Lancefield Pop Up and Pop In Sessions

Seeking participants for LGBTIQ+ Working Group

Are you part of the LGBTIQ+ community or passionate about inclusive services?

Cobaw Community Health is seeking community members, young people and adults, to participate in a new LGBTIQ+ internal working group. The working group has been established to improve Cobaw’s work practices across the organisation, with an aim to ensure inclusion and diversity for the community across the lifespan.

This is an opportunity for community members to sit alongside Cobaw staff to advocate, collaborate, and contribute to strategic direction through consultation. Working group meetings will be facilitated on a quarterly basis in March, June, September and December. If you’re interested in participating in this collaborative working group, submit an expression of interest by Friday 1 June to Jenny Cowan via

Healthcare Under the Rainbow launched

Cobaw Community Health’s WayOut team have launched an educational video that provides a safe platform for LGBTIQ+ young people to speak to healthcare professionals and services about their needs, and offer suggestions and advice about working with the sex and gender diverse community.

The Healthcare under the Rainbow video is a contemporary educational tool for GPs and other healthcare professionals, aimed at improving inclusive clinical practice and increasing the safety of young people accessing healthcare services.

A group of young people from the Macedon Ranges developed and produced the video. Participants enjoyed the opportunity to develop skills in photography, film, editing and events, as well as the experience of researching and developing health promotion messages for healthcare professionals.

This project was funded by a grant from Kyneton Community and Learning Centre’s LETS! Leaderships & Events Training Skills Project, through the Victorian Department of Health & Human Services’ Engage! Program. A seven month process, the video was launched last month with an event at Brooke Street Medical Centre in Woodend.

The producer of the video, Kieran Atkins said, “I really enjoyed doing the video. It was very exciting to work on something about youth healthcare that is medically sound and informative and that has been led by LGBTIQ+ young people. I hope the video ends some of the stigma around the doctor/patient relationship. It’s a very positive and encouraging video that celebrates the good that equal healthcare can provide.”

Margaret McDonald, Cobaw’s CEO, encourages all healthcare professionals to view and share this short video.

“A few changes to the way we interact with and the questions we ask LGBTIQ+ young people can make all the difference to a person’s experience visiting their doctor, hospital or other healthcare setting.”

For further information, contact WayOut on 1300 0 26229 or

Winter Blanket Drive

Flyer for winter blanket drive

Join Cobaw in getting active this April

Family cycling and walking dog

Cobaw Community Health is encouraging schools within the Macedon Ranges Shire to join them in signing up to Premier’s Active April this year. Premier’s Active April encourages all Victorians to do 30 minutes of physical activity a day during April. It’s free, fun and part of the Victorian Government’s commitment to get more people active and healthy.

According to the 2015 Victorian Population Health Survey, only 34.7 per cent of Macedon Ranges Shire residents participated in physical activity on four or more days of the week, compared with the Victorian average of 41.3 per cent. Engaging in regular physical activity has important benefits for both mental and physical health. Physical activity reduces the risk of many health problems, such as cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, anxiety, depression, musculoskeletal problems, some cancers and unhealthy weight gain.

Participation in Premier’s Active April has been made easy for schools with the free downloadable mobile app which tracks activity. To participate as a school, a teacher can sign up to Premier’s Active April via the website or mobile app and register their school and students. Alternatively students can sign up themselves and join the school team. By signing up to the month long challenge, the school and students automatically receive a range of prizes and go in the draw to win even more.

Developing a regular pattern of physical activity for children and adolescents can help establish lifelong enjoyment and an appreciation of the benefits of physical activity.

“Supporting schools within the Shire to sign up and participate in Premier’s Active April is one strategy we are implementing to help improve the health and wellbeing of our local community. Cobaw participated as a workplace last year and are signed up again, encouraging our own staff to take the time to be active,” said Margaret McDonald, Cobaw CEO.

