Tasman Council is a small community with beautiful natural scenery, bushwalks, diving and specular convict ruins enjoyed by tourists from all over the world. While beautiful, our small communities like Tasman (shown in Figure 1) don’t have quite the same opportunities for sport, exercise, recreation and even health that people in the cities enjoy.
Figure 1: Tasman Council is a small community of about 2,350 permanent residents
Small councils must also make do with rather less money from rates than city councils, due simply to the small number of property owners from which to gather rates from, and limited capacity for rates to be raised to provide state of the art services. As this story shows, it takes an extra effort, of planning and coordination to achieve great outcomes in regional areas.
Despite the challenges, or perhaps because of them, Tasman Council has taken a lead role in improving health and recreation opportunities for their community.
As part of its work to help their community get access to physical activity and health information, Tasman Council identified that there were actually a limited range of physical activity and health service providers working on the Tasman Peninsula. So the Council resolved to do something about it!
The Council knew it couldn’t directly provide all the services itself or fund them, so a collaborative working group was formed and that group has worked hard to provide greater opportunities for folks in Tasman. Partners necessary to achieve this goal were brought together by the Council and include:
The concept of a Community Wellness Expo was developed and over a period of 4 months the group worked hard to deliver the event. The Expo’s aim was to link providers to members of the Tasman community, providing a taste of the full range of health and physical activities city residents can access. The Expo was held on a Saturday to enable working people to attend - in addition to those not currently working, and to enable school children to come. The choice of day contributed to the high attendance.
Attendance at the event was free of charge. The group worked with many local business to obtain food and drink to keep people energised. Local businesses that donated goods and time included the Nubeena Bakery, O.E. Hansen & Son (pear and apple orchard), District Nurses and Tasman Council donated, bread, fruit, coffee, tea milk and sausages. The local Lion’s Club and Tasman Youth Group donated their time to prepare and cook the food.
Figure 2: The Community Wellness Expo was a great success
The event was great success. In total 29 service providers set up information stalls in the Tasman Civic Centre and advised the community on physical and mental health and physical activity. The image in Figure 2 shows a display in the background created by Tasman District School. The service provider stall shown is Dunalley Tasman Neighbourhood House. The man facing the camera, is Anglicare Tasmania’s Mental Health Worker Michael Paxton.
Outside the Tasman Civic Centre, a range of custom sporting clinics were run for children and teenagers aged 5 to 18 years. The sport clinics included: