Message from the Chair

Dr Simon Lockwood

Rural Health Innovation Fund Inaugural Grant Recipients

As Chair of the Country SA PHN Board of Directors I am proud to announce the recipients of our Rural Health Innovation Fund inaugural grant round.

Country SA PHN is passionate about supporting our rural communities’ goals by strengthening and encouraging innovative programs that will create positive change and have lasting impacts on the health and wellness of our country South Australian communities.

The Rural Health Innovation Fund was overwhelmed with interest from a myriad of community organisations. The grant applications were of a very high standard and the scope and breadth of the proposals was fantastic.

I would like to thank all those who applied and encourage you to apply again and spread the word about the community health and well-being opportunities that the Rural health Innovation Fund grants can provide for country South Australian communities.

I am happy to announce the successful Rural Health Innovation Fund Community Grant 2023 recipients:

Barunga Village
Barunga Village will be implementing a Focus on Falls Prevention program designed for people living at home who have experienced a fall or are concerned about falling.

The program involves strategies to implement positive lifestyle change. It combines strength and balance exercise with falls awareness education and participant engagement to share their lived experience.

Focus on Falls will support people across the Yorke, Mid North, and Barossa regions.

Diabetes SA
Diabetes SA grant facilitated a type 2 diabetes awareness and screening program at the recent Yorke Peninsula Field Days at Paskeville.

South Australia has the highest rates of type 2 diabetes in Australia with 6.8% of our population living with the condition. In some rural and remote areas, the figures are almost double at 12.2%.

Diabetes SA said the Field Days presented a great opportunity to bring their type 2 diabetes screening an awareness program to country South Australia. They were overwhelmed with the number of people lining up to chat and be tested.

“We are grateful to the Rural Health Innovation Fund for funding this important initiative and honoured to be a recipient in the inaugural year,” said Diabetes SA CEO Angelique Pasalidis.

Hawker Community Development Board
The Hawker Community Development Board grant will allow the Hawker Community Gym to be updated and enhanced with virtual gym equipment for online exercise.

This project is part of a continual plan to keep the gym a desirable and safe place to belong to and work out in as well as develop strategies to enhance the potential of the aerobics room space.

Our Town Ceduna/Far West
Side X Side Mateship for Life is a community driven and led, lived experience men's mental health and wellbeing fitness event.

The event will provide a safe and non-judgemental environment in which men can openly discuss their mental fitness. This will include a discussion about the importance of having a mate to speak with, noting changes in a friend’s behaviour and having the tools to reach out to them, to check in and see how they are travelling.

“This initiative is an example of responding to community need and supporting community to lead.” said Sandy Taylor Team Lead Our Town Ceduna Far West.

“At the heart of it we hold the notion that the people of our community are the experts in their own lives.”

Port Lincoln Aboriginal Health Service
Port Lincon Aboriginal Health Service will hold an elders and community Heart Safety First community awareness campaign and purchase crucial medical equipment including defibrillators.

The defibrillators will be installed and displayed in the Port Lincoln Aboriginal Health Service community buildings where healthy lifestyle, elders, men and women’s groups, community, and youth groups as well as Drug and Alcohol prevention workshops and meetings are delivered.

Port Vincent Progress Association
The Port Vincent Progress Association’sgrant will enable them to continue their popular community exercise classes allowing participants to continue their health and wellbeing journey to achieve their goals.

“This is an amazing initiative,” said exercise class participant Rosemary Button.

“It is wonderful to feel connected with others and our instructor Jo knows exactly how to keep us motivated.”

The Embrace Collective
The Embrace Collective’s grant will enable them to bring Activate by Embrace their youth focused event to boost body image to country South Australia.

The 9–14-year-olds and their teachers, parents and carers will view Embrace Kids - a film that aims to educate and inspire audiences to create a world where we are not held back by the thoughts we have about the way we look.

Eighteen incredible kids and inspirational role models encourage the audience to figure out what makes them unique and special and use that to spark change. The film utilises role modelling of adaptive body image responses, media literacy, vicarious inter-group contact, counter-stereotypical content, and counter-attitudinal advocacy to promote compassion towards self and others. These approaches align with best practice, research, and theoretical frameworks regarding effective approaches for improving body image in young people.

The participants will then engage in activities to support them to fuel, move, and be kind to themselves and their bodies, while empowering them to become real role models. These young people will then take the Embrace Kids resources back to their communities, where they can lead change for hundreds of other young people.

This place-based, youth-led approach to health promotion is increasingly recognised as effective and appropriate in advancing the health and wellbeing of Australians and allows for the dissemination of evidence-based materials in culturally adapted ways that meet communities where they are at.

The Riverland Youth Theatre
The Riverland Youth Theatre will offer the local community a disability health and wellbeing weeklong arts event – enabling the creation of a remarkable new festival of art, play and games for children with disabilities.

“I am a carer for three children with disabilities and I know the feeling of looking for programs and activities that might support them and wondering if staff will be overwhelmed by their needs: at Allied Arts Festival, they will not only be supported but celebrated,” said Riverland Youth Theatre Artistic Director Fleur Kirkpatrick.  

“I can't wait to welcome families into our festival and let them know ‘your child isn't too much. We've got you. Get your butt in here. Come and play.’”

With the grants now awarded, it’s a very exciting time as our Rural Health Innovation Fund Co-ordinator Trudi Penrose-Starr builds relationships, partners with, and supports the successful recipients to turn their project ideas into a reality.

Whyalla Men’s Shed
The Whyalla Men’d Shed is a grass roots volunteer community organisation. It will partner with consumers and local agencies to improve health literacy and awareness of local health and support services program.

This program will hold monthly men’s health and wellbeing meetings to deliver sustainable improvements in knowledge for an at-risk community of older men and their families – assisting them to manage their health and health care needs.

We look forward to following the progress of our inaugural grant recipients and watching their projects come to fruition. We will keep everyone posted on our website and through our social media channels of grant progress and outcomes.

The longevity of the Rural Health Innovation Fund will ultimately be achieved through partnering with key stakeholders. This opportunity will further enhance positive outcomes for country South Australians now and into the future.

Once again, I would like to congratulate the grant recipients and all those who have been involved in making the Rural Health Innovation Fund possible.

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