There is little doubt Echuca Moama is a giving community and in our mission to shine a light on the good news through our weekly Spreading the Good Stuff blog we come across examples of this generosity everywhere.
Over the coming weeks we’ll be featuring local initiatives and volunteers changing lives for the good in our riverside community.
Opening its doors only six weeks ago, in the former Moama Newsagency building on Meninya Street, Murray River Tea Rooms is a unique business venture aimed at supporting CLRS clients to obtain life-long skills, which can be successfully transferred to employment.
This 20-seat cafe offers hot drinks and cakes in an ‘Op Shop’ setting – selling wares from the CLRS Recyclability Centre – with revenue from sales and goods sold reinvested to ensure ongoing business sustainability and opportunities for people with disability.
Assisted by support staff: Glenn, Kellie and Sandra, up to seven CLRS clients serve barista style coffee, high quality teas and scrumptious cakes and scones five days a week and have been blessed with a steady stream of customers since day one.
It has become a hot spot for friends of all ages to meet for coffee and small corporate groups gathering to plan the week ahead (FREE Wi-Fi is available), and all have contributed to 100-120 customers per day visiting to show their support for Murray River Tea Rooms and the Recyclability program.
Established two years ago, Recyclability is a CLRS community-recycling program, coordinated by people of all abilities, involving regular kerbside collection of recyclable goods sold via its Percy Street site and now at the tearooms.
A team of 30 volunteers and clients deliver 800 flyers per week to local households, creating a steady stream of recycled goods and a sustainable business model with the added benefit of reusing so much of the ‘stuff’ we don’t need anymore – now there’s a win, win!
Murray River Tea Rooms was built around the same sustainable model, drawing support from the corporate community and as program manager Sandra explains, “it fosters a sense of community and is a great example that not all donations have to be monetary”.
“Local companies have supplied a lot of our initial set-up equipment, daily bread and milk requirements and other perishable products… it’s a real win, win,” said Sandra.
Sandra explained there are so many ways to support this enterprise in the form of donations and also in time as a volunteer sorting treasures in the op shop or, if you have barista skills, you could find yourself behind the coffee machine whipping up a latte or cappuccino.
Up to 10 dozen scones are donated and delivered fresh each week and local catering businesses regularly provide homemade cakes for sale, contributing to a community-driven sustainable business model with huge potential for growth.
Importantly though, the social skills and community interaction CLRS clients have experienced has been life changing and for Mikayla (pictured middle) her work experience has opened up a whole new world, where she has gained both skills and confidence.
“The outcomes for the clients have been amazing and have well and truly exceeded our expectations,” explained CLRS CEO Suzanna Barry.
Suzanna suggested with continued support from the community, particularly in the form of volunteering, the opening hours (Mon-Fri 8am-4pm and Sat 8am-1pm) could be extended on weekends and for pre-arranged functions.
So if you’re looking for a quality scone and one of the best coffees on the Moama side of Murray, pop into Murray River Tea Rooms and help support a social enterprise doing great things to improve the lives of those with disability in Echuca Moama and spread the word… it’s good stuff!
#spreadingthegoodstuff #community #echuca #moama #socialenterprise
As the curtain falls on another desperately sad week marred by terror, loss and heartbreak across the globe, we find ourselves in deep contemplation over the futility of it all.
When will this madness end? How much worse can it get? And is there anything we can do to make a difference?
If you’re at all like us, terrorism events like the ones which played out across the news this week – and in the weeks, months and years before – leave you feeling helpless and heavy-hearted.
Time and again we’ve heard our world leaders come out comdemning the evil ideology that drives these insidious attacks and as always their language is around ‘confronting and destroying’ the threat.
But how well is that working out for us?
When we talk about ‘destroying our enemies’ doesn’t that just fire them up more? Doesn’t it drive them to commit the next hideous act? And then the next?
Ofcourse it’s natural to feel rage in times like these – fury and a desire for revenge. But is that the answer?
Yes, we need to take a strong stand – but our actions, and the language we use to frame them, is so important.
Because one of the most dangerous things we can do is to raise the next generation of children with hate in their hearts.
And that’s where all this madness starts. With hatred. With fear. With marginalisation. And with that ‘eye for an eye’ and ‘us verses them’ mentality.
