Annual General Meeting 2018

LGBTIQ+ Two Day Symposium in Daylesford

Are you part of the LGBTIQ+ community?  Join us for ‘The Power of Your Rainbow Community’.

WayOut is extremely excited to be hosting an LGBTIQ+ two day Symposium on Thursday 1 and Friday 2 November in Daylesford at the Victoria Park Pavilion.

We are thrilled to have Dolly Diamond hosting the event and providing a show on the last afternoon.

This free event is focused on connecting older LGBTIQ+ community members across Central Victoria. A number of different workshops will be on offer to encourage the creation of building and sharing networks, groups, pathways and information.

Tickets are available at

For more information contact Cobaw on 1300 0 26229 or email

Workshop Opportunity for Lancefield Parents with Children 2 – 12yrs

Cobaw Community Health is offering a series of workshops for parents on managing challenging behaviours and/or emotions and we want you to help us decide what topics to cover, and how to deliver it to you. Some delivery options might include group programs, scheduled workshop topics, one on one consultations or online learning with support.

If you’re interested in being involved we would love to hear from you!  For further information you can download the poster here or contact Deanne Brogan, Child and Parenting Project Facilitator on 1300 0 26229 or email


LGBTI+ Priorities for Victorian State Election

Cobaw is proud to be one of 30 LGBTI+ community organisations and service provider signatories endorsing a new booklet ahead of the upcoming Victorian state election.
The LGBTI+ Priorities booklet makes 59 recommendations for how the Victorian Government can make Victoria a fair and equal place for LGBTI+ people to live, work and raise their families. The booklet outlines LGBTI+ priorities in areas such as homelessness, family violence, education, discrimination, and ways of supporting Victorians from the bisexual, intersex, and trans and gender diverse communities. This publication will help set the agenda for the next four years to enable Victoria’s LGBTI+ communities to work constructively with the government to protect and promote the health and human rights of all LGBTI+ people.

Macedon Ranges Running Club New Kyneton Group

Supporting children’s smiles in the Macedon Ranges

Cobaw Community Health (Cobaw) is currently supporting early childhood settings in the Macedon Ranges through the implementation of Dental Health Services Victoria’s Smiles 4 Miles oral health promotion program.

The program aims to improve the oral health of preschool aged children and their families by encouraging healthy eating, healthy drinking and good oral hygiene. Services achieve the Smiles 4 Miles award by implementing healthy eating and oral health policies, engaging with families about the importance of oral health, and educating children through a variety of fun learning experiences based on the three Smiles 4 Miles messages – Drink well, eat well and clean well.

To further support oral health, the State government has announced a fluoride varnish project to be delivered in the Macedon Ranges. Statistics demonstrate that children living in non-fluoridated rural areas continue to experience higher rates of hospital admissions for tooth decay. The main oral health condition experienced by children is tooth decay, affecting over half of all Australian children, making it five times more prevalent than asthma. For non-fluoridated towns across the Macedon Ranges Shire, fluoride varnish applied twice a year can be highly effective in stopping tooth decay in its early stages among high risk children with the aim of preventing oral disease in the future.

There are four early childhood services in the Macedon Ranges participating in the fluoride varnish project. With parental consent, a dental practitioner from Sunbury Community Health will visit the service to provide a free dental check-up, application of fluoride, and discuss developing good dental habits with the children.

“If your service is interested in supporting and improving the health of local children, we encourage you to get in touch. Cobaw Community Health supports early childhood settings through both the Smiles 4 Miles program and the Achievement Program, an internationally recognised program that supports health and wellbeing in education and workplace settings,” said Julie Cairns, Cobaw Acting CEO.

For further information contact Bec Huddy, Health Promotion Coordinator 1300 026 229 or

Seeking your feedback

Each year we invite our clients and their carers, partner agencies, staff and community members to provide feedback on our annual report. We’re starting to plan the report for 2017-18 and are seeking feedback which will directly contribute towards the report’s design and content.