For further information, please contact Bec Huddy, Health Promotion Coordinator on 1300 0 26229 or

New sexual and reproductive health phone line

Graphic of helpline information

1800 My Options, a new helpline for Victorian women seeking timely and trusted information on sexual and reproductive health issues has been launched. The helpline will provide Victorians with sexual and reproductive health information, and direct them to clinical services such as contraception, pharmacy services, counselling support, termination providers and a range of other services.

The phone line is free and confidential, with highly-trained, experienced and sensitive staff who have extensive knowledge in sexual and reproductive health issues.

In addition to the new phone line, there is also new women’s reproductive health information on the Better Health Channel. It provides comprehensive, evidence-based information about women’s sexual and reproductive health.

To access 1800 My Options call 1800 696 784 and for more health information visit

Cobaw celebrates World Down syndrome Awareness Week

Cobaw Community Health is celebrating World Down syndrome Awareness Week (19-25 March 2018) by hosting a morning tea at the My Time Playgroup on Monday 19 March from 9:30am-11:00am at 49 Forest St, Woodend.  child looking at fish toy

World Down syndrome Awareness Week celebrates the lives and achievements of people with Down syndrome, with this year’s theme focusing on the different ways people with Down syndrome make a difference to their communities.

Down syndrome is caused by the presence of an extra chromosome, chromosome 21. People with Down syndrome have 47 chromosomes in their cells instead of 46 which results in a range of physical characteristics, health and development indications. Down syndrome affects, but does not determine, development or achievements. People with Down syndrome are unique, with their own talents, abilities, thoughts and interests.

Cobaw provides a range of services and supports to individuals with Down syndrome and their families, including Early Childhood Intervention Supports that help families to understand their child’s unique developmental needs, while strengthening and developing their capacity to successfully access all parts of community. Cobaw is a National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) provider of services for all people with a disability from birth to 60+.

“What happens after birth is by far the most important thing in shaping the outlook for every individual with Down syndrome. This is why access to coordinated early childhood intervention services, like those offered by Cobaw, that support the individual and their family to develop skills in their own home, everyday routines and community are so critical,” said Margaret McDonald, Cobaw CEO.

“With appropriate community health supports, people with Down syndrome can actively participate and contribute to all aspects of family and community life.”

My Time Term 2 Program

Healthcare Under the Rainbow

This video provides an opportunity to hear from young people in the LGBTIQ+ community about their healthcare experiences, as well as healthcare providers. The video project was funded by LETS (Leadership & Events Training Skills) and Kyneton Community & Learning Centre. For LGBTIQ+ support, contact Cobaw Community Health on 1300 0 COBAW (1300 0 26229).

100 Reasons to Celebrate at Cobaw

The community continues to benefit from the expansion of services for everyone across central Victoria as Cobaw Community Health (Cobaw) increases in size. Starting with three staff in 1986, last month Cobaw celebrated the addition of their 100th staff member. A major employer across Central Victoria, Cobaw provides health and wellbeing services to children, young people, families, adults, older people and people with a disability.

Andrew Kozak, the lucky 100th staff member, joined the Corporate Services team at Cobaw in a Receptionist/Administration Officer role and is thrilled to be a part of this milestone.Photo of Andrew Kozak

“It’s quite exciting to be honest! Not only is it an amazing indication of growth of the organisation to celebrate, it’s also something I’m proud to be part of. Helping the wonderful Cobaw Community Health Service grow in size, and expand into new communities, really gives you a sense of being part of the future,” said Andrew.

“A major appeal of working at Cobaw was the opportunity to work with an organisation that is genuinely caring and strives to make a real difference within local communities. Having lived and worked in some remote areas of Western Australia in 2017, I have seen firsthand the welcomed support that organisations such as Cobaw provide. I also look forward to putting into practice the theory and skills I learnt at university and doing what I can to support the communities I live in.”

In the last three years, Cobaw’s staff numbers have grown from 65 to 100, a reflection of the organisation’s strong commitment to delivering services in response to community demand.

“The population growth in many communities across Central Victoria is driving an expansion of Cobaw’s support services for everyone in our diverse communities, including a demand children, aged care and NDIS services,” said Margaret McDonald, Cobaw CEO.