So what can we, in our own communities, and in our own families, do to make a difference? And is there any use trying?
It’s hard to say. But one thing we know for sure is that we don’t want our children to grow up in a world where they’re afraid to go out for dinner with their friends, to a concert with loved ones or to travel the world.
So at a grass roots level, we can start by choosing kindness and compassion – towards ourselves and all those in our midst.
This doesn’t mean we bury our heads in the sand and pretend the bad stuff isn’t happening. Not at all.
It’s our responsibility to be engaged, and to understand what’s taking place in the world around us. But it does mean that when the dust settles on tragedies like these, we have to look for the good. And when we find it, we celebrate it and we share it around like confetti.
It’s the media’s job to report the news of the world – and unfortunately more often than not it happens to be negative.
But we’re not the media. And we can choose to change the conversation if we’re willing to keep an open mind – and to bring kindness, respect and compassion to the table.
Because despite the depressing news streaming into our lives on a daily basis, there are always inspiring stories of hope, joy and kindness out there. Sometimes you just have to look a little harder to find them.
In our mind, the best thing we can do as individuals during challenging times like these, is to start thinking about the way we communicate and to take responsibility for the impact our words and our actions have on the world and all those around us.
We can either use our words to lift people up, or to tear them down.
The choice is entirely ours – and ultimately it will define who we are and the kind of world we live in.
Thank you to everyone who came along to our third instalment of Spreading the Good Stuff Episode 3 – The Care Factor last night at Junction and to the incredibly brave Jaki Osborne who opened up about her family’s experience with foster and permanent care and gave us her heart.
The conversation was insightful, at times heart breaking and overwhelmingly uplifting, and epitomised what #spreadingthegoodstuff is all about – shining a positive light on even the most challenging of circumstances.
Jaki, her husband Brent, and their children are the best example of what it is to be truly selfless and that despite the frustrations and heartbreak of red tape and often confusing ‘processes’ they are a family committed to offering kids in need a loving and caring home life.
If you missed this inspiring conversation stay tuned for our Spreading the Good Stuff podcast COMING SOON and be sure to subscribe to our monthly e-news via our Facebook page or website to never miss an episode of this increasingly popular live conversation series.
Episode 4 is set for later this year and as a subscriber to The Splendid Word you will be the first to know who we are chatting with and which illuminating topic we will be shining a light on.
And be sure to spread the word to anyone who you think might benefit from an evening of insightful and inspiring conversation.
Thanks again to our event partner Junction Moama, everyone who came along, and the incredibly brave Jaki Osborne for sharing her inspiring story.
In the meantime remember to choose kindness and focus on the good.
Christy and Lee xo
#spreadingthegoodstuff #wordsforgood #thecarefactor
Here at The Splendid Word we love anything to do with reading, writing and words and it’s no secret we adore libraries.
So this week we are Spreading the Good Stuff for libraries and National Library and Information Week.
In my research for this blog I have been thinking about the following:
Firstly, how often do we visit our local library? And, how much value do we place on the importance of a library in our community?
Also, do we see libraries as having a promising future, considering the technologically driven and digital online world we now live in? And do people still read books… let alone borrow them from a library?
Many would argue that libraries are no longer relevant and will soon be a thing of the past, however the statistics tell us a different story.
In 2014-15 Australian Public Library national statistics identified an increase in the number of libraries to 1,631 from 1,530 in 2013-14 with 114 million visitors in 2014-15, up from 112 million in the previous 12 months.
This is a wonderful trend and one worth celebrating, considering the plethora of alternate online entertainment offerings these days.
There is little doubt though that the modern library has had to evolve to stay relevant by offering hub spots for free computer access and common meeting places for ideas and community campaigns.
A 2015 piece in The Conversation academic journal explained how libraries in the US are becoming ‘ideas labs’ where students meet to explore and learn new technologies.
Libraries across the world are also taking a lead in connecting people and supporting the disadvantaged.
The Brooklyn Public Library provides ‘pop-up’ libraries for homeless people and also opportunities for children to read books with parents who are incarcerated.
Closer to home, libraries in Melbourne offer regular writing workshops, even music recording studio sessions, social media and technical device training and importantly, a social meeting place for the wider community.
