‘Lift the Lid’ on Mental Illness – Rotary Hat Day 2016

(Extracts taken from the Bulletin dated 19 October 2016)

Thank you to those members, partners and friends who attended this week’s combined Rotary meeting, where we enjoyed the opportunity of meeting members of all four cluster clubs, being Laverton Point Cook, Werribee and Wyndham. Particularly pleasing was the large turnout of members from Hoppers, which continues our recent trend of very high meeting attendances. Well done everyone!


June, Frances and Louise enjoying the festivities


Irene and President Des enjoying the night – that Little Pink Hat is supposed to be on your head Des

We must thank President Sue Selleck and her fellow members from Wyndham Club who hosted the evening. This was a great opportunity for lifting the profile on our fundraising efforts for the “Lift the Lid on Mental Illness” campaign and also to meet some of the members from other clubs with whom we will be working shortly on our joint cluster Public Awareness/Rotary Showcase at selected locations. This combined fundraiser, supported by all four cluster clubs on Wednesday, is a prime example of the type of Fundraising which can be done whilst enjoying fun evening- Well done Wyndham!
We were also pleased to welcome our AG Nicole who was given the arduous task of judging the “craziest hat” competition. Whilst her selections were excellent, it could be argued that she “missed the mark” by overlooking the extraordinary creation of Louise’s elephant hat which was outrageous – bad luck Louise!

(Written by President Des)



Antionette (far right) rewarded for her commitment and community spirit being honour with a Paul Harris recognition.

Steve Payne was the MC for the evening and did a fabulous job in this role. He introduced President Sue Selleck from the Rotary Club of Wyndham to make the first presentation of the evening. Antoinette Spiteri from Bunnings Hoppers Crossing and her husband were invited along not knowing what to expect. President Sue totally surprised Antoinette by naming her a Paul Harris Fellow for all of her dedicated work at Bunnings working with the volunteers who gain valuable fundraising dollars for their organisations through sausage sizzles. Antoinette is only the second non-Rotarian to receive this recognition in the Club’s history, the last one being presented in 2002. Very well deserved Antoinette – congratulations!


James Smith from Victorian Maori Wardens

The second presenter of the evening was James Smith from the Victorian Maori Wardens, a group of volunteers who for the past four years have patrolled trains, buses, shopping centres and other locations and have been a sounding board and confidantes for sometimes troubled young people of Islander background. Their work has been recognised by Victoria police who have embraced the good work this group is doing, without any external funding. President Sue Selleck presented James with a donation from RC Wyndham. They would love to have their own van so perhaps this funding will be put towards that project.

Finally it was hats on and hats off to PDG Murray Verso who “lifted the lid off mental illness” with a presentation on the outstanding work of Australian Rotary Health (ARH), 35 years in existence and one of the largest independent funders of mental health in Victoria.


PDG Murray Verso

Rotarian, Ian Scott of RC Mornington in 1981, founded ARH. The first funding support was raised for Sudden Infant Death Syndrome. The incidence of SIDS death rate has dropped from 140 babies per annum to 70 babies.

The incidence of mental illness is very common and also very disabling. ARH fill the gap in research funding. Two examples of major ARH funded projects are:

  • Screening test for ovarian cancer 2006-2008 with Associate Professor Gregory Rice
  • Organ transplants 2004-2006 with Associate Professor Gregory Snell

Since 2000 ARH has funded $3.4 million of work in the area of mental health including grants and fellowships. Significant evidence of ARH support have been:

  • Media reporting of suicide
  • Proving an association between diet and depression
  • RC Carlton members Betty Kitchener and Associate Professor Anthony Jorm have developed guidelines for first aid for mental health problems that are widely used both in Australia and overseas.

The Cluster’s “Lift the Lid on Mental Illness” raffle raised $446.95 and a number of our members went home with goodies, including Norm who actually won 3 prizes!! Hoppers Rotarian Shaz bid in the silent auction and her son, Jake, is to be the happy recipient of a framed 2016 Geelong Football Club Team photograph. The evening’s fundraising is the richer by $130 – thank you Shaz!

