Flood Victims Appeal - The Riverina - Oaklans Community Health and Fitness
Tuesday, 02 August 2011 12:37


JingellicOaklands is a small rural community of about 350 people in the NSW southern Riverina, approximately 60 km north of the Victorian border, and 110km north west of Albury.

The main industry is farming – broad acre cropping of wheat, barley and canola, also sheep and beef cattle. The district is relatively flat and traversed by several creeks, which only have seasonal flows.

From October 2010 to February 2011 the district experienced three flood events.  The floodwaters spread out from the creeks over crops, roads and fences. Following the long drought, which had placed our farmers under great stress (both mentally and financially), to see crops with great potential ruined by floods, only exacerbated the stress.

During the drought several members of the community sought to establish a not-for-profit fitness facility in the town, knowing that exercise and social interaction can improve mental health as well as physical health.

A Federal Government Preventative Health Initiative grant provided funds for equipment for a gym, and for rental and utility costs until June 2013.  Since opening in March 2011, over 80 people have become members, and, with out-of-hours access, can utilize the facility as often as it suits them.

The gym offers low cost membership of $6 per week. Each member receives a personal program so that they can make best use of the facility.

There are also classes for various groups in the community, such as Gentle Gym for older people, Teen Circuit and Men’s Circuit.  These classes are subsidised so that everyone can afford to attend

The gym has been set up in an old hardware store and is fitted out with commercial quality gym equipment, as well as a small relaxation area for people to meet and socialise.  We hope to extend our facilities to provide a consultation area to encourage visiting health professionals such as a dietician, psychologist etc, as well as shower, toilet, and kitchen facilities.

With no primary health care facilities in Oaklands, the committee’s aim is to provide facilities and classes to help improve the health and wellbeing of the people in the community.

The Masonicare funding will help us to run programs to achieve this aim.  So, rather than repair buildings damaged by flood, we will be attempting to repair the lives of the people affected by the floods.

We are extremely grateful to Masonicare for this assistance, and are touched that they have seen fit to assist our small rural community.

Ann Nixon, Vice President, OCHFCI