You might of heard about the Melbourne based library program offering a ‘meet and chat’ session for complete strangers, aimed at breaking down social barriers and reclaiming the importance of having a face-to-face ‘conversation’ – often referred to as dangerously rare in our modern, screen-based online world.
The Campaspe Regional Library, situated in one of Echuca Moama’s most picturesque locations at the stunning Aquatic Reserve, offers what has to be the best river view from a public library in the state, as well as an abundance of programs and workshops for all ages. Ranging from traditional Book Clubs and Storytime and Lego Club for children to Tech Time sessions for older adults, author visits and book launches, there’s something for everyone.
During this year’s Library Week from May 21-28 the Campaspe Library is celebrating in style with a full program of activities. My pick would be the Culinary Book Club for all things food related and also the Sunday Session talk on how to improve your health.
So if you haven’t yet made plans for the weekend, pencil in a visit to your local library where you’ll be surprised about what’s on offer. You might even borrow a book to read!
For more information about Campaspe Regional Library activities visit the Facebook page or website today and feel free to share your library experience across social media to share the love for our libraries.
Specifically, we are talking about the lack of awareness for the number of plastic ‘things’ that have crept into our lives, especially plastic bags.
The #spreadingthegoodstuff element of this blog comes in the form of local lady Samantha Ferrier and her dedicated team at Plastic Bag Free Echuca/Moama (PBFEM).
This crew is working hard to draw to our attention, in a positive and community-minded way, to our reliance on single-use plastics.
But this is not a story about shame and guilt or what we are ‘not’ doing in terms of our waste and the impact it is having on our local and global environment. It’s about awareness and giving credit where it’s due: to the PBFEM movement.
This movement has had a significant impact in our humble riverside town, since its inception in early 2016, by inspiring folk to become aware of their plastic habits and creating practical platforms for change.
Samantha explains their intention is to “empower our community to willingly transition away from the use of plastic shopping bags, through education, awareness and providing viable alternatives.”
Change is difficult when we need to break old habits. But it can be done.
Communities and many states across the country (except Vic, NSW and WA), and around the world, are making the switch to more biodegradable waste and are eliminating plastic bags.
Some of the poorest countries in the world have banned plastic bags and on a recent trip to Ramingining, an Aboriginal community in Arnhem Land, I noticed the supermarket only provides brown paper bags for groceries – awesome!
Across Victoria 75 towns have either gone plastic bag free or have a community group campaigning for change. Many are tourist towns, similar to Echuca Moama, and the vast majority of locals and tourists are embracing the ‘inconvenience’ of no plastic bags.
We can all do our bit at home, school, work and in our community to reduce the amount of single-use plastics we use and become more aware of our every day choices.
The PBFEM movement delivers practical ideas in spades and broadens our perspective on what it means to be plastic bag free and embraces the mantra of small change, big difference.
Australians use more than 10 million single-use plastic bags every day and once discarded these bags have a devastating impact on our environment, particularly on precious marine life.
These ‘handy’ plastic bags are also built to last, with research indicating one bag will survive for 1000 years – bloody hell!
And despite an obvious groundswell of support for ditching our reliance on plastic items it seems Australians are a little behind the rest of the pack when it comes to reducing waste and eliminating single-use plastics.
Clearly it’s time to act but where do we start?
Let’s take a quick look at the big four items when it comes to single-use plastics and one simple alternative for each:
Yes, eliminating all plastic from our lives is a huge undertaking, and a little overwhelming, however we can all play a part to reduce our reliance on plastic items.
In the meantime choose one area where you can reduce your plastic intake this week and let us know how you go over on our social pages.
Thanks to Samantha and the PBFEM crew for highlighting an important social and environmental issue which clearly needs our attention.
Yours in Spreading the Good Stuff,
#spreadingthegoodstuff #banthebag #nomoreplastic #community #echuca #moama #environment
Hands up if you love podcasts?
We are a little in love with the podcast world at the moment and can’t get enough of our favourite conversation shows. And what’s not to love? Podcasts offer the perfect story on the go – easily accessibly and digestible – and allow you to either nibble on a bite-size 15 minute chat or gorge on two-years’ worth of epic conversations. This is a topic we have been itching to talk about on the blog for ages, so today we are spreading the good stuff for podcasts.