(Written by Secretary Linda)


Special thanks to our resident Photographer, Frances for these great happy snaps from the night. image12 image11 image10 image8 image7 image6 image3




Werribee Support and Housing CEO Carol Muir Talks About Issues Affecting Wyndham

Our club was pleased to welcome Carol Muir the CEO of Uniting Care Werribee


CEO Carol Muir from Uniting care Werribee Support and Housing was guest speaker on Wednesday 12 October 2016

Support and Housing to our meeting on Wednesday 12 October 2016. Carol shared with us a snapshot of all the work her organisation does. The success and ability to support so many people of Wyndham is owed to the amazing support and dedication of its volunteers and the generous residents of Wyndham.
Below is an outline of the information Carol shared with us.

Uniting Care Werribee Support & Housing has been advocating to state and federal governments, for homelessness resources – both infrastructure and human resources – for the past 16 years, with limited to no success. Wyndham has a longstanding partnership within a consortium of housing and homelessness agencies in the local area – the partnership is called H3 Wyndham. Through this partnership, Wyndham has advocated for the establishment of a housing and support hub for the past six years. Some growth corridors have received an injection of homelessness funding and services, but Wyndham always seems to miss out.

There is strong evidence to suggest that a coordinated approach for the delivery of human services is much more effective than discreet specialist services, particularly for people who are experiencing high levels of vulnerability. Put simply, it is better for everyone involved if we can avoid crisis.

The Wyndham Integrated Service Hub aims to break this cycle through the provision of a complementary preventative and early intervention response, alongside provision of emergency accommodation and support. H3 Wyndham submitted, in December 2015, a proposal for the establishment of the H3 Wyndham Integrated Services Hub for consideration for the Victorian Government’s 2016/17 budget. The business case was developed following meetings with Minister Foley and the then-Director of Housing. H3 Wyndham has received a response to this indicating the proposal has not been seen to be a State Government priority at this stage.

A recent article in the Herald Sun noted that many people sleeping rough in the Melbourne CBD come from the outer suburbs. It is understood that this is a result of a lack of resourcing in our local area. Even though Wyndham is the size of Geelong (and will soon grow to the size of Canberra), many services are out of reach from inner-metropolitan areas.

On 11 August, Wyndham and homeless clients of UCWS&H featured on the ABC’s national program, Late Line. Currently, the homelessness service system in Wyndham is very much geared towards the provision of emergency and/or tertiary support. This means that even if an individual is fortunate enough to receive emergency housing support, they are unlikely to be assisted to address any of their underlying issues or barriers such as unemployment, family breakdown or poor mental health. As a result, it is not uncommon for such individuals to enter a long term cycle of homelessness, ensuing in significant personal, social and economic costs. Residents are required to leave Wyndham to access crisis housing – Geelong or St. Kilda.

Importantly, Wyndham has had a huge increase in rough sleepers over the last six months. In the past 3 months, there have been 9 separate occurrences of individuals and couples sleeping in their cars in the rear car park at UCWS&H including 4 single adults sleeping is swags under our verandas for protection from the elements. Similar stories have been reported from other local support agencies, the local football club and Werribee Equestrian Centre, and Wyndham Council’s local laws team say they’ve never seen this number of people sleeping rough previously. As one of Australia’s fastest growing municipalities, these issues should be considered to be escalating in nature.


Carol sitting with Rotarian Nik discussing the issue of lack of housing in the Wyndham area.

