A GROUND-breaking mental health event will be held in the Glenfield Community Centre to raise the issue of mental health within Wagga’s African community.
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The concept of mental health is largely foreign to more than 300 African refugees who have settled in the city.

Mental illness is regarded as a silent crisis across the continent of Africa, where people with mental illness are frequently resigned to the dark corners of churches, chained to rusted hospital beds, locked away to live behind the bars of filthy prisons or tied to sticks in displacement camps.

Despite a growing belief amongst health organisations and experts that investing in mental health in African countries would bolster development across the continent and impact on the success of programs focusing on target health issues, it has not found its way into core programs.

While there is a strong focus on health issues such as AIDs, HIV and malaria in third-world communities, Wagga African Association Inc representative John Moi said a lack of access to information about mental illness in their home countries has caused the issue to be greatly misunderstood by refugees now living in Australia.

“The concept of mental health is entirely new to us and our understanding of mental health is completely different to people here,” he said.

“Mental health is not recognised in the same way.

“For many African people, when someone talks about mental illness they think of the person who is running naked down the street or the person who behaviours very strangely.

“They don’t realise things like social isolation, thought patterns, feeling anxious or worried or all the things we think about are part of mental health.

“We have to create an awareness that mental health is not madness.”

John admits the lack of awareness, stigma, feelings of shame and an inability to recognise the signs of mental illness are leaving members of the African community suffering in silence.

“They shy away and fear they will be shunned,” he said.

“From this event we hope to create awareness and de-stigmatise the existence of mental health issues.

“This event is targeting the African community, but it is open to the wider community as well.”

John believes a combination of factors could leave African refuges vulnerable if a greater awareness about the need to address mental health is not established.

“The challenges for refuges are different,” he said.

“Cultural differences, language barriers and limitations, the trauma they have suffered in their past as well as things like trying to get a job and settle in their new home can be very hard.”

The Tuongee Pamoja (Let’s Talk Together) event will take place on Saturday November 2 from 11am to 4pm in the Glenfield Community Centre, to coincide with Mental Health Month.

Participants will have a chance to discuss issues and raise questions with mental health facilitators, share personal stories in a safe and supportive environment, gain knowledge of services and enjoy African music and dance.

There is no cost and light refreshments will be served.

For more information on Mental Health Month, visit www.mentalhealth.asn.au.

This article first appeared in Hangzhou Night Net.

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SUTHERLAND Shire artist Simon McGrath hopes to send a chill through people’s veins when they visit Sculpture by the Sea at Bondi.
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Mr McGrath’s installation is sponsored by Greenpeace and is around the theme of melting polar ice caps.

Not so much a sculpture as an app, the installation allows people to scan a registration marker with their iPhone to see an imaginary virtual iceberg floating off Bondi on their phone screen.

Mr McGrath describes the installation, Virtually Melted, as a piece of ‘‘augmented reality’’.

His previous work in the 2011 Sculpture by the Sea, a giant faucet and taps on the cliff at Bondi, was meant to make people view the ocean as a sink.

That piece, entitled Who Left the Tap Running, created a stir, with Crown Prince Frederik and Princess Mary of Denmark posing in front of it.http://www.abc苏州纹眉学校.au/news/2011-11-04/tap-sculpture-on-sydney-clifftop/3629146

His latest installation is a response to recent research by leading ice expert, Peter Wadhams. The Cambridge University professor predicts the Arctic polar ice cap will have melted by the summer of 2015-16.

Others suggest 30 years or as late as the end of the century.

Mr McGrath said his work is a response to the research.

‘‘The environment is a theme that carries through all my work,’’ the father-of-three said.

‘‘Research says there is debate about whether the ice caps are melting but the Professor has gone out on a limb with his prediction,’’ he said.

‘‘This installation is to connect people with the issue, not to make them panic.

‘‘There is a role for art to connect the public with science. Scientists aren’t good at connecting.They have all this information but are not creative in the way they express it.

‘‘Sculpture by the Sea is a big public exhibition and I am using it to encourage people to connect with the issue of melting ice caps and rising sea levels.’’

Sculpture by the Sea Bondi 2013 opens on Thursday October 24 and runs until November 10, featuring 100 artworks from Australia and international artists.

Melting moments: Loftus artist Simon McGrath has an installation in Sculpture by the Sea at Bondi. His work is a response to warnings of melting polar ice caps. Picture: Chris Lane

Using their iPhone, the public will be able to view an iceberg floating in the ocean off Bondi.

See more at:http://www.sculpturebythesea苏州纹眉学校/exhibitions/bondi/Information.aspx

This article first appeared in Hangzhou Night Net.

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Member for the Dubbo electorate Troy Grant has welcomed the NSW Government’s announcement on amendments to the Companion Animals Act which would be introduced to create a new category of “menacing dog’’ to help safeguard the community.
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“This is great news for the community ensuring everyone’s safety around menacing dogs,” Mr Grant said.

“We see too many incidents where a person and some cases a young child are attacked and these new laws will help further protect people.”

Local Government Minister Don Page and Minister for Primary Industries Katrina Hodgkinson set up the Companion Animals and Dangerous Dogs Taskforce to examine regulatory options available to reduce the number of serious dog attacks.

In addition to creating a new category of ‘menacing or potentially dangerous dog’ the legislation includes harsher penalties including prison terms for irresponsible owners and encourages owners to de-sex their animals.

