Anderson is a young man on a mission to inspire people to set goals for themselves, and put in the hard work to achieve them.

Luke was part of the official proceedings at the opening of the renovated and extended Cloverdale Community Centre. The opening event also included a community barbecue, followed by a meeting of the City of Greater Geelong Council.

In the first of several public speaking engagements, Luke explained how he used time he spent in prison to set out a plan for future achievements. He also spoke about what community centres like Cloverdale mean to people who don’t have all the answers themselves when they want to make serious and lasting change.

“I haven’t always done the right thing in my life, but I want to use my mistakes for good in the future,” Luke said. “I want to use my experience to help others with motivation, overcoming barriers and achieving goals despite societal labels.”

Luke is a participant in the City of Greater Geelong leadership program. He is also working as an electrician in a business he co-owns, as well as working on another business plan that will supply approved apparel to Victorian prisoners.

“I really want to use my life experiences as a starting point for having a positive influence on others,” he said.

Peace of mind for isolated

Do you know someone who lives alone and feels isolated?  The Community Support Regster can help.

First established in 2006, the Community Support Register operates from the Corio Police Station and is staffed by a dedicated group of volunteers, supported by local donations and sponsorship.

The register collects health and other personal information to be accessed if the person cannot provide it themselves due to an accident, fall or illness.  Police, ambulance, hospital and fire services can quickly access the register, but only in an emergency.

Information may include:

  • Doctor/pharmacist details.
  • Medical history and details about any disabilities.
  • People to contact in an emergency.
  • Pets and who is to care for them.
  • How access can be gained to property in an emergency.

Participants can choose what information they wish to provide.  Regular phone calls can be arranged with the volunteers to people who are feeling isolated and would benefit from social contact.

The Community Support Register is open to people of all ages and abilities and is a free service – there is no cost to register.

To find out more contact: Geelong register, phone 5275-1607 or email info@geelongregister.org.au.

Save your bottle tops

The Lions Club of Corio Norlane is taking on another venture to help others.

Members are collecting plastic milk and soft drink bottle tops to give to a company called Envision, who are making colourful hands for children in third world countries. The hands are made with a 3D printer and are life-changing for children.

Residents can organise a collection, contact the club and they will collect from you.

Meanwhile, the club is continuing its many other activities, including:

  • Opportunity Shop.
  • Road Home Geelong project for homeless.
  • Bike maintenance project.
  • Bike Education trailer.
  • Computer donation project.
  • Peace Poster competition.
  • Collecting gate takings at North Shore Football Club.
  • Supervising car parking at the Royal Geelong Show.
  • Trivia Night in October supporting local charities.
  • Supporting Northern Christmas Carols.
  • Selling Christmas cakes.
  • Running barbecues.
  • Collecting unwanted eye glasses.
  • Collecting stamps.

Club members are continually striving to achieve more in their local community and if you have some spare time on your hands and wish to make a difference, contact Richard Walter on 0402-409-895 or coriolions@gmail.com.

Richard said anyone who has other ideas or suggestions to help the community but doesn’t know how to achieve them, can contact the club and it may be able to help.

“We are also looking for members with multicultural backgrounds who are interested in helping their own communities,” Richard said. “With this support we can make a difference.”

A place to buy, learn and meet

A new opportunity shop arrived in Norlane earlier this year, with Opportunity Rocks Op Shop opening at Dorothy Thompson Centre.

A project of Uniting, the op shop is open Monday to Thursday from 10am until 4pm under the guidance of Peter Wheeler and a small team of volunteers.

“Our volunteers are learning retail skills and to be more active in their community,” Peter said. “The shop is also a social outlet for our volunteers, and we always have room for more.”

The shop stocks a large range of clothing, toys, books and household goods and all proceeds go back into the local community.

There are plans to introduce other community activities at the site, including playgroup and yoga. For more information, call 0402-602-939, or drop in during opening hours.

Free legal advice

Canny Legal provides free general legal advice for 3214 residents, at Norlane Community Centre.

Residents can apply for help with legal matters including tenancy, wills, power of attorney and deceased estate advice. To apply for help, fill in an intake form at reception of Norlane Community Centre and you will be contacted for a session time.

Canny Legal’s aim is to provide some general advice on legal issues to help you manage the issue in the future. The program is limited and if your issue is unable to be resolved, you may be referred to another service that may be able to help. For more information and to apply for some help, call into Norlane Community Centre in Rose Avenue or call 5275-1824.

Fishing for new members

A new fishing club has formed in Corio, offering a family-friendly environment for all anglers.