You can download a PDF copy of the report here:

To complete the feedback survey visit:

Pop-up Soup Kitchen for Homelessness Week

Cobaw Community Health (Cobaw) is hosting a pop-up soup kitchen at the Lions Club kiosk (Mollison St, Kyneton) on Tuesday 7 August from 12-1pm to raise awareness and understanding of homelessness in the Macedon Ranges.

Homelessness Week (6-12 Aug) is an annual event week coordinated by Homelessness Australia which is aims to raise awareness of people experiencing homelessness, the issues they face and the action needed to achieve long-term sustainable solutions. The theme this year is “Ending homelessness together”.

Research indicates that the main causes of homelessness are poverty, unaffordable rent costs and family violence. On any given night in Australia, 1 in 200 people are homeless and currently in Australia, 189,000 people are on social housing waitlists. Additionally, two in every five people experiencing homelessness are under the age of 25. Housing is a critical need for an increasing number of Victorians including a significant number in our region. Locally there are a limited number of affordable housing options for individuals and families on low incomes, single adults and young people. This is further strained by the increasing cost and limited availability of rental properties in the area.

The growing homelessness issue in the Macedon Ranges and increased demand for affordable housing is evidenced by the number of referrals Cobaw receives on a weekly basis. Over the past two years, Cobaw’s Housing Support team has received over 500 referrals, with approximately 25 per cent of referrals being for young people aged between 16 to 25 years and the majority of them for young men.

“We hope that hosting a soup kitchen during Homelessness Week helps raise awareness for homelessness and its associated challenges in our shire,” said Margaret McDonald, Cobaw CEO. “Most people would be surprised to hear that the 2016 Census found that there were 116,000 Australians experiencing homelessness on Census night. We encourage everyone to come along to our soup kitchen, not only to learn about homelessness in the Macedon Ranges, but to also enjoy a hot cup of soup.”

For further information, please contact Alex Prado, Housing Support Coordinator 1300 026 229 or

We’re open in Romsey!

Staff standing outside Romsey building

We’ve officially opened in Romsey! Our new office is at the restored and extended old Romsey Primary School. Stop in and visit us at 142 Main Street (entrance from Palmer Street) or call 1300 026 229 or email us at to ask about accessing services in Romsey.

Cobaw leads the way for staff health and wellbeing

Over the past few years, Cobaw Community Health (Cobaw) has been working through the Department of Health and Human Service’s Workplace Achievement Program, and was recently Staff celebrating the Achievement Program milestonerecognised by the State Government of Victoria as meeting all benchmarks for the Healthy Eating and Mental Health and Wellbeing priority areas of the Achievement Program.

Recognised by the Victorian Government, the Achievement Program promotes staff health across five areas: smoking, physical activity, mental health and wellbeing, healthy eating and alcohol. The Achievement Program (an international best-practice framework) was developed by the Department of Health and Human Services and is currently overseen by Cancer Council Victoria. This framework was based on the World Health Organisation’s Health Promoting Workplaces model. This whole-of-setting approach provides workplaces with a framework for continuous improvement, enabling organisations to embed health and wellbeing into their culture, having a positive impact on areas like morale, safety and productivity.

With most Australian’s spending approximately a third of their lives at work (over a lifetime up to 80,000 hours can be spent at work), it’s important to recognise the impact the work environment can have on health and wellbeing. Promoting health in the workplace also makes good business sense – it makes businesses more productive and employees more engaged. In the Macedon Ranges Shire, only 10.4 per cent of residents meet vegetable consumption guidelines and 23.4 per cent of females are diagnosed with either depression or anxiety, compared with the Victorian average of 14.4 per cent (Central Victorian Primary Care Partnership, 2017).

“As a community health service we believe it’s important to role model a healthy workplace in our community. By implementing the Achievement Program at Cobaw we are leading by example to improve staff health and wellbeing in the Macedon Ranges,” said Margaret McDonald, Cobaw Community Health CEO.

“We are encouraging other workplaces to sign up to the Achievement Program to collectively strengthen health and wellbeing in our community. Cobaw can support workplaces to progress through the program and we encourage you to get in touch if interested.”

For further information, please contact Bec Huddy, Health Promotion Coordinator 1300 026 229 or