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Wild Women On Top Coastrek to stride over Sunshine Coast

OLYMPIAN Susie O’Neill has called on women across Queensland to join Australia’s most popular adventure trek series, the Wild Women On Top Coastrek, which will be held on the Sunshine Coast for the first time in 2017.

If you’re a tired woman, busy with work or raising a family and always putting yourself last, then get ready for an adventure that will exhilarate you, while raising money for The Fred Hollows Foundation.

Not only will you reap the social, mental and physical benefits of spending a day hiking along stunning coastlines with a bunch of girlfriends, you’ll also leave knowing you’ve had an impact on the lives of others by helping restore sight.  

Coastrek is a team trekking challenge designed to get women outdoors in nature. Teams of four (including at least two women) will walk the beautiful beaches, bays and clifftops of the Sunshine Coast for 30km or 60km.

Olympian Susie O’Neill, who is an ambassador for The Fred Hollows Foundation, completed Sydney Coastrek in 2014 and has teamed up with event organisers Wild Women On Top to call on women across Queensland to join the fun of Sunshine Coastrek on Friday July 28, 2017.

Registrations for the inaugural Sunshine Coastrek are open at www.sunshinecoastrek.com.au with 2,000 women pre-registered and ready to take up the challenge.

“Coastrek is a life-changing adventure. It’s a chance to get together with a group of friends or colleagues and support each other to be fitter, stronger and healthier,” Ms O’Neill said.

“It’s also an opportunity to change the lives of people living with avoidable blindness, particularly women and girls, who make up 60 per cent of the world’s blind.”

Di Westaway, CEO and 'chief adventure chick' of Wild Women On Top said, “Coastrek is not just another charity walk. It’s a 12 week journey with a happy ending. It’s for those women who want a challenge but also want the opportunity to grab a coffee and a gab, or even a spot of shopping along the way.

“When our girls leap across the finish line smiling but weary, you see that look of exhilaration on their faces. They know they’ve done something remarkable. Not only do they get fitter and stronger, but they also get their sparkle back and help to get the blind to see.”

Since Coastrek began in Sydney in 2010 and in Melbourne in 2015, nearly 19,000 trekkers have raised more than $14 million for The Fred Hollows Foundation, restoring sight to hundreds of thousands of people in some of the world’s poorest countries and training local eye doctors and health workers.

Sunshine Coastrekkers will not only push themselves physically, they will also aim to raise about $1.5million for The Fred Hollows Foundation.

Westaway started Wild Women On Top after what she calls her ‘Mid-Wife Crisis’. A frazzled, fed-up mum fighting 40, Westaway realised that while nurturing her growing family she had neglected herself. When a friend’s personal trainer invited her to climb a mountain in the Andes, a love affair with the thrill of adventure was born, and soon after so was Wild Women On Top.

“The main barriers to getting women outdoors are guilt, time, a negative association with exercise and family commitments. Coastrek motivates women to go walking with their friends because it makes them feel exhilarated,” Ms Westaway said.

Susie O’Neill remembers her Sydney trek fondly.

“I can say from experience that Coastrek is a fantastic way to spend time with friends, improve fitness and enjoy our beautiful coastline, and I encourage women across the Sunshine Coast and Queensland to join in,” she said.

“Tens of thousands of women have enjoyed the benefits of taking part in Coastrek and hundreds of thousands more have benefitted by having their sight restored thanks to the funds raised for The Fred Hollows Foundation.

“I wish I could join the first ever Sunshine Coastrek, but as you can see, my leg is in a boot so I am well behind on the training!”

Trekker Erika Bates, who joined Ms O'Neill and Ms Westaway at the launch said she felt great about getting fitter while helping raise vital funds to end avoidable blindness.

“The Sunshine coastline is full of natural wonders and there’s nothing more satisfying than being able to share those wonders with a group of friends, while challenging yourself and raising money for charity,” Ms Bates said.

“I’m really excited to be taking part in this year’s Coastrek and look forward to creating some great memories and sharing magical moments with my girlfriends along the way.”

Registrations for Sunshine Coastrek are open now, through www.sunshine.coastrek.com.au.

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Community heritage grants up to $15k open for 2016

GRANTS of up to $15,000 are available to community groups around the country to help preserve and manage locally held, nationally significant ‘cultural heritage collections of documents and objects for future generations’. 

Eligible projects include significance assessments, preservation needs assessments, conservation activities and collection management.

The National Library manages the Community Heritage Grants Program — which is funded by the Australian Government through the Department of Communication and the Arts —with the National Archives of Australia, the National Film and Sound Archive and the National Museum of Australia.

Director-General of the National Library of Australia, Anne-Marie Schwirtlich  said the program, which began in 1994, had provided more than $5.7 million for a total of 1,192 projects around Australia — ranging from cities to the remotest of regions.