Corio Bay Anglers Club meets fortnightly, on Wednesdays from 6pm-7pm, at Cloverdale Community Centre. The club already has 30 members involved in a variety of activities.

President Mick Conway said the club is for all-weather and all sorts of fishing and will host 12 to 14 fishing competitions each year. They also have plans to clean-up around the bay, including North Shore and St Helens beaches.

“Our members also share their knowledge, so it’s a good place for young anglers to come and get support and advice,” Mick said. “We encourage families to come along to our social events, which include our weigh-ins and barbecues at Moorpanyal Park.”

Mick said young anglers can learn from older members and can also access equipment for a day if they want to try fishing.

For more information, call 0421-739-618, email coriobayfishingclub@gmail.com or look for Corio Bay Fishing Club on Facebook.

Outdoors, discovery and learning

Boys and girls aged eight to 10 years are invited to join Cub Scouts, who meet at Norlane West Scout Hall in Dunloe Avenue every Monday afternoon.

Cub Scouts focuses on exploring the outdoors, discovery and learning interesting things. Members belong to a Pack and begin to learn leadership and teamwork in small teams called Sixes.

Cub Scouts go bushwalking, on bike trips and camps, and learn skills including how to use a compass. They also have the chance to try things like sailing, canoeing and abseiling. The natural environment is at the heart of Scouting and there are activities aimed at developing knowledge of caring for the environment.

Cub Scouts have a Leader to help along the way and encourage members to participate. They also help create a fun place to learn, belong and be adventurous.

By joining in different activities and learning new skills, Cub Scouts can earn special badges to sew on their Cub Scout shirt and camp blanket. There’s something for all interests.

Cub Scouts from the Norlane West Scout Group attended the ANZAC Day march and service at the Norlane RSL. Several Cubs were proud to wear their Great-Grandfathers’ war medals. The following week at the Scout hall, the Cubs planted poppy seeds and learnt about their significance. They also learnt about the components of the Australian flag.

Boys and girls interested in starting their Scouting adventure can enjoy a free three-week trial. The group meets at Norlane West Scout Hall, 84-86 Dunloe Avenue, Norlane on Monday from 4.30-6pm.

For more information, contact Kim phone 0425-783-995 or email gl.norlanewest@scoutsvictoria.com.au.

Students as community leaders

Year 6 students from Northern Bay College are stepping up to take on community leadership roles, as they tackle Victoria’s leading schools-based philanthropy initiative for children aged eight to 12.

Kids as Catalyst is run by Kids Thrive, a not-for-profit creative organisation for child voice, choice and agency. Students from the Wexford, Tallis, Hendy and Peacock campuses have identified a diverse range of issues and are actively working on projects related to cultural diversity, the environment, elders, animals, gender and all abilities.

Andrea Rieniets, Co-Creative Director and Lead Artist, Kids Thrive said: “Kids as Catalyst is a two-phase, 16-week social action program. Students identify issues in the Geelong community that matter to them and partner with relevant community groups to develop solutions and take action.”

 196 students from a broad range of cultural backgrounds and abilities are taking part. 

 “We also have 20 year 7 students who participated in this program in the past and have returned as mentors for the younger students,” Andrea said. “They’ve been incredible in their support and continue to put into practice the program values, such as gratitude, kindness, giving and volunteering.”

This is the second year Kids as Catalyst program is being delivered at the College. It is aligned with the Victorian Curriculum through Social Emotional Learning (SEL), Civics and Citizenship, Literacy, Numeracy, Economics and Critical Thinking. In 2017 the program received the VicHealth Improving Mental Wellbeing Award. 

For more information contact Angela Thiel-Paul – angela@kidsthrive.org.au.

Major stage role for Ben

Aspiring young actor Ben Oakes has taken the greatest leap of his short career in a role he hopes will lead to bigger and better future opportunities.

Ben recently completed his debut season at Melbourne’s Malthouse Theatre in its production of Cloudstreet, which is based on the novel by Australian writer Tim Winton. He played the role of Fish, the disabled son of the Lamb family.

Ben, who has Autism Spectrum Disorder, was cast after a nation-wide search for an actor with a disability to play the role. It follows his earlier work with Geelong’s Back to Back Theatre.

Ben appeared in the production alongside well-known actors including Guy Simon, Natasha Herbert Greg Stone, Alison Whyte and Geelong’s Bert LaBonté. He said it was “an amazing experience”.

“Everyone has been so nice,” Ben said. “I’ve enjoyed it immensely.”

Ben will travel with the production to Perth in 2020 and hopes to secure an agent to help him find other acting work. He is well known at Cloverdale, Rosewall and Norlane community centres where he has been a volunteer in various programs and at events.