The big blue bus arrived in the New England region of NSW at the end of November, 2014.
First stop was Inverell’s Copeton Dam on 28 November for lunch and a chinwag with two dozen men on a local Aboriginal men’s camping trip. The following day the bus and Roadshow team set up at Inverell Rugby Park for the Northern Inland 4x4 Fishing, Caravan and Camping Expo. Around 2000 people attended the Expo with many taking the opportunity to pick up free Beyond Blue resources and chat with staff.
On 30 November the bus stopped in Moree for a free community barbecue out the front of Woolworths. Anglicare and Farm-Link were also on hand to provide support and information. The following morning a free community barbecue was held out the front of the Narrabri Woolworths. A number of local services including Centrecare New England North West, Farm-Link, and Life Worth Living attended to provide support.
On the drive from Narrabri to Tamworth, the bus pulled into the Gunnedah Courthouse Hotel to provide free Beyond Blue resources for a local fundraiser and have a chat with employees.
That evening, the bus parked out the front of the Tamworth Council Chambers for the lighting of the community Christmas tree. Hundreds of children and young families enjoyed free jumping castles, face painting, live music and, of course, a visit from Santa!
On Tuesday 2 December the bus visited Oxley High School in Tamworth to meet with students of the Clontarf Academy. Former Australian national, Queensland State of Origin and Sydney Roosters, Melbourne Storm and South Sydney Rabbitohs player Michael Crocker came to support the boys in their training session. It was also an opportunity to encourage the boys to look after their mental health and look out for each other.
The bus then headed down to Peel Street and the Tamworth Library to chat with locals and provide free information materials about depression, anxiety and staying well.
Armidale was the final stop in the New England region. On 3 December, staff from St Vincent de Paul Society’s Freeman House, Each and Partners in Recovery helped cook up a free community barbecue in Curtis Park. That evening, the park hosted a free community celebration to mark International Day of People with Disability. Santa was a welcome guest and there was music and dance entertainment. Unfortunately the rain washed out the planned outdoor cinema screening.
Thanks to all the wonderful communities who gave Beyond Blue such a warm welcome and all those who supported our visit! Thanks also to Medibank Community Fund for their support.
View other stops and gallery of National Roadshow highlights.