For those new to the platform, podcasts are pre-recorded audio conversations, available through a specific channel (iTunes for most listeners), which can be downloaded to your computer or device and listened to whenever you want via a FREE subscription.
Despite podcasts arriving on the scene back in 2004, popularity of the medium didn’t gain momentum until 2013 with a boom, which has since witnessed (according to Apple) more than 1 billion subscribers across 8 million different podcasts.
The range of podcast shows is exhaustive, covering both fiction and non-fiction and everything from pre-existing radio programs to in-depth discovery and interview shows.
Popular, series-based podcasts have dominated the most-listened-to lists for years now, including Serial, This American Life, and a recent combination of the two S-Town which, to be honest, I’m too scared to start listening to in fear of being lost down the ‘rabbit hole’ and never coming out. There’s obviously a damn good reason why these podcasts are so popular.
Comedy podcasts also rate high and offer a little light relief from addictive conversation-based shows or drama series that WILL keep you up all night. In late 2015, English lad Jamie Morton started his own podcast, My Dad Wrote a Porno after discovering his dad had written a porno and decided to read it aloud each week with commentary from a couple of friends – genius and pretty bloody funny. WARNING: this is definitely NOT the podcast to have playing with kids in earshot.
There’s certainly something for everyone in the podcast world and the beauty is that anyone can play in this space if they have the time, the skills and, importantly, something interesting to say.
Someone who always has something interesting to say, a good friend of ours and recent panellist at the second instalment of our Spreading the Good Stuff live conversation series, Brady Trelfall has just launched his very own podcast: Tell Me Your Tales and is already up to episode 13. Brady is a primary school teacher and elite middle distance runner and God only knows how he finds the time to produce a fortnightly episode. However, for those who know Brady know he’s a passionate guy and once he sets his mind to something, there’s no stopping him. Great work Brady! Do yourself a favour and go check out Brady’s unique and insightful conversations here.
Online statistics indicate the average age of podcast listeners is 30, which is interesting, and when our recent work experience student, Carla confessed she was a huge fan we were keen to find out what a 20-year-old listens to, why and when? Here Carla explains:
“Podcasts are wherever, whenever: on a long drive, on a walk, while you’re cleaning your room. You can pause, rewind and fast forward. I definitely see the usage of podcasts expanding around my age group. In the same way as books, people are recommending and reviewing. They also feel very intimate, like you’re part of the conversation even though you can’t talk back. And the fact that you’re in control of when they’re played, means you don’t have to miss a beat!” Here’s Carla’s three favourite podcasts:
If you’re trying to figure out where to start try some recommendations from friends and family or jump on ITunes where you’ll find an estimated 250,000 – 270,000 podcasts to choose from.
To help you along the way, here’s some of our favourites, in no particular order:
And here’s the current top 10 courtesy of iTunes:
We’d also love to hear from you about your recommendations and when and where you listen to your favourite podcasts.
Jump on over to our social pages and spread the good stuff for podcasts.
In the meantime, happy listening!
#podcasts #spreadingthegoodstuff #conversations #wordsforgood
Last week was a big week for The Splendid Word. Firstly we graced the front cover of this month’s Bella Magazine promoting the third instalment of our Spreading the Good Stuff live conversation series set for June 1 – which was a little overwhelming but exciting all the same. Click here to see more on this and grab a copy from the Riverine Herald office before our mums nab them all!
Secondly, we hosted our first work experience student, which made us feel all grown up and very much a bona fide business. Second year Communications and Marketing student, Carla Arcuri shared her knowledge and passion with us in the lead up to Easter and we thank her for rolling with the craziness that is school holidays in the Splendid Word home-based office.
Here are some thoughts from Carla about why she chose to join our flourishing firm for a week and also why she loves the world of communications and marketing:
“Throughout this week I’ve been doing work experience alongside the clever ladies at The Splendid Word (TSW). I’m 20 years old and currently in my second year of a Bachelor of Communications (Advertising) & Business (Marketing) at Charles Sturt University, Bathurst and I’m originally from Sydney.