Some other key points to take note of:
• Homelessness services have recorded a doubling of demand from Wyndham residents in the past three years, now a much more significant proportion of total demand regionally.
• Quadrupling of homelessness numbers from last two Censuses. At the last count, more than 400 people are homeless in Wyndham on any night – but we know this number has multiplied.
• Wyndham has by far the highest number of forced rental evictions in the state – VCAT data is available.
• Wyndham has 2 of the top 8 postcodes for ‘Mortgage delinquency’ in Victoria.
• Wyndham has one of the highest numbers of family violence incidents in the state, the primary cause of homelessness in Australia.
• Wyndham has areas of concentrated disadvantage at lowest decile in the SEIFA index (i.e. most disadvantaged in Australia). The choice for Wyndham families between paying for rent, food or bills is demonstrated in our municipality having the highest energy disconnections in the state. Despite Federal government funding cuts for Emergency Relief, UCWS&H has noted an increase in requests for food support over the past 12 months. Client data indicates an increase in those experiencing redundancies, and an even greater casualisation of the work force, with many clients unable to secure enough hours of paid employment.
• There are no local accommodation options or programs within Wyndham for young people.
• Young people exiting the care of DHHS when orders are terminated on their 18th birthday. Most young people are not asked to leave their home by their (foster care) parents they turn 18. This has the flow on effect that less space is available to take on more children in need of fostering.

We thank Carol for coming to our meeting and sharing this valuable insight into issues that are not highly publicised and hope that through of Community Committee we can work with Carol and her team and find ways that we can support the organisation now and into the future.

Committee Meeting Night

des-happy-bulldogs-supporterThis week we had no guest speakers as it was Committee Night. This means it is a night where each working group within the club meets and discussed projects our committees are working on.

We had a very jubilant President Des as his footy team won the grand final. Well done Des and any other member who barracks for the Western Bulldogs!


SAA Sharon, President Des and Secretary Linda

Des was also very happy to have secretary Linda back. You don’t realise how much admin work is involved in any job until the person responsible is missing.

Sergeant at Arms has also changed for October seeing Sharon take on the role for the first time and I get the feeling the meetings will be kept in line with her in charge of the golden donger!

For more information about Wednesday’s meeting, check out the weekly Bulletin which can be found under the ‘About Us –> Club Bulletins’ tab above.

Altair Fine Art Gallery

Altair Fine Art Gallery is a continuation of the aboriginal family owned business ‘Koorie Connections Altair’ established in 1994 by owners Julie and Les Peers. Son, Daniel, is now continuing the family business at the Wyndham Harbour. Altair is an indigenous owned art gallery working on fair trade basis, supporting aboriginal artist and their communities. They say they are lucky enough to showcase some of Australia’s most highly acclaimed artists including Kevin Williams, Gloria Petarre, Jeannie Petarre, Betty Mbitjana, and Ronnie Tjampitjinpa.


Daniel talks about the Artists and their work that is on display at Altair Fie Art Gallery

Daniel hosted our club members, family and friends visit on Wednesday 28 September 2016. The art was sensational and well worth the visit. I would recommend anybody to visit and support the amazing artists on display at the gallery. Even if you are not a fine art lover, you will love checking out their collection on display.

The gallery is located at:
T3 Quay Boulevard
Wyndham Harbour
Werribee South 3030


Rotary members, family and friends enjoying Daniel’s presentation

Call them on 0432 036 166
Email them on altair.fine.art.au@gmail.com

Visit their website at Altair Fine Art Gallery Website

Go and like their page Altair Fine Art Facebook Page


Club members family and friend perusing the magnificent collection of fine art on display.


New members, Mary and Greg Inducted


(L-R) Frances (Mary’s mentor), AG Nicole, Mary, Greg Khurram (Greg’s committee chair) and President Des

We are delighted to officially welcome Mary and Greg to our Club. Mary and Greg have been attending meetings for some time now and have already made great contributions to their committees and helping out in community events. Greg will be officially joining our New Generations/Vocations Committee and Mary the International Committee.

Our assistant Governor, Nicole Lake, made an unofficial visit to the club and was warmly welcomed by members and guests. Nicole was asked to help out with the induction of the new members and had to honour of presenting Mary and Greg with their member badges, following by their respective chairs presenting them with their avenue of service badge.


