Healthiest people|Healthiest community

Bendigo Turns Blue – city icon ‘selfie’ competition: You could WIN a $300 Coles Myer voucher

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Some of Bendigo’s CBD icons are turning blue from August 26 to September 4 to raise awareness of men’s health.

The Old Post Office/Visitor Information Centre, RSL Memorial, Alexandra Fountain, Mr Beebes restaurant, St Pauls Cathedral bell tower and poppet head at Central Deborah Gold Mine will all be illuminated blue.

We hear the Captain Cook statue in front of St Pauls Cathedral is also sporting a snazzy blue waist coat.

The visual display is designed to raise awareness of prostate cancer, men’s health in general and the first ever Bendigo Community Health Services Men’s Health Marathon – 11 days of activities designed to get men out, active and thinking seriously about their health.

The theme of the marathon is: Make men’s health your business … before it’s too late.

Plenty of wonderful businesses have put special Men’s Health posters in their shop windows to enhance the Bendigo turns blue for men’s health concept and promote the Men’s Health Marathon.

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To enhance the men’s health and get active messages, Bendigo Community Health Services wants you to head out and take a ‘selfie’ with one of the ‘blue’ city icons.

Simply send the picture to us through Facebook, via Twitter @HealthyBendigo with the #MHM16 or via email to

We will accept pictures up until 2pm on Monday, September 5, and announce the winner on our website on Tuesday, September 6.

We also have two $50 Coles Myer vouchers and five Bendigo Community Health Services showbags to give away as consolation prizes to lucky ‘selfie’ snappers.

Pictures could be used on our website and social media platforms as part of our Men’s Health Marathon promotion but will not be used for any other purpose.

So, get snapping and don’t forget to spread the men’s health message to those in your life!

Judges decision will be final.

Good luck!


BLOG – Discovering BCHS: Emma skates her way into a career in podiatry

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FUN fact: Bendigo Community Health Services podiatrist Emma Millard is a former Victorian artistic roller skating champion.

In fact, it was her talent for twisting and gliding around the roller rink that prompted her to consult a podiatrist for the first time as a child.

“I had high arches and was having trouble with some of the moves balance-wise, so I went and saw a podiatrist, had some orthotics made and they made a huge difference,” says Emma.

“I still have the same ones now, about 20 years later, and wear them if I play sport.”

The experience didn’t immediately inspire her towards the profession, but it left enough of an impression that when she was considering various health careers at the end of high school, podiatry ended up at the top of her list.

Emma graduated from La Trobe University in Melbourne in 2009, worked in a private practice in Bendigo for just over a year, and was thrilled to join BCHS in February 2011.

“My heart was always in the public health system,” she says. “The patients we see generally have more complex foot problems and their backgrounds are also often more complex.

“Our approach is based on the social model of health where many interacting factors affect someone’s general health, their foot health, and whether or not they follow up on things we ask them to do.

“I have to tailor my approach to ensure the advice and treatment I implement for someone is done with consideration of all those other factors, and is achievable and realistic for them.”

Continue reading “BLOG – Discovering BCHS: Emma skates her way into a career in podiatry”

Men’s Health Clinic male nurse practitioner Peter Strange answers important questions


Do you have a question about men’s health?

If there’s something you would like to know about health checks, lifestyle changes, stress, anxiety, depression, sexual health or general men’s health … email your question to , direct message us on Facebook or tweet to #MHM16 and we will look to give you an answer.

Our Men’s Health Clinic male nurse practitioner Peter Strange is answering questions and providing important information about men’s health between 10am and 11am today.

 Don’t forget to refresh your browser regularly to see new questions and answers

This question and answer session is part of our first ever Men’s Health Marathon – 11 days of activities designed to get men out, active and thinking seriously about their health. To learn more about the marathon click here

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Why should I look after my health?

Peter says: Good health allows you to do what you want in life. That is often very personal, it may be to be with your family, play sport, or a hobby.

How often should you get a health check then?

Pete says: In your 20s, perhaps every 3 to 4 years if there are no concerns. From you 40s, yearly is a good idea even if there appears to be nothing wrong.

Continue reading “Men’s Health Clinic male nurse practitioner Peter Strange answers important questions”

Bendigo businesses show support for Men’s Health Marathon


Peter Anthony Menswear staff Helen and Leah collect Men’s Health Marathon business packs for distribution through the heart of the Bendigo CBD.


Bendigo businesses are getting into the spirit of our first ever Men’s Health Marathon.

The Men’s Health Marathon will feature 11 days of activities from August 25 to September 4 designed to get men out, active and thinking seriously about their health.

Members of the Prostate Cancer Foundation of Australia Bendigo group have been delivering business packs containing special blue ‘Make men’s health your business … before it’s too late’ and ‘Size does matter’ posters, balloons and men’s health information to stores at Strath Village Shopping Centre, Lansell Square in Kangaroo Flat and Bendigo Marketplace.

