Lifestyle

Clark’s inclusion campaign

By Ivy Jensen

CROSSENVALE Community House is campaigning to make Echuca-Moama more LGBTQ+ friendly.

The Neighbourhood House, thanks to a $4000 Campaspe Shire community grant, is planning a series of events as part of a project to help connect LGBTQ+ people from the twin towns and create a more inclusive community.

CCH has been working with consultant Harry McAnulty who said the project aimed to achieve stronger community resilience and more acceptance from the wider community around LGBTQ+ issues as well as increasing community engagement from them and their friends.

A survey has been running for the past few weeks which aims to find out about the lived experience of LGBTQ+ people living in the Echuca-Moama area, with those over 16 encouraged to take part.

‘‘We want to know what people do in their daily lives and whether they’re connected to friends, work and the community,’’ Mr McAnulty said.

‘‘Are they connected to social supports and health and wellbeing services? Because we know that if they are connected to friends, work and community services that improves their health and wellbeing outcomes.

‘‘There is a perception out there that these people feel disconnected in the Campaspe community and they don’t see any visible signs of support.’’

Mr McAnulty will use the results from the survey to write a report which will be used to advocate for service and social support groups.

To help the town become more LGBTQ+ friendly, Crossenvale House will hold a rainbow flag raising and start its letters of support campaign on May 16.

House co-ordinator Sheridan Clark is visiting businesses around towns with rainbow flags and posters.

‘‘We hope to encourage members of our community to visit shops or businesses to write inspiring messages of support to our LGBTQ+ community,’’ she said.

‘‘We will hopefully colour Echuca and Moama for two weeks between May 16 and May 30.’’

The campaign follows from its flag raising ceremony, which will be held outside Echuca’s council office on May 16 in support of International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia on May 17.

‘‘This is the first step in making the LGBTQ+ community visible and council and the community showing their support,’’ Mr McAnulty said.

A screening of the documentary Untold Histories, which tells the compelling stories of LGBTIQ seniors living in central Victoria, will also be held on May 30.

Film makers Issie Soudy and Noel Hourigan will talk with community members in a 30-minute panel discussion.

The event will be held from 5.30pm to 7.15pm at Echuca library, with popcorn, nibbles and drinks provided.

The house has also started an LGBTQ+ action group which has about 10 members.

‘‘It’s a great achievement for our community house to lead this in our community but also be involved in a much needed and rewarding project,’’ Ms Clark said. ‘‘The community have been amazing and so supportive already and our LGBTQ+ group are great leaders and proactive in wanting change in their community. It’s a great thing to be part of.

‘‘It’s fantastic to promote diversity among our community, connect with other LGBTQ+ people, but also learn more about LGBTI issues and resources for people to access. I hope our house can be a great resource for LGBTQ+ people through information, resources and they feel welcome and accepted.’’

To complete the survey, go to www.surveymonkey.com/r/EMLGBTIQ