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Collaboration for a healthy community.

It’s amazing what one community can do when it puts its mind to it.

Making health and wellbeing a key priority has been the goal for the Time for Wellbeing program in the Roxby Downs region of South Australia.

“Both BHP and the community realised that there was a need for action regarding mental and physical health improvement in Roxby,” according to Sally Modystach, Director, Healthy Environs and Time for Wellbeing Project Manager.

Time for Wellbeing recognises the challenges of living and working remotely and aims to deliver community-wide health outcomes for Roxby Downs and nearby towns. The partnership, established with Healthy Environs, focusses on three priority pillars: Healthy Childhood Development, Mental Wellbeing and Physical Health.

“The thing I am most proud of is that the community has ownership over this and it is not something that somebody from out of town runs,” Sally said.

“People are now talking about health and wellbeing in town and we have had almost seventeen hundred visits to the Roxby Downs Community Hub, which houses three local BHP community partnerships, in just the last twelve months.”

The Hub acts as an information and drop-in centre where people can talk to local program coordinators, get advice and direction on where to go for support services or even how to stage activities, or start health or wellbeing groups.

Sally said that supporting healthy childhood development was the first of three target areas the community identified for Time for Wellbeing to focus on.

“The first was early childhood development and this had led to the establishment of a kitchen garden program involving 300 kids at multiple early childhood centres in the town.” The program is run through the Stephanie Alexander Foundation and teaches youngsters about growing, harvesting, preparing and sharing food.

The second was a focus on physical and mental health where a number of initiatives have also been launched. One example is the ‘Rural Minds for Resourceful Communities’ program that has seen 18 volunteers trained in mental health awareness.

The last focus area is chronic health risk factors such as smoking, alcohol consumption, poor diet and lack of exercise. These are being targeted with the establishment of specific programs including an Alcoholics Anonymous support group and a workplace toolbox series to educate staff on priority physical and mental health topics.

“The town realised that to have an impact on the entire community, you can’t have any one organisation do the heavy lifting, so Time for Wellbeing uses a collaborative approach where it invites local groups, workplaces and schools to be partners in the program,” she said.

Under the Local Partner Scheme, guidance, structure and where necessary, funding, can be provided to help people get initiatives off the ground to get people into healthier lifestyles.

“Both BHP and the community realised that there was a need for action by the community for the community, regarding physical and mental health for all ages,” she said.

“It is also important for the town to support a sustainable workforce and to do that you have to have a healthy community.”

“Roxby has a great community atmosphere that gives the whole program a unique positive vibe and that is because it is really all about people helping people.”