Posted by Larrie Winzar on Mar 01, 2023

Rotary Bendigo’s Starthrower Wellbeing Project, hosting 6 women last week from flood devastated Rochester, was fabulous and heart-warming. 

In Queenscliff/Point Lonsdale, a wonderful group of local women generously gave our guests time out from their day-to-day stress. They were filled with gratitude for the caring, nurturing and fun that was shared. Friendships were formed, memories made and our guests returned to Rochester relaxed, with more positivity and energy to meet the challenges that still await them until their homes become liveable again. 

This was the second pilot of the program that will continue each month for approximately 12 months because it will take at least that long for homes to be liveable. 

Keeping women strong helps support families and their community and has a ripple effect. Staying with a compassionate woman, whilst enjoying all that our wellbeing project offers, is the foundation of the Starthrower Wellbeing Project. 

Our team of generous sponsors, together with our hosts and other fabulous local women generously organising activities and providing practical and compassionate support, creates a wonderful wellbeing experience for our guests. 

In speaking to our guests individually, nearly a week after returning home, the feedback on the benefits of their Starthrower break, has been very affirming. The joy, happiness and energy that they felt when they left on the train for home, has continued, with one commenting that she was delighted when a neighbour’s children told their Mum that it was so good to have her back (our guest) to the way she was before the flood.  

In our Starthrower guest book, one wrote: “The many laughs, great food and stories all replenished us. The tears weren’t grief...they were ‘flood relief’. Love and appreciation for all you did for us.” 

Each participant was asked to describe their Starthrower experience in one word. The words they chose were: Awesome, magnificent, love, healing, village, friendship, open-heartedness and generosity. 

We look forward to welcoming our next Starthrower guests from Rochester on March 21. 

With acknowledgement and gratitude to the Rotary Foundation, Brighton North Rotary and Rotary Bendigo for their support.