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The Buloke Family Violence Prevention Project was developed for the rural communities of the Buloke Shire; Sea Lake, Wycheproof, Charlton, Donald, Birchip, Berriwillock, Culgoa, Nullawil, Nandaly and Watchem. Between 2016 and 2017, the number of family violence incidents reported in the Buloke Shire increased by 11.6%. Recognising family violence as a serious health and wellbeing issue that affects the local community, the SMPCP Buloke Strategic Health and Wellbeing Partnership 2017 – 2021 Action Plan identified preventing family violence as a key priority area. Being an isolated rural community, it is important that Buloke community members have the opportunity to participate in primary prevention initiatives locally.
A community needs assessment conducted in 2012 identified that children and adults across the south west region of Victoria had poor dietary intakes and physical activity practices within the key settings of; early year’s services, schools, workplaces and community spaces. In response, South West Primary Care Partnership (SW PCP) partners formed place-based working groups and agreed on key risk and protective factors to inform the selection of mutually agreed evidence-based strategies.
As COVID-19 began to impact our local community, the Campaspe PCP responded to a local government request for up to date information about the local emergency food services. The PCP rapidly made contact with all local providers who promptly provided information about service changes and in many cases service closures. A new resource, “Campaspe Emergency Food Relief Services during COVID-19” was developed to reflect these changes. This resource and the Cheap Eats cookbook was distributed to the local community through social and print media, to all local health and community services, and to the broader emergency services network in Campaspe
For many years, rural residents in Loddon and the Greater Bendigo Shires have raised issues about the lack of access to reliable mobile phone and internet services. During COVID-19, when the only way to participate in many aspects of everyday life was through digital access, Bendigo Loddon Primary Care Partnership’s (BLPCP’s) partner organisations highlighted the increased burden this placed on rural residents. BLPCP interviewed some self nominated rural households between May 14 and June 11, 2020, to find out how these issues impacted their access to education, work, telehealth, and social support
Due to lockdowns associated with the COVID-19 epidemic there was a large and swift move to online services to enable access to education, health and community services and working from home. Forums held with partner organisations revealed that the lack of reliable internet and mobile phone access across Loddon Shire and rural areas of Greater Bendigo was a major issue as people living in the region. BLPCP undertook a project which sought to capture the lived experiences of rural residents, so that decision makers can better understand the impact of digital access issues on people living in these areas.