Assistant Governor Nicole presents Maru and Greg with the member’s badge

Thank you for committing to the ideals of Rotary and we look forward to your continued contributions to the club and ‘Service Above Self’.

Our Club is always looking for new members. If you are interested in coming along to a meeting as a visitor and see what a friendly and passionate club we are, please come along to one of our meetings on Wednesdays at Di Caprio Family Restaurant (88 Derrimut Road, Hoppers Crossing). Meetings officially begin at 7pm but members begin to arrive from 6:30pm. You are also welcome to give our current club President, Des a call on 0401 287 050, or leave a message at the bottom of this page and we will get back to you as soon as possible. Occasionally we do have meetings at alternative locations so pleas check the calendar on our home page to ensure we will be there when you are planning to visit. Go to: www.hopperscrossingrotary.org.au


Now official Rotary members, Mary and Greg – welcome to our club


Interact Year 6 Essay Competition Winner Awarded


President Des poses for a photo with Jochebed (winner of the competition), Kristos (Interact School Group Leader) and Aleesha (Interact Public Relations and Communications Officer)

We were delighted to host the presentation of the Interact Year 6 Easy Competition winner. The Interact Club of Baden Powell School Group Leader, Kristos Kastis (whose group ran the competition) and Aleesha Van Den Heuval (Interact Public Relations and Communications Officer), introduced the winner of this year’s competition, Jochebed Citr. After being introduced, Jochebed read out her winning essay which addressed this year’s topic of ‘What Wyndham Council can do for our Youth;. Jochebed was shortlisted by the school group to one of five possible winners and then Rotarians Col (Interact Liaison Officer), President Des, and IPP Alan decided on the winning entry.

Jochebed was very confident in reading out her winning essay to everybody present and some of the highlights that she believed Wyndham Council could improve for our youth included:
• Safety at AquaPulse carrying floats up staircases having an alternative way of getting floats up to top of slides.
• Sound proofing at the new ‘Pacific Werribee Library’ as it is very noisy and hard for students to study there.

Well done Jochebed on your achievement and to the Interact Club for running a well supported Essay Competition by other local school. We look forward to being involved in this competition again next year.

Inaugural Neil Vick Youth Leadership Award


Olivia Vick (left) presenting Tiffany Wasnig with the ‘Neil Vick Youth Leadership Award’

Neil Vick Youth Leadership Award Winner Honoured
The Youth Leadership Award was renamed this year to honour Neil Vick. Neil Vick was a true leader for our club; he was the very first president and a charter member of the club. Neil was approached while being a member of the Newport Rotary Club to lead our club due to his experience in Rotary. Tonight we were honoured to have Olivia Vick (wife of the late Neil Vick), their daughter Lauren and son Geoffrey in attendance to present the award. Unfortunately, daughter Catherine was unable to attend the night to help present the ‘Inaugural Neil Vick Leadership Award’.

This Award is given to a young person in the Wyndham area who has shown exceptional leadership and ‘Service Above Self’ to the community. This year’s Award was present to Tiffany Wasnig from Heathdale Christian College.

Tiffany received along with her certificate presented by Olivia Vick (and her family) a prize of $300. Being very community minded and dedicated to helping and improving the lives of others, Tiffany donated her prize to the Benjamin’s Best Friend Campaign.

Benjamin’s Best Friend is for 7-year old Benjamin, diagnosed at the age of 3 with Autism. Benjamin has many complications as a result of his condition, including managing everyday needs and activities. Benjamin needed an assistance dog from Dogs for Kids with Disabilities. Families receiving assistance dogs through DKD are asked to raise $25,000 towards the $40,000 it costs to raise and train these specialist dogs.


Tiffany Wasnig with President Des

Tiffany is receiving the Award gave a heartfelt (and emotional) thank you speech and here is a bit of a summary of what she had to say.

