Help make Morwell more well

It’s a uniting slogan and worthy of wearing across your chest – “Let’s make Morwell, More-well”.

Intended to be an antidote to the “detrimental environmental effects” of the Hazelwood mine fire on the town, the initiative is based on the notion nature can heal and enhance the community’s wellbeing.

“Our relationship with nature influences our physical and emotional wellbeing,” organiser and Gippsland Centre Against Sexual Assault project worker Don Santowiak said.

“This in turn affects our relationships, social connectedness, creativity and productivity.

“We need only reflect on the events of February and March this year, to recognise these effects.”

The initiative’s first project will engage the Morwell Centenary Rose Garden and all of the town’s primary schools, with students using the garden’s rose cuttings to propagate and share with their families, neighbours and friends.

Mr Santowiak said more projects would be developed, but wanted the community to contribute their ideas.

He said in its ultimate developed state, Morwell may reinvent its image and differing sense of community.

“(It’s taking) a potentially fading industrial area with growing socio-economic challenges to that of an iconic town in Victoria and setting a bench mark for other communities who aspire to reinvent themselves,” he said.

Morwell Park Primary School principal Chris Joustra said all of the schools involved were keen on sustainability and using nature to link into the health and wellbeing aspect.

“I think every community would benefit from a project like this,” Mr Joustra said.

Advance Morwell secretary Keith Brownbill said the project fitted in beautifully with what his own organisation was doing – extending the rose garden through the town’s central business district using planter boxes.

“We are only one of 50 rose gardens in the world with a special international award. We want to make locals proud of their town and make it a destination for visitors,” Mr Brownbill said.

A public ‘More-well’ forum is being planned for February 2015 where the community will be invited to contribute their ideas for the initiative.

For more details or to purchase a T-shirt, phone Donat Santowiak, on 5134 3922.