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Bipolar and schizophrenia:peer support can make all the difference

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Care on Call advertisement
Friends and family are often the first to help us through life’s challenges. It’s a great feeling when we can share our thoughts and emotions; to listen and offer encouragement to one another. Opportunities to talk openly like this can make all the difference.
There are many people who live with bipolar and schizophrenia who are just like you. They too want to relate with someone, to talk about the issues confronting them. This was certainly the case for Peter Howard, a 23 year old chef who lives with schizophrenia.
“Talking to people that couldn’t understand what I was going through was frustrating”. Peter says. Recognising this, a friend spotted a brochure on the Mental Health Foundation’s Peer Support Service and encouraged Peter to attend. Now Peter is able to talk through issues in a relaxed and friendly environment with people who understand.
The Peer Support Service is a volunteer based program funded by the ACT Government. People can meet with volunteers to discuss their circumstances, opinions and to share information on services.
Volunteers are uniquely placed to provide support to those facing challenges of living with Schizophrenia or Bipolar, as they themselves have faced similar experiences. All volunteers have completed specialist training and have a strong interest in helping others.
If you know someone who may benefit from using this service and would like to find out more information, contact the Mental Health Foundation on (02) 6282 6658 or visit www.mhf.org.au or
email info@mhf.org.au

Caring for Canberra

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Carelink advertisement
By Dee McGrath
Carers ACT provides a wide range of holistic services for family Carers including:
.Information;
.Counselling;
.Respite;
.Advocacy;
.Education Workshops;
.Social/Networking
with other Carers.

The Commonwealth Carelink Centre will give you immediate access to these services as well as source information about all community care services across the ACT. The Centre provides a free information and referral service for Carers, older people and people with disabilities to assist them to live independently in their own homes, or to assist them with the move to a residential facility.
The Commonwealth Carelink Centre has information about:
.Household help
.Home modification
.Personal nursing
.Meal services
.Day care centres
.Transport
.Special services for dementia
.Continence assistance
.Aged care homes
.Allied health care, including podiatry, and
.Support Groups

The Centre can also tell you about eligibility requirements for these services and most waiting times and costs involved.
There are over 50 Commonwealth Carelink Centres across Australia and they are all linked by a free 1800 phone system which means if you are concerned about a family member living in another part of the country you can ring and be transferred through to their nearest centre for local information.
The Centre for the ACT is located at Carers ACT at the Torrens Shops, although information can also be collected at the Belconnen office. Centres can be visited in person between 9am to 5pm Monday to Friday or by a free phone call to 1800 052 222.
We also have resources available for those who have English as their second language and for those with hearing or sight impairments. Translating and Interpreting Service 131 450, National Relay Service (TTY) 1800 555 677 then ask for 1800 052 222

On for young and old – Seniors Week a hit!

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More than 1500 Seniors attended the two concerts at the Vikings Auditorium in Erindale. Major Geoff Grey was the Musical Director and Compare for the shows, which featured the RMC Band, Louise Page, Tom Millhouse, Gordon Nicholson, Graham Robertson
BY SUE JORDEAN
The Executive Director of COTA (ACT), Mr Paul Flint declared that this year’s Seniors Week was the best ever. The Chief Minister, Mr John Stanhope officially launched the Week at a Breakfast at the Ainslie Football Club.
There were more than sixty events during the week. Seniors were encouraged to attend exercise classes, go on walks around the suburbs, try their hand at sailing on Lake Tuggeranong, go supermarket snooping with Diabetes Australia, find out about the Independent Living Centre in Weston or attend free seminars that were held during the week.
“Mythbusters” were introduced last year when the Mosque at Yarralumla and the Masonic Centre in Barton were opened. This provided an opportunity for seniors to discover something new about our community. These openings proved to be very popular so we added another seven organisations.
More than 1500 Seniors attended the two concerts at the Vikings Auditorium in Erindale. Major Geoff Grey was the Musical Director and Compare for the shows, which featured the RMC Band, Louise Page, Tom Millhouse, Gordon Nicholson, Graham Robertson, Georgia Pike and Joe McGrail-Bateup and the Legs Dancers. Both concerts were a great success.
The Great Debate was held at Old Parliament House with much style and ceremony. I was that adjudicator for the debate and was dressed in the speaker’s robes, wig and all, and was accompanied by the Clerk of the House and the Usher of the Rod. The two teams, Rostrum and the University of the Third Age debated the topic “Old Parliament House turns 80 this year and is past its use – by -date”.
Seniors Day unfortunately had to be cancelled because the venue, The Ainslie Arts Centre was badly damaged in the hailstorm on the 28th of February, and is still not habitable. We were able to notify most people that the day had been cancelled, but one of the staff and a volunteer set up a Morning Tea stand outside the building, so those who turned up were at least able to get a cup of coffee.
Even with the cancellation it was a good week – It was certainly on for young and old!

