Mayoral Column Media Release - 20 December 2018

Unbelievably this will be my last column for 2018; the year has disappeared so quickly. I attended the end of year presentations at St Josephs and Oberon Public Schools this week and school is now officially “out.”  I hope many of our young folk will be taking part in the annual Summer Reading Club at the Oberon Library over the holidays. Embracing all age groups the program has been developed to encourage a love of reading and ongoing multi-literacy skills. The theme this year is Curious Creatures. The program will culminate in a closing event on Thursday January 17, 2019 with a visit from Captain Crackers and his curious sea creatures. Keep an eye on the Council’s Facebook page or visit the library for details. Participation is FREE all that is required is that you register your child at the library in December and/or January. Whether taking part in the Summer Reading Program or not, please encourage your children to utilise the great community resource that is our library during the holidays.  Activities include not only reading and play stations, an array of games, colouring-in and jigsaw puzzles will also be set up throughout the holidays. You don’t have to be a child to enjoy these activities but you do need a child-like sense of fun.

Throughout the year the Oberon Arts Council as part of Arts OutWest “Arts in Health Project” have been visiting the Multi-Purpose Service (Hospital) implementing a program to encourage the Residential  Care  patients and visitors to the Robey Centre to express themselves through art. These wonderful volunteers have given of their time and participants have produced amazing results. The artworks are now displayed along the corridor at the MPS and some hand painted fabric banners have been hung in the Patients Sitting Room and I encourage you to pop in and see for yourselves the benefit and results of this program. Many infirm patients some sadly affected by dementia have reacted strongly to the stimulation of having a paintbrush in their hand and a sheet of blank paper in front of them.  Encouraged by the volunteers and working in collaboration with Fran Charge and Christine McMillan Arts and Health Director for Arts OutWest, the results have been wonderful.  As a culmination of the program this week Arts OutWest CEO Tracey Callinan bought her archipelago choir to the facility to entertain the residents and patients, several members of the Oberon Community perform in the choir and the concert was enjoyed by all, many moved to tears through sheer emotion. For the program to continue and expand in 2019 more volunteers are needed, if you would like to assist please contact Fran Charge – 0407 103 529.

Also spreading much Christmas cheer was the very active U3A Ukulele Group who spent some time performing at the Oberon Village Aged Care Facility recently. Council has been supporting the efforts of St Vincent de Paul who will be distributing hampers to those in need this Christmas and I am certain there are many more organisations including our schools and churches  doing similar things – can I take this opportunity to sincerely thank them all. Where would we be without our volunteers, without the positive effort by the majority of our community to build social capital in our town and really make a difference to people’s lives, we would be much the poorer. It is so easy in this day and age to be a keyboard warrior and spread endless negativity through social media and other outlets, I think it is much harder and takes more time and effort to contribute and make a difference within the community in a positive way but ultimately much more rewarding and beneficial for everyone. The community has done this so well this year with the many fundraising and support projects undertaken across the spectrum including by our schools. So my New Year’s resolution is to be a “glass half full” person in 2019. How about you???

Only five more sleeps until Santa visits Oberon……Can I take this opportunity on behalf of all councillors and staff to wish the Oberon Community a very Happy Christmas and a Safe and Exciting New Year.