“Awards are what this is about. I am about improving the community for our young people. I want to thank Sue Selleck for her support and mentoring and for nominating me for this award. Sue has help me be able to set goals… I have been offered a place in the RMIT Aspire program and plan on studying Occupational Therapy… I want to be able to help other children like myself who needed to use the occupational therapy services from the Royal Children’s Hospital throughout my childhood…. I have had two brain surgeries this year (Tiffany is completing year 12)…laying in bed recovering and feeling sorry for myself some days I realised that there are people worse off than me and it has given me the passion to wan to help others less fortunate than me”.

Tiffany’s future ambitions include: completing her Master in Occupational Therapy; working in the biggest hospitals working with patients in the areas of Neurology and Oncology; and, working in developing countries.

In concluding Tiffany talked about her drive to continue to serve the people around her locally and internationally. Tiffany stated that this award is for the Wyndham community, Hoppers Crossing Rotary and above all her parents, Chris and Julie. Tiffany honoured her parents saying that they were her teachers, her supporters and most of all her rock. “Everything I do is to honour you – thank you” Tiffany said to her parents.

Tiffany finished her speech with a beautiful message, which in summary, said one small gesture can change lives and there are always people worse off than ourselves.

Congratulations to Tiffany on winning this award. By listening to Tiffany and the achievements she has accomplished, it is clear to see that she was a very deserving winner of this prestigious award.


President Des, Lauren (Neil’s daughter), Geoffrey (Neil’s son), Tiffany Wasnig (Award winner) , Olivia Vick (wife of late PP Neil Vick), Sue Selleck (mentor and nominator of Tiffany), Tiffany’s parents – Julie and Chriss Wasnig, and, New Generations Chair – Khurram.

Happy 37th Birthday Rotary Club of Hoppers Crossing


Ana and her masterpiece – our 37th Birthday cake

On 19th of September 2016 our club turned 37. We celebrated our birthday on the 21st at our club meeting which was a Family and Friends night with the theme of New Generations (as you can tell by the other post relating to the same night).


Olivia ready to cut the cake

Thank you to Anna Makin for making our club’s birthday cake again this year. The fruitcake was enjoyed by many present. It was great to Olivia Vick present who cut the cake for us tonight. She looks a little too happy with that big cake knife.

We were also provided with a presentation from Charter Member Nik Tsardakis about our club’s history. An appropriate night to be sharing the story of the club initial formation and a lot about what happened in the first five years of the club existence.

Nik, Max and Trevor are the only charter members of the club. Trevor has served at the club for the whole 37 years while Nik and Max have been Rotarians the entire time but have also served at different clubs due to life circumstances.


Thanks Nik for a great presentation

Nik gave a summary of the activities, projects and fundraisers that were conducted in the first five years of the club and it was interesting to see what was done and the type of financial achievements made during this period. Thanks Nik was a great overview.

WynBay Blue Light Discos


Sergeant Penni Rendan and Volunteer Greg from WynBay Blue Light Disco Committee

Sergeant Penni Renden (active member of Victoria Police and President of WynBay Blue Light Disco Committee) and Greg Leaman (Volunteer and Committee member of WynBay Blue Light Disco) attend the club tonight to talk about the WynBay Blue Light Disco and how it works to develop young leaders in the Wyndham and Hobsons Bay communities.

WynBay Blue Light Discos (formerly Altona North Blue Light Disco) is located in Point Cook and held on a monthly basis on a Friday night from 6pm to 9:30pm. Cost of entry is $8 for primary age school children.

The memories of Blue Light Discos meant different things to different members: volunteering as Apexians in the 1980’s, attending the discos as kids at the then Centennial Hall (now Wyndham Cultural centre). The memories are happy ones for everyone and the tradition still continues to this day.

The discos have different themes each month such as footy fever, superheroes, Halloween, etc. and approximately 160 – 180 kids attend each one. For safety the kids are dropped off by adults and not allowed to exit the venue until someone comes inside to collect them. It is a very safe environment with volunteers from the community and the Victoria Police assisting at each event.