Auto Italia 2007 – beautiful Italian machinery

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Auto Italia show
BY JENNY RANSLEY
Enthusiasts flocked to Grevillea Park on March 25th to drool over the 500 beautiful Italian cars, motorcycles and scooters, revelling in the many shining examples of Italian mechanical genius clad in designer bodywork that were on display for the 23rd Auto Italia meet.
Ferraris, Lamborghinis, Maseratis, Lancias, Alfa Romeos, Fiats, Ducatis, Moto Guzzis, Aprilias, MV Augustas, Laverdas, Paiggio, Bimota, Benelli, Vespa Lambretta, Gilera and Italjet. Whatever Italian machinery takes your fancy, it was there!
The best of Italian machinery was on show at Auto Italia” said Judith Hazel, President of the Auto Italia Committee “It was not a concourso event but more of a social gathering. These cars, bikes and scooters are driven daily with love. Auto Italia is a fun occasion for the ordinary enthusiast”.
The featured marque for 2007 was the Lamborghini and we celebrated the 50th birthday of the Fiat 500. Race bikes are featured along with Lambretta scooters who are celebrating their 60th birthday!”
See also www.autoitaliacanberra.com.

Designer furniture exhibition

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Front Row, L-R: Rolf, Josh, Daniel and teacher Angus Watson.
BY THOMAS McCOY
The work of final-year cabinet making students from the Canberra Institute of Technology (CIT) will be showcased on the top level of the Canberra Centre in April.
Over a dozen pieces will be on show at the annual Furniture Design Display, including the winners of the CIT Awards for Excellence in Furniture Making Craftsmanship.
“What’s on display this year is stunning,” says teacher Des Hill, originally from Dublin. “I’ve been involved in these awards since they began in the early eighties, and every year we ask ourselves what the students can possibly do that will be original and different from what we’ve seen before. And every year they amaze us with their creativity and craftsmanship.”
Students are given just one semester to create an original piece of furniture based on a design brief. Although each piece must contain at least one drawer and a door, and feature several types of joint, students are generally free to build any furniture item they like.
“The most unusual thing we’ve ever had was a ‘coffin table’, which was a coffee table in the shape of a coffin, with a hinged lid and internal draw,” explains teacher Mirsad Ramic. “This year we have a superb selection of pieces ranging from an intricately constructed ladies sewing desk, in the classic tradition, to funky storage cabinets, plus sideboards, cocktail cabinets, entertainment units and low tables. The one thing they have in common is the quality of the workmanship and we’re delighted that people will be able to see these inspiring pieces at the Canberra Centre.”
The CIT Furniture Design Display will be on show at the top level of the Canberra Centre from Monday 2 April, right through Easter, until Sunday 15 April.
For more information on CIT courses in cabinet making, ring the CIT Information Centre on 6207 3166 or visit their website at
cit.act.edu.au.

Alps under water-

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Alps under Water
By Claudia Chaseling
With an intricate painted line work and grid structure Claudia Chaseling’s art captures the rhythm and movement of the natural sources of water and light.
In Alps under water Chaseling’s reputation as a contemporary artist is taken to new heights with a series of works combining industrial landscapes and historical and modern images with water (and light, as in the lead?).┬áThe exhibition consists of 12 print media works, three watercolours and one large mixed media on water colour┬ápaper. The exhibition’s centrepiece-Alps under water-is in eight parts and measures
220 cm x 480 cm.
“Water represents life and transition,” says Chaseling. “I use it in a cultural sense as a symbol of survival and sustainability, painting its rhythmical dynamic and its layers, depths and reflections. Different perspectives exist near each other in my work and are visible through each other,” says Chaseling whose reputation nationally and internationally is rapidly growing. In 2006 she won two prestigious awards – the Toni and Albrech Kumm Prize and a Samstag Scholarship.
Born in 1973 in Munich, Germany, Chaseling has exhibited in major galleries in her home country and in the United States, Italy, Austria, and Australia. In 2007 she will have two major solo exhibitions, one in the Staedtisches Museum Eisenhuettenstadt and the other in Kunstverein Uelzen.

