The big blue bus arrived in the Barwon Medicare Local region in April 2015.
Torquay Farmers Market was the first stop on 18 April, with plenty of people dropping by the bus to pick up free resources about mental health and staying well. Following the market, the bus headed to the IGA supermarket in Torquay. Again, shoppers stopped by to chat with Beyond Blue staff and find out more about the support available for people with depression and anxiety.
The next day, the bus set up at the Drysdale Community Market. Despite the chilly temperatures, about 100 people came to visit the team at the bus and make their mental health pledges.
On Monday 20 April, the bus headed to the Ford manufacturing plant in Geelong. Workers came out to collect Beyond Blue’s free info about staying well and enjoyed a free morning tea.
That evening, Geelong welcomed the Beyond Blue National Roadshow to town with a civic reception. City of Greater Geelong Mayor Darryn Lyons and Beyond Blue Chairman The Hon. Jeff Kennett AC spoke of Beyond Blue’s work in the community. Beyond Blue CEO Georgie Harman, Beyond Blue Director The Hon. Julia Gillard and a number of other Directors were also present ahead of a Board meeting in Geelong the next day.
On the morning of 21 April, 550 local business owners and managers came along to The Pier Geelong to learn about the Heads Up initiative. Heads Up is all about supporting Australian businesses to create more mentally healthy workplaces. Speakers at the business breakfast included Jeff Kennett, CEO of the Geelong Chamber of Commerce Bernadette Uzelac, WorkSafe Inspector Kevin Ford and Beyond Blue Head of Workplace Engagement Patrice O’Brien. Attendees were able to learn about the many benefits of mentally healthy workplaces and the simple, practical actions they can take to promote good mental health in their workplaces.
It was then on to Steampacket Gardens on Geelong’s foreshore for the Big Blue Bash. More than 1000 people came down for the free community event which included live music by Imogen Brough (The Voice) and Andrew Wishart (The X Factor), a barbecue, Zumba and Bollywood dancing, jumping castle, face painting, inflatable and giant games, the Geelong Laughter Club, lawn bowls, netball and football skills and drills, arts and crafts, a Men’s Shed hub, Playgroup Victoria Play Day, headspace lounge, and local health service stalls.
The final stop for the big blue bus in the Barwon region was Colac on Wednesday 22 April. Colac Neighbourhood House hosted a free community barbecue breakfast before the team headed to Colac Secondary College and Trinity College Colac to talk to students about mental health and staying well.
Thanks to all those who gave Beyond Blue such a warm welcome across the region, and thanks to everyone in Geelong for coming out to show their support. Thanks also to Medibank Community Fund for their support.
View other stops around Australia, and a gallery of National Roadshow highlights.