Celebrating the 21st Birthday of the Croydon Stroke Support Group

The Croydon Stroke Support Group is a community based organisation that supports people with stroke. The group provides peer support, as well as innovative programs to help restore confidence and provide assistance for people with stroke and their carers.

This morning I was invited to join the celebrations as the Croydon Stoke Support Group celebrated its 21st birthday. The group began due to a need for peer support group for with stroke in the eastern suburbs. Since this time the group has grown considerably, with weekly meetings, monthly barbecues, as well as art therapy and choir.

The Croydon Stroke Support Group has a strong interest in the arts, with exhibitions showcasing canvas, mosaic and photographic works undertaken by members. In addition the group recently formed the Stroke a Chord choir which involves members that have aphasia, a stroke condition where they are able unable to speak but can sing. The Choir provides an opportunity for these members to be involved within the group and is a first for Australia.

The large attendance at the Croydon Stroke Support Group demonstrates the far-reaching and positive impact the group has with members of the Maroondah community. I congratulate the Croydon Stroke Support Group on its successful 21st birthday.

Attendance Report: Celebrating Maroondah’s Arts and Cultural Events

On the 26th of February I attended the Picnic in the Park hosted at Maroondah Federation Estate, which coincided with the celebrations for its 10th anniversary. Maroondah Federation Estate was established in partnership between local, state and federal governments on the site of the former Ringwood Primary School

The foresight that resulted in the establishment of Maroondah Federation Estate, delivered a premiere arts and cultural centre for Maroondah and Melbourne’s outer east, with a gallery that attracts a wide variety of exhibitions and space for community organisations. The festivities included photographs from the former school reflecting the historical value of Maroondah Federation Estate.

On the 18th of March I was back at Maroondah Federation Estate where I had the pleasure of opening the Kaleidoscope Exhibition at the Long Gallery located in the former class rooms. The exhibition, which is organised by Scope, celebrates the artistic skills of people with disabilities by focusing on their talents. The exhibition, which is one of several through Kaleidoscope showcased artworks under the theme of Inspiration Works and several participants travelled considerable distances to be able to attend.

Accompanying the exhibition was music provided by members of Scope, highlighting the diverse range of artistic and musical talents that exist. Kaleidoscope is a celebration of these talents and it was a pleasure to meet many of the exhibiting artists at the opening of the exhibition.

Opening the Kaleidoscope Exhibition

Kaleidoscope is the name of an art exhibition hosted by Scope, which showcases the artistic talents of people with disabilities. The exhibition, which is being held across the State, includes a series of exhibits at the Long Gallery at Maroondah Federation Estate.

This morning I was invited to open the Exhibition at Maroondah Federation Estate to encourage members of the community to view artworks that were submitted under the theme of ‘Inspiration Works’. The launch was accompanied by ambient music provided by members of Scope, showcasing musical, as well as artistic talents.

Alex with the first prize winner of the Kaleidoscope Exhibition
Alex with the first prize winner of the Kaleidoscope Exhibition

The Kaleidoscope Exhibition was widely attended with several members travelling across Victoria to be present at the opening. It was wonderful to be a part of the exhibition and to see Scope celebrating the artistic talents of its members.

The speech I delivered during the proceedings in available within this post:
Continue reading “Opening the Kaleidoscope Exhibition”

Master of Ceremonies for the Eastern Volunteers Annual Fun Run

Like many community based organisations Eastern Volunteers holds events to assist in raising funds to support its volunteer recruitment and community based transport services.

The Annual Fun Run, which is held each March, is one of the major fundraising and community events held by Eastern Volunteers, with the event attracting over 500 participants and significant business support.

Alex as Master of Ceremonies for the Eastern Volunteers Annual Fun Run
Alex as Master of Ceremonies for the Eastern Volunteers Annual Fun Run

This morning I served as the Master of Ceremonies for the event, providing instructions for participants, as well as acknowledging the major sponsors and supporters.

This year’s Fun Run included three major sponsors, who were invited to participate on the day. As the Master of Ceremonies I introduced the major sponsors, as well as Terry Avery, the Mayor of the Yarra Ranges Shire Council and board members from Eastern Volunteers, including the chairperson Terry Macdonald.