Ethiopian artist & printmaker

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Falaka Armide Yimer
The unusual works of award winning Ethiopian artist and printmaker Falaka Armide Yimer will be on exhibition for the first time in Canberra at Stephanie Burns Fine Art 27 March to 28 April.
“Drifting in Time” is a rare collection (more than 20 pieces) of a small number of Yimer’s previous works and a larger number of new works representing his changing focus and style. “I used to just tell stories about daily life in Ethiopia,” says Yimer. “Although life in Australia is wonderful and free, I observe here, as I do everywhere I go, that people from my homeland continue to suffer. My focus now is to create Afro-Australian works.”
Woodblock print making, one of the oldest techniques which few perform with Yimer’s precision, is challenging and truly ‘black and white’. “You have to know exactly what you’re cutting,” says Yimer. “You can’t make mistakes. You cut the wood once and go to print. There’s no going back and there’s no time for tomorrow or after tomorrow.”
Yimer, who has more than 30 years experience as an artist, is recognised throughout Europe, the United States, the Middle East, and Africa. His work is in the National Museum of African Art (Washington), the National Museum (Addis Ababa), the New York Carbide Building, Edgar A. Lipman (Maryland), Yankil Ginsburg (Washington), the German Cultural Institute (Addis Ababa), and the Ethiopian Embassy (Washington). His important work, “Drifting in Time”, was commissioned by Campbelltown Gallery and Arts Centre.

The Chinese New Year Spectacular

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Chinese Spectacular
By Songfa Liu
The NTDTV Chinese New Year Spectacular, which showed in Canberra Theatre on March 20 and 21, has completed its Australian tour for 12 shows in 5 cities but the interest in traditional Chinese culture is just beginning.
Produced by the New York based independent Chinese television network, New Tang Dynasty Television (NTDTV), the Spectacular combined dance, music and song to present popular myths and legends from ancient Chinese culture including those from Buddhism, Taoism and Confucianism.
Mr Zhong Lee, president of NTDTV, said China has a 5000 year history and NTDTV’s aim in producing this show was to facilitate a renaissance of traditional Chinese culture through its art forms and folklore.
The interest for such culture is certainly there in Canberra as evident in the two full house shows in Canberra including an extra show added due to popular demand.
Despite the luxuriance of colour and splendid costuming in the dance scenes, the stage setting remained largely minimal with colour and variety provided by clever use of digitally animated backdrops. This was not a big budget operation but the excellent combination of beautiful traditional costumes and scenes, digitally mastered animation, stories that promote honesty, goodness and loyalty, and fascinating dancing has produced a memorable subtle entertainment of tremendous creativity and depth of feeling.
Helen Musa, arts editor of the Canberra Times, said she was captivated by the show and there was something in it for everyone. Ms Musa said you “can’t go past the costuming and dancing in the show” but acknowledged that she found the Buddhist influence in the Spectacular “extremely interesting”.
Ms Musa said she understood that the show touched on many different levels and said for her it had been most effective. “Not just the eyes, not just the ears but on the heart and soul” she said.
However, the Spectacular met disapproval of the communist Chinese government. Its consulate in Sydney advised diplomats and federal and state politicians not to see the show as reported by ABC Lateline. What are they afraid of such a nice traditional culture show?

Mental illness gets a theatrical make-over

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No Island is a Man
In April and May, two plays will be staged at Tuggeranong Arts Centre to raise awareness about the impacts of mental illness.
Would you recognise mental illness in yourself, your family or your friends? If you did, would you know how to help?
There is nothing so debilitating as having no sense of purpose or hope, and although the statistics on mental illness are frightening, often the experience of living with a mental illness is far worse.
April – No Island is a Man will open people’s eyes to what depression is like as an experience, rather than as an illness. The play explores the experience of depression through the main character, Jesse, and the impact his illness has on his friends and family.
May – Imperfectly Sane during Schizophrenia Awareness Week, Canberra Celebrities and Canberra Youth Theatre participants will theatrically represent the true stories of people living with a mental illness, in collaboration with the Mental Health Foundation.
If you require information or support about mental illness for yourself, or someone you may be helping to look after contact the Mental Health Foundation on: 6282 6658 or www.mhf.org.au

Have you ever wanted to learn how to play the didgeridoo?

