BENDIGO TIMES February 17, 2023BY Jordan McCarthy
Helping hand: Peter Reading and Larissa Wasiljew from Bendigo Rotary see off Sally Bogie and Bev Hoffman at Bendigo Station on Monday. Photo: PETER WEAVING
SIX women from flood affected Rochester have been treated to a beach trip away thanks to the Rotary Club of Bendigo.
As part of the club’s STAR Thrower project, the beach retreats initiative is intended to provide relaxation, enjoyment and provide a bit of a reset for women impacted by natural disasters.
The six Rochester women got the chance to head to Point Lonsdale on Tuesday for their escape and are the first participants in the program since it was shut down during COVID-19.
The Rotary Club of Bendigo’s Larissa Wasiljew was on hand at Bendigo station to meet the women as they stopped over on their way to the beach and gave them goodie bags before the next leg of their trip.
Ms Wasiljew said the seaside stay would hopefully rejuvenate the women and help up lift them when they returned to their flood affected region.
“Some of them are living in government housing, been moved out of Rochester into other towns so they are away from their community,” she said.
“If we can help them get back on an even keel then the big hope is that come back refreshed and renewed to keep fighting in re-building their community.”
Ms Wasiljew said this was just the first cohort of women to be given the experience with more already planned.
“All up this time round its 36 women who will be going,” she said “Tuesday, 14 March is the date they have slated for the next group of women.”
One of the women excited for the trip was Judy Anderson, who said a change of scenery was exactly what she needed.
“It’s going to be nice to not have to see it and deal with it for a couple of days and get out of the caravans for a while,” she said.
Another participant, Heather Darbyshire, said things are still very grim at home.
“The majority of houses in Rochester are empty,” she said. “It’s just so sad.”