Alex with Terry Avery, Mayor the Yarra Ranges Shire Council and Terry Macdonald. Chairperson of Eastern Volunteers
Alex with Terry Avery, Mayor the Yarra Ranges Shire Council and Terry Macdonald. Chairperson of Eastern Volunteers

Fortunately the rain held off until the afternoon, providing ideal conditions for the 2011 Annual Fun Run. The event was a success with a record number of participants and significant support from the business community. As Master of Ceremonies it was my responsibility to direct participants to the registration desks and starting positions, as well as acknowledge sponsors and their support.

At the conclusion of the race I assisted Terry who conducted the formalities and presentation of awards as Chairperson of Eastern Volunteers. I also ensured there was an opportunity for sponsors to speak to the participants, reinforcing the value that business partners received from the event.

Alex with Terry Macdonald, Chairperson of Eastern Volunteers during the presentation of awards
Alex with Terry Macdonald, Chairperson of Eastern Volunteers during the presentation of awards

Eastern Volunteers hold two major community events each year, with the Fun Run being held in March and the Multicultural Festival which will be returning in October.

Media Release: Survivors of Stroke taking to the stage

Maroondah-based choir Stroke a Chord is celebrating its first birthday by launching a website and announcing its first public performance.

Maroondah Councillor Alex Makin said the choir started in 2010 to allow people with limited or no speech to experience something positive and joyful with their voice in a social and understanding environment.

“Imagine not being able to speak but having the ability to sing perfectly. This is the reality experienced by a number of people living with aphasia,” Cr Makin said.

“The idea for the choir was first raised during Stroke Week 2008. After hearing that several people in Maroondah were living with aphasia, Council took the first tentative steps towards the formation of a choir,” Cr Makin said.

“With the help of a number of external organisations, the choir has gone from strength to strength, with more than 20 members now meeting every week at Maroondah Family Church in Ringwood East,” Cr Makin said.

“Thanks to a $15,000 grant from the Helen Macpherson Smith Trust the choir has a qualified music therapist working alongside the participants to ensure they are getting the most out of the experience,” Cr Makin said.

“After a trial performance in front of a group of family and friends the choir are now ready to perform publicly, with their first performance to be held at Karralyka Theatre during Stroke Week in September,” Cr Makin said.

Last month Stroke a Chord launched its own website, www.strokeachord.com, to raise awareness of aphasia and the choir in the community.

“Having a website allows the choir to expand their network and hopefully increase its profile, so more people know what they do and how people can become involved,” Cr Makin said.

“The site provides a background on the choir, information on aphasia, and links to resources which are available to people who have aphasia,” Cr Makin said.

Stroke a Chord will perform publicly for the first time at 2pm, Saturday September 17 at Karralyka Theatre, Ringwood East. For more information www.strokeachord.com

The Stroke a Chord initiative is a partnership between Maroondah City Council, Yooralla, Royal Talbot Hospital, University of Queensland, Alfred Psychiatry Research Centre, Croydon Stroke Support Group and Melbourne University.

– ENDS –

Mullum Ward Picnic in the Park at Maroondah Federation Estate

Maroondah Federation Estate celebrated its 10th birthday with a range of activities highlighting the Maroondah Art Gallery and the range of community groups that utilise the facility.

The celebrations coincided with a picnic in the park, providing a free barbecue and the opportunity to meet the Mullum Ward Councillors. Like previous picnic in the parks, today’s event was a great opportunity to meet members of the Maroondah community and I would like to thank the many people I spoke to throughout the day.

The celebrations also focused on the history of Maroondah Federation Estate, which began as a primary school, through photographs supplied by the Ringwood Historical Society. Other photographs covering Ringwood’s early history were also provided by the Ringwood Historical Society.

2011 Australia Day celebrations

Maroondah celebrates Australia Day with community festivities at Ringwood Lake, which also include a citizenship ceremony and the nomination of Maroondah’s Citizen of the Year, Young Citizen of the Year and Event of the Year.

The Australia Day celebrations is one of Maroondah’s largest community events at Ringwood Lake and includes entertainment, music and food. The event also provides an opportunity to congratulate people who have dedicated their time to volunteering within the community through recognising the contributions of volunteers and community events.