Through regular trips to Kerang (to visit my boyfriend whom I met overseas in 2015), I’ve fallen in love with the slower country lifestyle and the strong sense of community it nurtures. I’ve always found Sydney to be a bit of a ‘bubble’ and I’ve become adamant that one day I’ll settle somewhere with a bit less hustle and bustle.
With this dream in mind as I progress through my degree, I have begun to assume (from my early experiences) that my chosen career must involve big agencies, billboards, bright lights and film studios and would not easily translate into a rural context.
However, the more I begin to understand what marketing is the broader my prospects have become and the perception that marketing is about manipulating people into buying things they don’t need isn’t quite as black and white as I first assumed.
Marketing, for me, inspires people to provide solutions for consumer problems and controlling business activities to unite buyers and sellers for a mutually beneficial exchange. This is what draws me to marketing – it is so dynamic and continues to evolve. And this is because people continue to evolve… and marketing is about reaching people.
In his book titled ‘All Marketers are Liars Storytellers: the power of telling authentic stories in a low-trust world’ renowned author, marketer and public speaking guru Seth Godin talks about the importance of finding products for your consumers and not consumers for your products.
He declares “marketing is no longer about the stuff you make, but the stories you tell” – a philosophy which I’ve very much seen embraced here at TSW.
I originally found Christy and Leonie through their website and was drawn to the innovation of their business, and within such a beautiful part of the world. Through applying their skills in writing they are helping businesses tell their story. From my understanding of marketing, this develops the genuine, transparent and trustworthy traits that consumers look for when making a purchase.
Marketing works to improve business performance, but it also has the ability to make the world a better place. I see this being executed by TSW as they encourage much needed positive dialogue. These discussions create a positive interaction between human beings, and this sense of trust is extremely beneficial from a business point of view.
I’ve been so inspired while working with TSW and feel wonderfully empowered that one day I too will be able to discover a way to utilise my skills to help make a positive impact – wherever that may be.”
Wow, thanks Carla for your incredible insight (at such a young age) and also for the compliment you have paid our business about what we are trying to achieve – we’re so thrilled you noticed this from afar.
We hope to see you again soon down here in Echuca Moama and wish you all the very best in your degree – we’ve no doubt you’ll go places and would love to share our gorgeous patch of regional paradise with you some day down the track.
March 24th, 2017
Dust off the boots, it’s footy season and we’re spreading the good stuff for all forms of AFL: a connector of people and the community.
I’m not your most dedicated AFL fan (more of a cricket lover), however I do love the idea of weather cool enough to pull on a beanie and rugging up for a game of footy, local or otherwise.
And there’s the footy food of course: hot pies with sauce, delicious local chicken kebabs in a roll from the boys in the hot dog van (if you’re an Echuca Football Netball Club fan) and what about those hot jam donuts? No wonder we all add on a few sneaky kilos in the winter months.
While parents of junior footballers are rushing around sourcing footy boots, local senior teams have been training since the start of summer and the big leagues have already kicked off with the first round starting last night hot on the heels of the men’s pre-season competition. This weekend will also see a grand final between the Brisbane Lions and Adelaide as the inaugural AFL Women’s competition comes to a close.
There may have been some mixed views from footy fans (mainly men) about the worthiness of this ground breaking competition for women but let’s not forget that in some countries many girls and women aren’t event allowed to go to school or attend university, so from an ‘equality’ and ‘opportunity’ perspective the AFL must be congratulated for making this competition a reality.
Footy might just be a sport, played for more than 120 years by men and boys around the country, but it’s now also an opportunity for women to smash through a glass ceiling and for everyone’s football dreams to come true, regardless of gender, race or ability.
For many footy is much more than just a sport, it’s a proven connector of people and communities. Being part of a football club, particularly in regional areas, is akin to belonging to a family.
We know this because we’ve experienced the benefits of belonging to a local footy and netball club first hand.
Flat Out Mum blogger and partner of Hawthorn Football Club legend Shane Crawford, Olivia Anderson agrees that football is the glue that “brings people together”.
Having lived a life unavoidably linked to football for the good part of 20 years and now as the ‘flat out’ mum of four young boys, Olivia understands how the footy community works.
In a recent article for the Herald Sun, Olivia explained that not only does footy bring people together but how it “is the social glue of our community”.
