Gymnastics, stand-up paddle-boarding and dancing in the dark are just some of the activities being planned for Mallacoota, Genoa and Cann Valley, with a new Reclink Australia program being established to assist these bushfire-affected communities to regain a sense of fun, alongside increasing social inclusion and improving physical and mental health for residents.
Reclink Australia has partnered with the Department of Health and Human Services and Bushfire Recovery Victoria to deliver sports and recreation programs for Mallacoota, Genoa, and Cann Valley districts.
Following on from the Black Summer bushfires and the layered trauma of social isolation due to the COVID pandemic, the Reclink team aims to improve social inclusion through a range of sports and recreation activities that cater to a variety of ages, abilities and interests.
Reclink has employed two local sport and recreation coordinators, Callista Cooper and Cassandra McNamara.
“I aim to support my community moving forward in the post bushfire recovery phase by using my studies in exercise science to create exciting pathways for the local community to have some fun exploring new opportunities for health and wellbeing,” said Callista.
Cassandra has over 18 year's experience working and volunteering in educational, recreational and small community settings and reflects, “I am excited to be part of the Reclink team and feel grateful for the opportunity to develop and facilitate inclusive programs to promote reconnection and wellbeing utilising the backdrop of our awe-inspiring natural environment.”
The new project incorporates the Reclink Connect program and pop-up sports model, a national evaluation of these programs shows strong outcomes for participants, particularly in improving physical and mental health.
The community can access the Reclink Connect program from the comfort of home any time, the online program videos are available via the Reclink Australia Gippsland Facebook page.
The new team are looking forward to the possibilities to implement a wide range of activities in response to community interest and need.
The programs that will be facilitated in this region are based on Reclink’s National, ActiVic and Street Games programs, which have demonstrated significant results for participants, who experience improved social inclusion, improved physical and mental health, and greater community connectedness.
Cassandra and Callista are excited to reach out to the community and hear your ideas on ways of bringing joy back into these bushfire-affected regions. Perhaps stand-up paddle-boarding yoga sessions may capture the hearts and minds of some locals - keep a watch on Reclink Gippsland’s social media page for highlights along their journey.