More than 12 pubs in the Bendigo area have also taken the business packs with ‘Size Does Matter’ posters to be displayed in the men’s toilets during the Men’s Health Marathon.

The Bendigo group has also organised for several city icons to be illuminated blue for the duration of the Men’s Health Marathon to increase awareness of prostate cancer and men’s health in general.

Staff from Peter Anthony Menswear in the Hargreaves Mall have embraced the Men’s Health Marathon concept by visiting Bendigo Community Health Services’ central site at 171 Hargreaves Street to learn more about the organisation and the services we deliver before delivering the special business packs through the heart of the CBD.


The Bendigo Business Council has organised a business lunch at Bendigo and Adelaide Bank to promote men’s health with speakers including Bendigo Community Health Services men’s health male nurse practitioner Peter Strange and BCHS alcohol and other drugs nurse practitioner Cam Cail.

Continue reading “Bendigo businesses show support for Men’s Health Marathon”

Melbourne City FC supports multicultural soccer tournament

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A-League powerhouse Melbourne City FC has thrown its support behind the annual Bendigo Community Health Services multicultural soccer tournament on Saturday.

Truscott Reserve in Cal Gully will host the tournament from 9am to 3pm with Eaglehawk Soccer Club supporting BCHS in preparing the venue.

The multicultural soccer tournament will be part of Bendigo Community Health Services’ inaugural Men’s Health Marathon – 11 days of activities designed to get men out, active and thinking seriously about their health.

BCHS has built the tournament from six to 16 teams in three years.

Teams representing Karen and Afghani communities from Bendigo, Dandenong and Shepparton will play against community organisations including Bendigo and Adelaide Bank, headspace Bendigo, Bendigo fire brigade, Victoria Police, City of Greater Bendigo, Bendigo District Aboriginal Co-operative, Bendigo Old Gold soccer veterans and United Cricket Club.

Melbourne City will host two soccer clinics during the tournament to cater for open age players and children keen to learn more about the sport.

BCHS CEO Kim Sykes said the organisation was excited that a team as renowned as Melbourne City would support the multicultural tournament.

“Our staff have worked very hard to build this tournament into the success it’s become and the interest and support of an A League club such as Melbourne City is such a tremendous reward for that work and the status of the event,” Ms Sykes said.

“We are sure the players and children will be very keen to learn from the Melbourne City representatives on Saturday and the club will have many new fans by the end of the day.

“A huge thank you to Melbourne City for making our tournament even more special – let’s hope this is the start of a long and successful partnership.”

Bendigo Mayor Rod Fyffe will present the winner’s medals at 3pm.

The Karen community will prepare food for sale during the tournament.

Dandenong won the tournament in 2015.

TAKING PART: Karen members of the Bendigo community played in last year’s tournament under the name of Freedom. The team will back up on Saturday.





Anne-Marie brings a degree of organisational development to BCHS


Bendigo Community Health Services is home to more than 50 services and 250 staff. Take a journey through our organisation to learn more about our services and programs by meeting some of our wonderful staff through our Discovering BCHS blog…

WHEN Anne-Marie Kelly started her health sciences degree, she had no idea what career she wanted to follow but thought the course might lead on to an allied speciality like podiatry.

Instead, it led her straight to Bendigo Community Health Services and a role in organisational development that has seen her work benefit thousands of people across Victoria.

“I did my final placement here with the BCHS planning, development and quality team, which is now organisational development,” the 23-year-old explains.

“I was given the RUOK? Day event to run internally, surveys to put in, evaluations to check and videos to make – a whole range of things.

“And I realised the opportunities that could come from working in health. All the different things I was exposed to on placement solidified why BCHS would be a great place to work.”

Anne-Marie joined the team permanently in December 2013 and she has been busy juggling ventures covering development, education, quality and general function ever since.

She is organisational development leader for the Community Connections project focusing on dementia and says her work in that field has opened her eyes in many ways.

“Our aim is for BCHS to become a dementia-friendly organisation,” she explains. “So we’ve gone out and spoken to community groups, families and services asking what we need to know and do to make our own services more dementia friendly.

“That information is used to create a dementia capacity-building package and we have made little i-stories to help people understand the different experiences.

“We filmed four different community members: one from the perspective of early diagnosis; a recently diagnosed person still in care with their partner; someone who recently lost someone to dementia; and someone who recently put their loved one in care.”

Continue reading “Anne-Marie brings a degree of organisational development to BCHS”

Kirk in for the long haul when it comes to men’s health


La Trobe University Bendigo lecturer Kirk Peterson has learned patience is important when it comes to changing your lifestyle.

 Kirk is taking part in a Men’s Health Challenge with Girton Grammar principal Matthew Maruff and Bendigo Senior Secondary College principal Dale Pearce as part of a Bendigo Community Health Services push to raise awareness.

