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

HEY Grants

HEY logo

Applying for a HEY grant and need some help? We’re able to assist your organisation with the application process. Please contact Jenny Cowan on (03) 5421 1666.

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


Announcement of site for Cobaw’s Healthy Community Access Hub

Cobaw Community Health (Cobaw) has been working for many months to secure a site for the new Healthy Community Access Hub. The organisation is pleased to advise valued clients, partners and the community that an agreement has been reached to purchase a site located at 51 Bourke Street, Kyneton. The land is located on the corner of Caroline Chisholm Drive and Bourke Street, and will locate the new site adjacent to Kyneton District Health.

Margaret McDonald, Cobaw CEO, is thrilled about the opportunities this prominent site will offer to the community.

“We are looking forward to designing a unique facility to meet the health and wellbeing needs of the community for many years to come. Being co-located with our long-term partners at Kyneton District Health creates a great opportunity to offer a broad range of services from a single location in Kyneton.”

Whilst the search for a site has been underway, Cobaw has been progressing plans for the building. With the appointment of project management and architect companies finalised in March 2018, quick progress has been made to completing the master plan for the project. This provides the overarching scope for the facility and has resulted in some early concept drawings. This work has been well supported by input from staff teams and community members.

Cobaw looks forward to hosting a community meeting in the coming months to provide an update on project plans.

New Cobaw and NDIS Newsletter

Would you like to stay updated on all things Cobaw and the NDIS? We’ve created a new email newsletter which includes news and information on different NDIS topics, services and new opportunities for NDIS participants. Click here to subscribe.

Collaboration for Dementia in the Macedon Ranges

Key health services in the Macedon Ranges are participating in Bendigo Health’s Dementia Champion Mentorship Program in 2018. Cobaw Community Health, Macedon Ranges Health, Kyneton District Health and Macedon Ranges Shire Council have chosen this program to improve staff knowledge in Dementia care, and design their own internal quality improvement processes.

With Dementia diagnosis predicted to increase in the region by 440% from 2015 to 2050, initiatives such as this are imperative for health services’ level of understanding of the condition. Dementia presents very complex changes for families, of which need to be understood by health professionals as they navigate delivery of quality Person Centred Care.

Dementia Consultants Libby Wade and Sarah Gallagher from Bendigo Health commenced the training delivery in early April, and will continue as professional mentor supports to the staff involved.

“This has been a fantastic outcome for our region,” said Taryn McKerrow, Cobaw Community Health’s Dementia Project Worker. “We feel like leaders within the Loddon Mallee, achieving this level of cross-collaboration in quality improvement for Dementia. I am also very pleased to have Woodend Lifestyle Carers Group included in the training delivery, who will be able to impart invaluable knowledge and expertise to our participating nurses, occupational therapists, physiotherapists, and Regional Aged Care Assessment Officers.”