Graeme's Message, 11 December 2014

Dear Rotarians and Friends

One of the privileges of being President of the Rotary Club of Footscray is receiving invitations to events in the community. Recently I have attended the opening of FOODpath and VU Metro West.

FOODpath is a new program developed by Foodbank. This is a community garden program focusing on improving the wellbeing of the African Community, and the broader community of refugees and asylum seekers. 

The garden is situated in Pickett Street at the rear of the African Australian Community Centre. Victoria University is one of the partners in this project and VU researcher Dr Isabelle de Solier plans to conduct research on the impacts of the community garden on wellbeing and social connection of the participants. 

Foodbank, situated in Yarraville, is the largest food relief organisation in Victoria providing food relief to individuals and families experiencing hardship. In 2012-13 Foodbank distributed the equivalent of over 9.9 million meals across metro, regional and rural communities of Victoria. This year the Rotary Club of Footscray Community Service and House of Friendship Trust made a contribution to Foodbank’s Mobile Food Share Program providing hampers to unemployed and single parent households in the Braybrook area.

In 2012 Dr Rob Brown from VU spoke at our club about the university’s vision to establish Footscray as a “university town”. As you know VU has a large campus at each end of Nicholson Street in Footscray. Last week I attended the opening of Metro West in the heart of the shopping centre in Nicholson Street that is seen as a significant part of the development of the “vision”. 

The centre includes a bookshop, coffee shop, art gallery and meeting areas. Plans are to open an information centre for potential students and a Clinical Psychology service. Currently there is a display featuring the history of Footscray Technical School which opened in 1916. This is the first of a three part Centenary Exhibition and if you are interested in Footscray’s history call in and have a look. A number of events celebrating the institution’s centenary in 2016 are planned, including an art show. Our club has been invited to be a partner in that event and this week the Board met with Ros Casey to discuss this event.

Last Saturday, a great day was had at the Bike Shed. In partnership with ‘Shine For Kids’, a number of children were educated in bike safety and provided with a new bike and helmet. The children and their families were also well fed courtesy of the BBQ provided.