“It doesn’t matter if you’re a boy or girl, an ageing AFL star or a new Australian — you’re embraced by the club and given a job to do,” she wrote.
Football, in all its forms, is undoubtedly the quintessential community sport and we’re ready to kick off for season 2017. And to all those girls and women, boys and men pulling on the boots this season and beyond… good luck and enjoy your season!
Go Roos and the Echuca Murray Bombers!
📷 image thanks to Pinterest
This week we are #spreadingthegoodstuff for social media and the important role it plays in our personal and professional lives.
Social media is undoubtedly a connector of people, a spreader of information and a temperature gauge for the mindset of the local and global community. We love social media and what it can offer businesses and organisations for FREE. It’s where we’ve been spending a lot of our time recently – creating and managing social media content for clients and educating people about how to take a positive approach to the ‘social’ space.
We’ve just wrapped up a three month stint of social media management for one of Echuca Moama’s biggest events: The Southern 80 (S80) and loved bringing this iconic event’s stories to the online community. The S80 has an epic 35,080 likes on its Facebook page, and more than 34,000 followers, and we just loved working with such large numbers to engage so many people. In fact, we have been invited back to manage all S80 social media activity moving forward – which we’re super excited about.
Many social media platforms, particularly Instagram are still increasing in popularity at a rapid rate and many are continually changing their rules and regulations around engagement, advertising and algorithms that determine what you see in your newsfeed.
The Facebook algorithm, for example, constantly changes and the June 2016 version was introduced in an attempt to reduce the amount of ‘fake’ stories on your feed (aka bullshit) and placed more value on stories relating to friends, family and other core values – interesting stuff hey?
Put simply, the key to having your Facebook stories viewed, liked and shared by as many people as possible is to create great quality content and this is where we can help, because we like to write… it’s our thing.
Planning your social media content is also crucial. Like anything in life, if you plan and schedule, it is more likely to get done. Work and ‘life’ in general can get busy and attending to social media often gets bumped down the list of priorities. We know this, as we’re up against it too.
Keeping track of the constant changes to social media platforms, and how to best utilise them, is also a full-time job. Did you know that Instagram now has a business page? It is similar to Facebook’s Pages, and includes a full suite of analytics which can be really useful to determine if what you’re doing is actually having an impact.
Instagram Stories is also a relatively new addition to the platform, where you can capture a quick snapshot of your daily activity and it disappears after 24 hours, similar to Snap Chat – where all the young dudes are hanging out.
So if you’re looking to get a little more social online and want to learn how to gain more exposure for your business or organisation through social platforms get in touch today or find out more right here on our website.
See you on the social stuff…
Image: courtesy of WordSwag
It’s what attracted me to journalism in the first place, and it’s what keeps me in the writing game some 20 years later.
Every person you meet and every story you tell has an impact – changing who you are, the choices you make and your perception of the world.
It’s a vocation with rare privilege and it grounds me, humbles me and drives away the fear when that inevitable writer’s doubt creeps in.
And I’m not afraid to admit that the doubt comes calling regularly.
Especially on the big jobs.
January brought one of those ‘pinch me’ moments when the opportunity arose to work with the world’s leading authority on raw beauty – Kemi Nekvapil.
Kemi is an author, speaker, life coach, yoga teacher, chef and former actress with an enormous presence, and she’s working to shape a world where women stop chasing their worth by cutting, burning, injecting, hiding and starving themselves.
English born with a Nigerian heritage, she spent her entire childhood in foster care and draws on her early experiences of disempowerment to inspire other women to create lives of worthiness and fulfillment.
I had the good fortune of spending some time with Kemi in September last year when she was guest speaker at Imagine The Possibilities – an event I was hosting in a Splendid Word capacity on behalf of Moama Bowling Club.
To cut a long story short, that chance meeting led to an opportunity to do some writing for her.
First came the excitement – then right on cue entered fear and doubt. (Remember Kemi’s a speaker and author…)
But after spending time interviewing this extraordinary woman, who is of course very normal and battles her own set of fears, I was able to get on with doing what I love most. Telling her story.
You can read some of it over on her website, and we’ll be posting another blog here in the coming weeks featuring our exclusive Q & A.