“We invite everyone from historical societies, museums, libraries, Indigenous groups, migrant community groups — everyone who believes they have a special collection in their local community, to apply for this year’s CHG,” Ms Schwirtlich said.

“Through these grants, you will receive expert guidance to assess the significance of such collections and financial help to carry out the work required to preserve and document them.”

First-time recipients are invited to Canberra to receive their grant and enhance their skills through the expertise of institutions like the National Library — and take that knowledge back to their communities, she said.

Applications should be submitted online at www.nla.gov.au/chg. They close on May 9, 2016.

www.nla,org.au

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Wiley chief turns wily chef for OzHarvest

WILEY managing director Tom Wiley may have been helping to feed the world through his company’s innovative food technologies for more than 20 years, but in March he will be shrewdly managing real pots and pans to cook for the less fortunate.

Tom Wiley’s cooking session will raise awareness of food waste as part of Brisbane’s first OzHarvest CEO CookOff on March 7. 

Brisbane-based Wiley, an engineering-led design solution business servicing the food industry, delivers more efficient and effective ways to produce and process food, working with clients such as Huon Aquaculture, Harvest Fresh Cuts, Primo and Heinz Golden Circle.

Mr Wiley will be slicing and dicing alongside Queensland’s best chefs at the CEO CookOff, before sharing a three-course meal with 1,000 homeless and disadvantaged guests.

Confirmed ‘kitchen masters’ include celebrity chef Ben O'Donoghue who stars in the TV show Aussie Barbecue Heroes, Javier Codina of Brisbane’s Moda, Ben Williamson the executive chef of Gerard’s Bistro and the darling of Queensland’s foodie scene, Dominique Rizzo of Putia Pure Food Kitchen.

Mr Wiley jumped at the chance to use his cooking skills to give back to the community in Brisbane’s first CEO CookOff.

“Wiley is passionate about bringing food and people together in a better way,” Mr Wiley said. “The CEO CookOff is a fantastic event because it’s all about bringing food to those who need it most, but also to find a better way to address pressing food issues facing society such as food wastage.

““Wiley partners with our clients to develop innovative food manufacturing solutions and we believe every project is a new opportunity to improve global food security. Figuring out how we are going to feed the world is an issue that motivates me every day.

“The support we’ve already seen from the Wiley team has been outstanding and is a demonstration of our strong community values.

“My cooking skills are mostly limited to the barbecue and my pizza oven, so I’m also happy to pick up a few tips from the chefs on the night,” he said.

OzHarvest’s founder and CEO Ronni Kahn said the OzHarvest CEO CookOff was a great opportunity for Australia’s business leaders and top chefs to connect in a very meaningful way with those who are less fortunate.

“Food is all about caring, sharing, dignity and respect. It’s an equaliser and a connector and that’s what this event is all about,” Ms Kahn said.

Wiley’s goal is to raise $20,000 to support OzHarvest’s work feeding Australia’s homeless and disadvantaged via food rescue programs, and reducing food waste by redistributing quality, excess food from commercial outlets to charities around the country.

www.ceocookoff.com.au/fundraisers/tomwiley

www.ceocookoff.com.au

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Domestic violence support program Pets in Crisis needs sponsor - RSPCA

RSPCA Queenland’s innovative Pets in Crisis program -- which helps women and children caught in domestic violence situations -- is desperately seeking a sponsor.  

In partnership with dvconnect the Pets in Crisis program helps women and children who feel trapped in violent domestic situations because of concerns for their pets.

"Obviously no one should feel that they can’t leave a violent home. However, the majority of domestic violence refuges are neither equipped nor permitted to accept animals," RSPCA Queensland spokesperson Michael Beatty said.

"This can cause extreme distress to the victims of domestic violence because in many cases their pets have become their lifeline. Research shows that up to 25 percent of women in violent situations where there is a family pet present may remain in that situation because of concern for the welfare of their pet if they leave."

RSPCA Queensland provides temporary care for these pets until the women and children are resettled.

The Pets in Crisis domestic violence program was launched 10years ago but the demand for its services has been increasing.

“Last financial year we took in 122 animals providing 4,100 days of care at an average of 34 days per animal,” Mr Beatty said.

“We know the importance of the service but we’re also feeling the strain of providing that service. Ten years ago we had a partial sponsor but for the last six years we’ve on our own.”

Pets in Crisis is a critical program that delivers many community benefits.

"On the one hand, it provides women with a release from their ‘hostage’ situations and enables families to seek refuge," Mr Beatty said.

"On the other, pets are protected from violence or abandonment and are able to be reunited with their families when they are in a safe environment. It’s absolutely vital that this program continues."

www.rspca.org.au

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