Swan Hill Leisure Centre has launched an innovative program to support those in the community who have been negatively impacted by drugs and alcohol.
Developed as a trial in 2022 by Youth Activation Officer, Dani Fleming with Swan Hill Rural Council’s Youth Support Officer Will Burns, the program provided an insight into the struggles within the community.
The Shift Program is designed for people who are using substances to ‘shift’ their mindset to an alternative pathway. During weekly sessions, six local participants engage in various physical activities in the gym as well as listen to a range of guest speakers from the community, benefiting from both their experience and knowledge. These guest speakers are fully funded by Swan Hill Council’s Youth Inc and include;
- Local Police officers to build a better rapport
- Paramedics to ensure participants understand what to do when seeking medical help
- A mental health nurse to discuss issues including depression and anxiety
- Swan Hill Hospital Community Health Nurse delivering discussions on drug safety
- Yoga and mindfulness led by Dani Fleming
- A dietitian for healthy eating
- Guidance from Western District Employment Agency and School Leavers Employment Support on post-education employment options
“As a Youth Activation Officer, this has been a real eye opener into just how much alcohol and drugs affects all members of our community,” said Ms Fleming.
“With the support of Swan Hill Council, The Shift program is making a difference in the lives of our community members, and it’s rewarding to witness the small increments of change in the six participants on a weekly basis”.
Demonstrating the impact and wide reach of The Shift Program, Swan Hill Special School has now added the initiative to its 2023 curriculum after increased use of alcohol and other drugs within its student body.
The Shift program will continue throughout 2023 with a wider range of participants taking part in the program. “It is our hope the program will be welcoming to our community members from all walks of life. Our intention is to understand their struggles and provide a program where all feel accepted and empowered,” Ms Fleming concluded.
Belgravia Leisure strives to support all in the community to connect and benefit from the services, programs and facilities it provides in Australia and New Zealand. Through participation in these experiences, all people are provided access to opportunities that can contribute to improved health and happiness, irrespective of any personal characteristic or circumstance.
To find out more about Swan Hill Leisure Centre, visit their website here.