Freemasons Cycling Club (Vic) Ride for Headspace 2018
Promote awareness of the Headspace National Youth Mental Health Foundation and Freemasons Victoria and and raise funds to support Headspace programs in Swan Hill and the Wimmera/Mallee.
Between Sunday 9 and Wednesday 12 September, members of the Freemasons Cycling Club (Vic) rode more than 300kms from Swan Hill to Horsham to raise awareness of the services of the Headspace National Youth Mental Health Foundation Inc.
To get the Ride for Headspace 2018 started, Swan Hill Lodge hosted a breakfast that was attended by a crowd of enthusiastic supporters of the cause including the manager of Swan Hill headspace, the Mayor, members of the Swan Hill Bicycle Users Group and some of the Grand Lodge Ceremonial Team who installed WBro. Bill King the evening before.
During breakfast, ride organiser WBro. Malcolm Mann, presented a specially prepared Headspace message board to the St Mary McKillop College school captains. The message highlighted the importance of maintaining good mental and physical health and, that it is ok to ask for help if you are not feeling well.
During the Ride, club members visited and presented the Headspace message to secondary colleges in Sea Lake, Hopetoun, Rainbow, Warracknabeal, Murtoa and Horsham and the Minyip primary school.
WBro. Malcom Mann said, “The reception we received at all of the schools was terrific and everywhere we went people were enthusiastic to hear the message. Stories about the ride featured in several local newspapers across the region and was front page news in The Warracknabeal Herald.” In Hopetoun and Rainbow, thanks to WBro. John Webster, we spent Monday afternoon and Tuesday morning meeting local business owners, accepting donations and having our photo taken. “The friendliness and generosity of those we met along the way confirmed that our partnership with Headspace is important for all sorts of good reasons and we cannot say thank you enough for the support we received” WBro. Mann said.
This year, Lodges in the Swan Hill and Wimmera regions were invited to participate in information sessions and fundraising activities before the Ride commenced. Five Lodges accepted the opportunity. As a direct result of meeting representatives from Headspace, those Lodges have opened discussions to find ways to engage in future Headspace projects that could potentially benefit both organisations. Those projects include finding ways to reconnect young people to their community through engagement with mentors and positive, community-minded organisations like Masonic Lodges.
“Another bonus of this year’s Ride for Headspace was the route; which took in most of the Art Silo Trail”, WBro. Mann told Engage. The silo artworks were amazing, and we couldn’t help but stop and take photos. Since the ride, questions have been about whether we could have a Freemason with his family painted on a silo, considering Freemasonry has been in Victoria for over 170 years and is an important part of local communities where it still exists.
This year’s event was highly successful when measured against all evaluation indicators. Media outlets from Swan Hill to Horsham published stories about Freemasons not only supporting Headspace but, engaging with communities (most where Lodges no longer exist), positive social media commentary was wide-spread, fundraising reached just over $7,800 and we met several potential candidates for Freemasonry.