Rochester Mind ‘games’ approved

The two-hour luncheon, which was open to all, was served by Rochester Bakery (located next to the event venue).

Popular children’s entertainer Tim Tim, who was a huge hit at the citywide Christmas party, came along with a face painter to keep the youngsters entertained and Rochester musician Paul Colyvan provided live music.

Northern Victorian Mental Health and Wellbeing Hubs Services Manager Rebecca Matheson Omondi said the response from the community and those who provided services and entertainment was incredible.

“The lunch was intended to provide people who have been in isolation since October last year, following two years of COVID, to enjoy some social interaction and community activity where they could mingle with people from their own town,” said Ms. Matheson Omondi. .

Ms. Matheson Omondi has led a team of six, soon to double, to provide support to the communities of Rochester, Elmore and Echuca, engaging in the community through impromptu gatherings at cafes and other meeting points in the cities .

She said there was a consistent message from people about what services they wanted.

“There is concern that people feel disconnected. Our team doesn’t lecture people, it’s more about listening and directing them towards support options,” said Ms. Matheson Omondi.

She said the point of the lunch was to keep people together.

Mind Australia has been working in Rochester for three weeks, based out of the 4Rs Rochester Community House on Tuesdays and Thursdays.

The team went directly from their work during the pandemic to supporting communities affected by the Victorian floods.

“We started in December 2021 and were due to finish in June this year,” said Ms. Matheson Omondi.

“It really was designed for COVID, but there is a real need for our services in these communities. I am waiting for an extension of the funding to continue our work.”

Ms Matheson Omondi said staff have helped 140 people access a variety of assistance since they started working in the area.

“Our team is very aware of how to interact with people from small towns. They are people from the countryside and they all come from towns throughout the region,” he said.

She said the organization, among other services, had helped families who desperately needed a respite from “caravan life.”

“A family approached us saying they needed time away from their caravan and we were able to help,” he said.

Ms Matheson Omondi said the volunteer work of musician Paul Colyvan and children’s entertainer Tim Tim was typical of the community spirit in the town.

How much is that puppy? Miles and Lola Hutchinson with the poodle balloon creations by renowned children’s animator Tim Tim. The free lunch attached to the event drew a large crowd despite the hot weather that greeted participants at the Mind Australia-coordinated event.

“They have both given their time and Tim Tim even brought someone with him to do face painting,” he said.

Mind Australia is one of the largest providers of community-run psychosocial services in Australia.

Mind community mental health professionals will continue to work in Rochester every Tuesday and Thursday through informal meet and greet opportunities.

“Our staff will attend, and we look forward to learning more about the challenges facing the Rochester community,” said Ms. Matheson Omondi.

“Speaking face to face with people is the best way to understand what assistance is needed and how we can provide tangible guidance and support to the city as it works toward recovery.”

Ms. Matheson Omondi thanked Rochester Bakery for participating in the lunchtime event at Rotunda Park, along with community members who attended the community celebration.

If you would like to meet a representative from Mind, you can visit the 4Rs on any Tuesday or Thursday, or contact RCH Flood Recovery Coordinator Tanya McDermott to make an appointment on 0407 413 156 or email [email protected]

For more information on Mind Mental Health and Wellbeing Centres, visit the Mind Australia website,

Summer Fun: Face painting, music, bubble blowing and other craft activities were part of Mind Australia’s community luncheon together with Rochester Bakery last Thursday. Among the participants was six-year-old Azalea Solomano-Keyzer.

Bubble Burst: Nothing is surer to bring a smile to a child’s face than the giant bubbles blown by a slow-moving dress with a propeller hat on her head.

Serious business: Armed with green and gold balloon swords, Mace Nuttall has a serious look on his face as he enjoys children’s entertainment provided at the free luncheon, hosted by mental health and wellbeing organization Mind Australia.

Born n’ Bred: Musician Paul Colyvan donated his time to perform at the Rochester Rotunda for the Mind Australia Community Luncheon. The organizers were supported by entertainers and volunteers to coordinate the well-attended wellness event.

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