I would like to congratulate the many nominees for the Awards and to thank them for their dedication to the Maroondah community.

Ringwood Ballet Group – A Midsummer Night’s Dream

The Ringwood Ballet Group is a community based not-for-profit organisation that was formed in 1961. The group hold an annual performance at Karralyka and this year showcased a ballet version of Midsummer Night’s Dream, as well as several jazz and tap dance routines. Younger performers were also involved and it was great to see so many students being able to participate within the performance.

The Ringwood Ballet Group holds weekly classed at Bedford Road in Ringwood and includes a range of dance styles including classical ballet, jazz and tap. The Ringwood Ballet Group is one example of the range of art and cultural groups that exist within Maroondah. and I commend the many people involved in organising and participating within the Ringwood Ballet Group’s annual concert.

Tonight’s performance was excellent and I commend the many people involved in organising and participating in the Ringwood Ballet Group’s annual performance.

Media Release: Come and share in the Christmas spirit

Christmas just wouldn’t be Christmas without carol singing, candles and a certain jolly man in a red and white suit.

Maroondah Mayor Alex Makin encouraged everyone to grab a picnic rug or chair, a little Christmas cheer, and head for Ainslie Park in Croydon on Sunday 12 December for the Maroondah Carols By Candlelight celebrations.

“Each year Council continues the proud Australian tradition of Carols By Candlelight, with an exciting array of fine local talent leading our community in song,” Cr Makin said.

“Heading the bill this year is Penny Mason the holder of the 2010 Maroondah Singers Memorial Scholarship,” Cr Makin said.

She will be joined on stage by group performances including the Maroondah Singers, students from Croydon West Primary School and Maroondah Secondary College, Croydon Citizens Band, Maroondah Brass and the Connection Community band,” Cr Makin said.

“On top of all this, Santa will arrive, spreading his own special brand of Christmas cheer for young and old alike, and joining in for a song or two with the community,” Cr Makin said.

Bring a picnic hamper, indulge in some sizzling sausages cooked by the Croydon West Guides, or enjoy other tasty treats from the Ainslie Park Cricket Club or Maroondah Secondary College canteens.

“Carols by Candlelight will conclude again this year with a brilliant fireworks display presented by Eastland,” Makin said.

“Council are pleased to have Eastland supporting this wonderful community event once again and we thank them for their involvement,” Cr Makin said.

A reminder to local residents with pets to be aware of the fireworks display, which will commence at approximately 9.15pm. The loud ‘bangs’ can cause dogs to panic and be frightened – due to their acute sense of hearing, so please ensure your dog is secure in your home or back garden during this event.

Carols by Candlelight will be held on Sunday 12 December from 7.30pm at Ainslie Park, Brentnall Road, Croydon next to Maroondah Secondary College. Melways Map 50 F3.

As parking onsite is limited, the community are encouraged to walk to the event where possible.

As an alternate, bus services along Route 670 drop off and pick up on Maroondah Highway, travelling between Ringwood Station and Lilydale Station. For more details on bus timetables contact MetLink on 13 1638 or visit www.metlinkmelbourne.com.au.

Candles and glowsticks will be available to be purchased on the night.

For further information about the Carols By Candlelight celebrations, contact Arts & Cultural Services on 9298 4553.

– ENDS –

Graduation of participants in the National Green Corps Program at Mullum Mullum Creek

The National Green Corps Program is a Federal Government initiative that provides education and employment skills for young people that are unemployed and enjoy working in the outdoors. The City of Maroondah has been involved in the Green Corps Program through re-vegetation work along the Mullum Mullum Creek.

The program is delivered through two rounds and this afternoon I attended the graduation ceremony of the first group of participants who have completed the six month program. Participants within the Green Corps Program gained formal qualifications through Swinburne TAFE, as well as practical employment skills in conservation and land management.

Alex with participants graduating form the National Green Corp Program at the Mullum Mullum Creek.
Alex with participants graduating form the National Green Corp Program at the Mullum Mullum Creek.

The program has been possible through a partnership between education and employment providers, as well community groups and Maroondah City Council. I extend my congratulations to the participants of the program and I look forward to the next round of students who will be participating and improving the biodiversity and amenity of the Mullum Mullum Creek.