The challenge leads into our first ever Men’s Health Marathon – 11 days of activities designed to get men out, active and thinking seriously about their health.

Shape Health and Fitness owner Amy Holmes is guiding the trio through the challenge.

“Big changes do not happen overnight or quickly … you need to commit to the ‘long haul’,” Kirk said this week.

Kirk believes increased energy and greater flexibility, a new outlook on what food goes into his body and an enhanced positive attitude are the things he’s noticed most during the challenge.

“Certainly more energy is one benefit. More careful consideration of what I eat is another,” Kirk says.

“My advice is take things at your pace. Stick with it. Focus on achieving your goal.”

The Bendigo Community Health Services Men’s Health Marathon will run from August 25 to September 4.

More great reading….

Read how Bendigo Senior Secondary College principal Dale Pearce is going

Read about the Men’s Health Challenge featuring Kirk, Dale and Girton Grammar principal Matthew Maruff

Learn more about our Men’s Health Marathon

Flu shots: Workplace flu vaccinations offered in Bendigo

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PROTECTION: BCHS immunisation nurse Megan O’Keefe vaccinates executive assistant Christine Whatley against influenza.

BENDIGO Community Health Services aims to vaccinate more than 2500 employees against influenza under its workplace immunisation program this season.

BCHS community health nurses are now offering central Victorian organisations the chance to protect their workers from strains of the virus including the California, Hong Kong and Brisbane flu.

“Last year we immunised 2200 employees in the Bendigo region and this season we hope to reach 2500 or more,” said community health nurse immuniser Heather Hinton.

Employers are encouraged to consider taking part in the BCHS Prevention and Population Health workplace influenza vaccination program.

“Influenza affects an individual’s capacity to work and care for their family,” Ms Hinton said.

“In the workplace, staff can transmit the virus to others by breathing in airborne droplets from someone’s cough or sneeze, or touching surfaces that have been contaminated.”

To find out more about our flu vaccination program call us on 5434 4300

Unlike the common cold, influenza can cause severe illness and life-threatening complications such as pneumonia and bronchitis, which often require hospitalisation.

Government data shows an average of 13,500 Australians aged over 50 are hospitalised every year from the virus, resulting in more than 3000 deaths.

The World Health Organisation recommends vaccination is your best defence against flu.

“The advantage to an organisation to be part of the immunisation program includes the reduction in staff absenteeism and the effects on productivity, if staff are protected,” Ms Hinton said.

“But there are also wider community benefits – if more people are vaccinated, the prevalence of influenza is reduced, lowering the risk to the most vulnerable within the community.”

This is the first year BCHS has offered the quadrivalent (four-strain) vaccine, which also protects against Phuket flu, but the three-strain trivalent dose is also suitable for healthy individuals, especially those who received Phuket protection as part of last year’s flu immunisation program.

“A lot of people choose not to be immunised because of the myth that if you get the vaccine, you will get the flu. But that is not the case; the vaccine does not contain a live virus,” Ms Hinton said.

BCHS visits workplaces in Bendigo and surrounding towns delivering employee vaccinations. To enquire about the program, contact BCHS’s Eaglehawk site on 5434 4300.

RACV Bendigo Shop signs on as major sponsor of our Men’s Health Marathon

THANK YOU: Bendigo Community Health Services men’s health male nurse practitioner Peter Strange accepts a $2000 sponsorship for the Men’s Health Marathon from RACV Bendigo Shop manager Paul Scullie.


The RACV Bendigo Shop has signed on as a major sponsor for the first Bendigo Community Health Services Men’s Health Marathon.

The marathon will include 11 days of activities from August 25 to September 4 designed to get men out, active and thinking seriously about their health.

It will carry the theme: ‘Make men’s health your business … before it’s too late’.

RACV Bendigo Shop manager Paul Scullie said the RACV through its Good Citizen Program was delighted to partner with the Bendigo Community Health Services to promote regular health checks for men in central Victoria.

“BCHS and RACV aim to raise awareness about the importance of making healthy life choices,” Paul said.

“On average the RACV Bendigo Shop has around 50 men through the doors every day and our staff will be encouraging each of our male members to access the health services available in central Victoria and, in particular, at BCHS.”


Paul said the RACV Good Citizen Program supported not-for-profit projects that benefitted the communities in which RACV operates.

BCHS men’s health male nurse practitioner Peter Strange said the organisation was delighted the RACV was supporting the Men’s Health Marathon and helping to promote the important message that many men had to get more active in looking after themselves.

“This is an important message for men – particularly in rural areas. Men in rural regions of Australia may face distinctive health issues because of their location, work and lifestyle,’’ he said.

Continue reading “RACV Bendigo Shop signs on as major sponsor of our Men’s Health Marathon”

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