What's happening at Melbourne South ?
Costa, Garden Guru and the Melbourne Pollinators Corridor
The premise for Rotary Port Phillip to assist with a community Garden at Park Towers in South Melbourne was based on the positive impact it would have on the mental health of the residents who participated, and for all residents to be able to enjoy a tranquil and beautiful space. The residents want to be proud of where they live.
Rotary Port Phillip were approached by Star Health to be involved in the project. As often happens the idea expanded following a conversation with Environmental, Sustainability, Rotary Action Group (ESRAG) regarding the Melbourne Pollinator Corridor (MPC), a project started and developed by Emma Cutting. Emma is the founder of The Heart Gardening Project (THGP). Emmas work was featured on Gardening Australia with Costa personally interviewing her while walking around South Melbourne looking at the work that Emma and her volunteers have implemented so far. The benefits of including it at Park Towers needed to be explored.
Emma Cuttings suggestion is that indigenous gardens be planted involving the residents in the Towers Park reserve was embraced by the residents along with a community engagement day.
Its more than just planting a garden. It will encourage involvement of the Towers community and the local South Melbourne communities in a project of benefit to all South Melbourne residents. Emma spoke passionately about involving the local school children and the benefits to the mental health of the community involvement.
What is evident is that it combines benefits to the environment and benefits to the local community. It is very exciting!
RPP Saving Lives in Timor Leste
Vaccine Rollout in Balibo
Rotary Port Phillip is serving to make a difference in the Balibo region of Timor Leste by funding a COVID19 Vaccination Rollout Project.
Rollout of the vaccine in Timor Leste (TL), while supported by the Australian Government, has been slow with currently less than 20% of the population fully vaccinated. The vast majority of this work has been undertaken in the capital Dili with minimal progress in regional areas.
The adult population in the Balibo region is approximately 20,000 and enquires indicated that there is a high rate of COVID infections in the region reinforcing the need to take urgent action to administer the vaccine rollout.
In conjunction with representatives of Spend it Well, local National Government Organisation, Sabeh ( Saude Ba Ema Hotu - Health For All ) and the Australian Government representative in TL coordinating the Australian Government response, a project running over a two week period, to administer one dose of the vaccine to approximately 5,000 to 6,000 people.
Sabeh have been engaged to conduct this essential work and commenced operations on October 4, involving :-:  
  • Mobilising 30 Sabeh doctors, nurses and health professionals to run a two-week program (all have been fully vaccinated)  
  • The Sabeh personnel have split into two teams.  One team is providing a fixed vaccination clinic model in the main population centre of Balibo village.  The other team is operating a mobile vaccination program to service remote areas (where people are unable to travel to Balibo town or fixed clinics) 
  • Sabeh coordinated with the sub-district health director to organise cold chain temperature storage of the AZ vaccine made available by the Timor-Leste government, having originally been donated by the Australian Government.  
  • Sabeh personnel are being provided with accommodation, food and basic necessities for the two-week program. 
Dr Andre, Head of the Sabeh, reported that the medical treatment SABEH are doing alongside the vaccinations appears to be very important as well. Dr Andre said they’ve seen a lot of people living in pain rather than going to a health centre for treatment.  They’ve also highlighted the need for a school health program, having seen a lot of children suffering from malnutrition, tooth decay and vision problems.  They are connecting those with tooth issues to the dental clinic at the Balibo Community Learning Centre
The Gift Of Caring
Im Doug Hemingway, the retired Chair of Rotary Club Port Melbourne, which has amalgamated with Rotary Club South Melbourne, to become Rotary Club Port Phillip.
At our last meeting, Lucy Douglas, who has been an outstanding member of Rotary, proposed we do something about the growing suicide rate amongst locked down youths. My first thought was a donation to Beyond Blue or one of the larger corporations but we decided to go local and quickly.
Lucy got to work on the phone and found Kristy at the Crisis Centre in St Kilda. Kristy explained that they have several houses with teenage youths in lock down. Kristy told Lucy the easiest way to put a smile on their faces was through gift cards and the fact that a club such as Rotary wanted to reach out to let them know that we care.
Lucy reported to me, and I went to our board members and got permission to spend $2000. I then went to Coles and Australia Post and got $50 cards in Coles, Sports Girl, Amazon and JB HiFi for games, which are what they do in lock down.
The club meeting was Monday night and by Friday night there were lots of smiling faces, just where they were needed. Rotary makes change happen.