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Playing the Didge!
BY MICHAEL ASHCROFT
Alex Murchison, of Canberra based didgeridoo manufacturers Echo Tree, has spent years tutoring would be aficionados in the finer arts of playing the didgeridoo. He has also taught the somewhat less finer art involved with this instrument, namely getting that termite hollowed wood tube to make any noise at all, never mind a musical note. No student of Alex has failed to achieve this feat and now with the launch of a tutorial DVD entitled “Learn to Play the Didgeridoo” no one ever will.
As the presenter, Alex will take you through the basics required to play the didgeridoo. The DVD will teach you how to play the didgeridoo quickly and easily. The presentation is straight forward and easy to understand, where the sole aim is to get you playing, and to get you playing well.
Alex uses the highly effective Echo Tree didgeridoo tuition method, developed in Australia throughout his years as a professional didgeridoo tutor. This method employs a unique three-step process, built on practical teaching experience, using exercises and techniques that are tried and proven to work. With practice you really can learn how to circular breathe and play the didgeridoo! Surprisingly, it’s really not that hard, and this presentation breaks it down for you into easy to understand steps that will have you playing your didgeridoo in no time!
Once you can play a didgeridoo Alex can help again. With his brother Malcolm he owns and runs a local business called Echo Tree where they handcraft and offer exquisite, authentic, musical quality didgeridoos that are both beautiful and functional to a worldwide market. Their instruments come with a lifetime guarantee, and the indigenous style artwork that is painted onto them is certified as authentic with an authenticity label that provides all the details of the artist who created the artwork. Malcolm, the master craftsman, also provides a ‘custom made’ service, where he is able to craft almost anything that a customer wants.
Alex has also recently gained exclusive rights for the Australia-wide distribution of an innovative new type of didgeridoo that has the potential to take the market by storm. This new product range of very affordable didgeridoos caters for children, travelers and the serious learner. They are made from a polymer and all models will retail for under $100. To find out more about these new modern polymer didgeridoos you can go to www.walkaboutoutback.com
Alex Murchison also provides a service to schools both locally and schools that come on excursion from all around Australia, which both entertains and educates students about the didgeridoo. He calls this branch of the business “Didgeridoos Alive!”, and finds it a great tool to promote the didgeridoo as a musical instrument to a large audience.
Alex is also involved with the community and indigenous organizations on a number of levels, one being that he teaches young people and at risk youth how to make a didgeridoo. Participants are given the opportunity to gain the skills needed to make their own didgeridoo and they get to take the one they made home with them. This program is often followed up with a ‘Learn to Play’ course. Alex also runs the ‘How to Make a Didgeridoo’ programs for the general public and calls them “Didj in a Day”, where course members get to do the whole thing in the one day and take their new didgeridoo home at the end of it!
If you would like to learn how to make or play the didgeridoo or purchase one of the high quality instruments handcrafted by Echo Tree you can go to www.echotree.com.au to find out more, or you can contact Alex on alex@echotree.com.au

Bilingual families

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By Mandy Scott
Canberra Region Bilingual Families has recently been formed by a number of local parents who want their children to learn to speak their family language as well as English. The aim of the group is to build a support network to help families access information about bilingualism and share practical advice about raising children bilingually.
The group had its origins in a forum held at the University of Canberra entitled ‘When English is not enough: a forum to discuss raining children bilingually’. Over 90 people attended. They included speakers of Italian, Norwegian, Swedish, French, German, Vietnamese, Dutch, Sinhalese, Greek, Japanese, Spanish, Cantonese and Mandarin Chinese. According to the 2001 ABS census, over 13% of the people living in the Canberra region speak a language other than English at home.
Canberra Region Bilingual Families believe that maintaining and developing languages in bilingual (and multilingual) families in Australia can play an important part in promoting social cohesion as well as preventing the loss of an important national resource.
Possible activities for the future include language specific workshops; a system to share or exchange books, games, and other resources in particular languages; an interactive website; language clubs or play groups; social activities to celebrate multilingualism and show children that it is a natural part of Australian life; and a workshop to help parents prepare their own books in various languages.
To register your interest in the group and join the mailing list, please email bilingualfamily-subscribe@googlegroups.com

Youth Week cashed up!