This new category will allow councils to be more proactive in dealing with aggressive or menacing dogs that have not yet attached or been classified as a dangerous dog. A dog defined as menacing will have to be muzzled and under the control of an adult when in public.

Mr Page said that under the new rules there would be increased penalty notice amounts and court penalties for failure to register a companion animal and where a dog has been involved in an attack.

“Failure to register a companion animal, no matter where it is kept will increase from $165 to $275. And if the matter goes to court, a fine up to $6600 can be imposed,” Mr Page said.

“Our message is clear – if you own an animal, you need to be a responsible owner and take the proper precautions appropriate for the animal,’’ Ms Hodgkinson added.

“Further to the increased penalties, the NSW Government will expand the existing pet education program to pre-school children and families expecting a child to raise awareness on how to act and be safe around dogs, and importantly prevent attacks.’’

This article first appeared in Hangzhou Night Net.

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About 300 people attended the successful Parkinson’s 4 Pancakes this month which not only raised funds, but awareness, for the disease.
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Local girl Sharon Doherty was the inspiration and organiser behind the event. She chose to support Parkinson’s NSW because its sole focus is not on finding a cure, but having had this disease touch her personally, her appreciation for an organisation that seeks to also provide support for everyday needs is great indeed.

“It was a great day,” Sharon said.

“With the gold coin donation, the monster raffle, merchandise, food and drinks, competition entry, games and donations, we have raised over $9000 so far.”

Pancakes were definitely the order of the day with more than 350 being made and indulged in, thanks to Parkinson’s NSW who provided the pancake batter and maple syrup through a donation from Green’s. A number of those would have been consumed by Ollie Wiggins and Katie Powell who were the winners of the tasty pancake eating competition.

“We also made 100 bacon and egg rolls, 100 cups of tea and coffee not to mention cold drinks and fruit salad,” Sharon said.

Children were kept entertained with a kids activity area with face painting, pasta threading, pancake decorating and more.

“Sacha Whitehead of Parkinson Portraits and Natasha Riches-Walker from Dirt Thirsty displayed their art throughout the morning also,” Sharon said.

One of the highlights at the event was the Parkinson’s Awareness Relay which was won by the Healey family. The relay had four stations which reflected what it was like for someone to live with Parkinson’s. Station one was ‘motor control and co-ordination’, station two ‘balance’, station three ‘rigidity’, station four ‘speech’. The level of work and organisation that went into this event was enormous and Sharon and all those who helped have proven to be an inspiration.

“All funds raised from the event will go to Parkinson’s NSW and it would be wonderful to make this an annual event, hopefully,” Sharon concluded. To find out more about Parkinson’s NSW, visit http://www.parkinsonsnsw苏州纹眉学校.au/.

This article first appeared in Hangzhou Night Net.

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A WORKING group will be formed to come up with a concept for a statue of Captain Matthew Flinders and his cat Trim to be erected in Port Lincoln.
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The group of council staff, councillors and community members will also look at redeveloping existing Matthew Flinders memorabilia on Tasman Terrace and explore potential funding options for the project.

The council endorsed the project this week, with a view to starting it in 2014, which will be the 200th anniversary of Captain Flinders’ death.

Councillor Rod Patterson is pushing the project recognising the explorer’s significance to the Port Lincoln community.

Mr Patterson said other sea ports around Australia were also planning commemorations, including statues, to coincide with the bicentenary.

“But … no sea port in Australia reserves the special relationship we in Port Lincoln share with Captain M Flinders RN, and his birthplace in Lincoln, or Donnington, to be precise.”

Mr Patterson said the proposed project fitted with the city’s Public Art Strategy.

“Given the time since our last major acquisition under the banner of ‘public art’, Makybe Diva, it is probably timely that we fund another worthy contribution to our city.”

Councillor Neville Starke questioned the cost of the project and raised concerns about setting a precedent for statues of other historic figures with connections to the region such as explorer Edward John Eyre, the father of the Australia wheat industry William Farrer and fishing industry identities like Dinko Lukin.

Councillor Travis Rogers said a statue of Matthew Flinders was probably overdue and, as for other historic figures, they could be honoured in many different ways.

“I believe this could kick start our public art strategy,” Mr Rogers said.

The council’s chief executive officer, Rob Donaldson, said the fist step would be to come up with a concept because it would be impossible to estimate a cost without a concept.

Mayor Bruce Green said by endorsing the project the council was not committing to funding it and he suggested any council contribution would be a small percentage of the overall cost, as had been the case with the Makybe Diva statue.

Mr Patterson would also like to see the existing Matthew Flinders memorabilia in a laneway between Civic Hall and the Civic Centre on Tasman Terrace refurbished and possibly moved to a more visible location.

“Consider, we build a couple of suitable stone pillars on the pavement near the city end of the zebra crossing in Tasman Terrace – not more than just a few metres in front of where the arch currently sits.

“With an angle grinder and a big enough forklift, one could free the arch from its extant supports and place it on top of our new sandstone pillars.

“In this location, not only is it more visible to tourists, but, it could be viewed from both sides.

“Given that we’ve relocated the arch and given that we’ve probably re-located the two brass plaques onto the new sandstone pillars, it could be a logical spot to place a statute of our man, complete with his cat.”

Mr Patterson believes a “people friendly” statue would be a tourist drawcard providing photo opportunities like the popular Makybe Diva statue.

Councillor Rod Patterson is pushing a project to recognise explorer Matthew Flinders’ significance to the Port Lincoln community.

This article first appeared in Hangzhou Night Net.

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