Funding is very limited and rely on the generosity of local business such as The Good Guys in Hoppers Crossing who donate the door prize each month, vouchers to be given away from the Pancake Parlour at Pacific Werribee, Di Caprios Family Restaurant in Hoppers Crossing, just to name a few.

The $8 entry fee has to cover the insurance for each child, which costs $2 per person, the cost of hiring the DJ and the venue hire costs charge by council. They also have a slushy machine for the kids which basically pays for itself from the sales and a canteen which sell discounted items but still a minor profit is made to help cover costs.

When students arrive at the disco, they are asked what school they attend so that the committee can make sure the school’s who are supporting the events the most, are approached about the Leadership Camps.

The committee of WynBay are very focussed on developing future leaders in the community and have been holding leadership camps on an annual basis as a follow on from the discos. All money raised is invested into the Leadership Camps, which are held down in Angelsea. The cost of running the camp is approximately $6,000 – $7,000. All adults attending volunteer their time.

Roughly 50 students are sent to the Leadership camp, which is completely free of charge to the students. Primary Schools in the area are contact at the beginning of the year to help identify appropriate students to attend the camp. The committee gives some guidance as to how to select appropriate children including identifying students who are the quite achieved and rarely get recognised compared to the more animated students who seek constant attention. Also priority is given to the more underprivileged kids whose parents would not be able to financially support their child attending such an event.

The camp is held over a weekend. Victoria Police donates their Coach to transport the kids to their camp. The kids are picked up from their school Friday night and returned to their school on the Sunday afternoon. Activities that they get to do are sports, orienteering, confidence building activities, etc. There are four teams set up at the camp and challenges are set for teams to win points. Prizes are given out for all types of reasons on the final day.

From the outcome of the camp, the WynBay Blue Light Disco Committee identifies and approaches kids to join their junior committee. The junior committee then assists at future discos and also acts as team leaders at future camps.

Police used to be given time in lieu for attending the events however due to budget restraints this had to stop. The active police who volunteer at the discos continued to do so as they found it quite rewarding and don’t mind donating their time to the local youth.


Sergeant Penni and the Little Pink Hat – See our Bulletins to understand what the Little Pink Hat stands for.

Feedback received on their Facebook page was from secondary school students complaining that they were unable to attend so the committee attempted three secondary school discos and they were poorly attended so this had to stop as they were making a loss from these events which they could not afford to do.

One of the other great outcomes from these discos is the relationship developed with parents and local police. Parents will approach them for advice and guidance regarding their child. Relationships and a sense of trust is also developed with the police offices and the kids attending. They get to see that police offices can have fun and are approachable and that if they ever needed help they can approach a police office without fear of intimidation.

Youth Committee Deputy Chair Alan expressed the club’s gratitude for the presentation and suggested that our club now had “food for thought” and would consider how we may be able to support the group in the future.

Cost of running discos is quite high and financial support is invited, not only to offset operating expenses of each disco, but also to support the year end camps for disadvantaged children, as any profits from running Blue Light discos is used for this purpose.

You are able to donate through their Facebook page.

Please go and check out their Facebook page and ‘Like’ them. It can be found at: WynBay Blue Light Disco.

Thanks to Penni and Greg for a very informative presentation.

Women of Wyndham Project Presentation

wowMonica Raizada, from Women of Wyndham (WOW), attended our club on Wednesday 7th September, to talk about the upcoming project and how our club may be able to assist them in the project.

WOW’s project is to establish the Ms and Mrs Wyndham Pageant Show, which will feature recognition of women, men and organisations engaged in Family Violence programs.

This is intended to be a major community event with over 500 guests attending this event at Encore Events Centre. Our club has been invited to assist WOW in any way we deem appropriate to our size and after considering any negative impact on our current projects.

Profits from the project will be used towards provision of a Women’s Refuge for women suffering domestic violence in Wyndham, something that is sadly lacking in our local community at present.

The club will consider our options on a project that would involve our full club membership, considering the current workload we already have.

Check out WOW on Facebook: Women of Wyndham Facebook Page