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BY STEVE WHAN
This is the second year all 152 Councils across the State will host Youth Week activities and we are making real progress in supporting young people to be the very best they can be. With almost $240,000 being allocated to Councils across the State this year, Youth Week 2007 is set to be an exciting week for young people in NSW and I am very pleased that young people from our community have the opportunity to be involved.
Young people who would like to get involved in organising or participating in an event during Youth Week should contact their local Council, or visit the Youth Week website at www.youthweek.nsw.gov.au .
Youth Week activities encourage young people to raise issues of concern to them and suggest ways of addressing these issues, show their talents and have fun. Young people play a vital role in our local community and it is important we acknowledge their valuable contribution and help them achieve their goals.
This year, Youth Week will be celebrated from 14 to 22 April with the theme ‘Launch Yourself’. This is an opportunity for hundreds of young people from the Monaro area to be involved in creative activities such as live music, film festivals, forums, debates and sporting activities. By working with the support of local councils young people will be able to organise events and activities that are relevant to our local community.
Last year, thanks to the Iemma Government, 152 Councils and 18,000 young people across NSW worked together to organise around 1,000 events for more than 170,000 young people.

Warped and Twisted 2007

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Canberra Spinners & Weavers Inc annual exhibition and sale
The Exhibition features new approaches to old crafts as members show works created during the past year: proficiency in hand spinning and dyeing, felting, knitting, weaving, tapestry, rug making, crochet and allied techniques produce unique articles of the highest quality. Spinners explore the use of fibres such as angora and silk as well as the high quality fleece available from local graziers and breeders including lambs’ wool, alpaca, mohair and fine merino.
Many of the well crafted items on display will be for sale and range from the purely decorative to the practical: wall hangings, rugs, household linen, shawls, foot-friendly socks, hats, bags for all occasions, garments and skeins of colourful yarn. The well-stocked shop carries further delights for all ages and all seasons.
Opening Times 10 am to 4 pm
CSIRO Discovery, Clunies Ross Street, Black Mountain ACT
27-29 April. The venue provides wheelchair access.
If you require further information please contact
Helen on 6295 7313 or email e-mail hrhahamilton@optusnet.com.au

Inner North businesses provide

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BY JUDY ELTON
ParentLine calls on businesses from the inner north of Canberra to help link families with kids under five with the community.
ParentLine’s Small Sparks Project is part of a team effort with Northside Community Service, ACT Playgroups, Barnardo’s, Campanion House, YMCA Canberra, the YWCA, plus many voluntary and small community agencies in the inner north to build Communities for Children. The scheme is part of the Australian Government’s Stronger Families and Communities strategy.
How can your business provide a small spark in the inner north?
A recent community/business partnership in the inner north has been the aquaCulture Nights at Dickson pool in January, sparked when Jane Goffman (of Active Planning) and a group of mums saw an opportunity to create a local event that would be fun for families with young children. Jane worked with pool managers who supported the idea of live music and fund-raising on Saturday nights, and agreed to keep the pool open later.
Attendance figures of over 1,000 by the third night in 2006 demonstrated the event’s popularity, so this year funding from the North Canberra Community Council and Tradies made it possible to hire clowns and circus performers, and offer a wider range of foods. Attendance doubled to 2,000 as word of mouth spread, and volunteers raised over $3000 for charity and community organisations. This started out as a small spark for families with young children which has rapidly turned into a big community event.
‘Our surveys showed people mainly came for the music and the community atmosphere, and they came back because they enjoyed themselves so much. We wanted to help families see that having fun is really easy’, said Jane Goffman.
Following this success, ParentLine invites businesses in the inner north to support more Small Spark initiatives. Your help could include:
– Publicity: community noticeboards, signs in your window, information table outside your business
– Discounted or free goods or a donation
– Help with fundraising: such as prizes for a raffle, or a sausage sizzle in front of your business.
– Free service: such as photocopying/printing, book keeping, IT support, or meeting space.
– Advice and information.
And the benefits of being involved? Small Spark can be another low cost way of moving your business closer to your customers and the things that matter to them.
To offer a small spark, please contact ParentLine’s Small Sparks Project Officer, Judy Elton, on 62873833.