By Jessica Howard
Moorabool Shire Council has been recognised for improving the region’s health through not one, but two local programs.
ACTIV8 and the Darley Community Art Garden were the successful recipients of the Heart Foundation’s Local Government Awards, hosted by the Municipal Association of Victoria on October 19.
The Darley Community Art Garden is located in Holts Lane and was developed to provide a space for gardening and creative arts participants.
Moorabool Shire Council General Manager, Social and Organisational Development, Danny Colgan said the garden made fresh food more accessible to the community.
“Especially to those who need it most,” he said.
“We recognised in our health and well-being planning that there’s a lot of people in Moorabool that don’t have access to or don’t access fresh food, particularly vegetables. The garden has since allowed people to have better access to that.
“It also allows people to become engaged in the garden and other people, which relieves social isolation”.
Mr Colgan said the ACTIV8 program was developed as a result of discussions with 11 students from Year-8, who had identified a number of concerns around mental health issues and young people.
“ACTIV8 has been very successful to the point that local schools have embedded it into their curriculum,” he said.
“The program focuses on supporting young people that are at risk of leaving school early and allowing them to engage with our youth services, their school and the broader service sectors in order to help with any issues they may be facing and provide them with support and encouragement”.
The two awards mark the first time Council has been recognised by the Heart Foundation Local Government Awards. Mr Colgan said it was a significant achievement for Moorabool.
“Being the Victorian winner, it reflects well on the strategic work we have done and also the on-ground work in order to improve heart and wellbeing”.
Winners of the awards receive $2,000 in cash and a commemorative frame. Mr Colgan said Council is working to decide how to best spend the money in order to further advance works associated with reducing heart disease.
As the winner in Victoria, Moorabool Shire Council is now eligible to be selected as a national winner.