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Reason to Celebrate

There’s nothing like a lockdown (even one hopefully coming to an end) to put you on a downer, but sometimes you have to reframe what you’re feeling to find a reason to celebrate.

Photo supplied by, thanks Ethan Hoover

Getting up and running

“At a recent committee meeting we were talking about our Strategic Plan for the next three years,” said Ms Siobahn Altham, President of Clunes Neighbourhood House. “One of our leadership team said how hard it was to be excited about the future when we continue to battle lockdowns and the uncertainty that comes with operating during a pandemic.”

“They were right of course, but it caused us to look at what we have achieved,” said Siobahn, "Not the least of which is BOOM Clunes."

Joint effort

Reflecting on the journey it’s taken to get BOOM Clunes up and running since October last year when CNH first entered negotiations, Siobahn was quick to labour an important point.

“BOOM Clunes hasn’t happened in isolation,” said Siobahn, "Nor have any of our other reasons for celebration."

“Whether we’ve been in lockdown or able to work together, our community has continued to spark ideas, find ways to ensure projects are culminated with the triumph they deserve or respond to emerging needs in new ways."

So let's take a look at just a few of the reasons Clunes should celebrate?

Weight off your Shoulders

This innovative health and community collaboration delivered real results on the ground for 8 participants. Led by a team of local GP’s and CNH, people scored an exciting 50% or higher on mental health indicators at the end of the program, than at the beginning. Participants are still meeting informally each week and a new program is scheduled to start in September.

Many believe that health and community collaborations like Weight off your Shoulders have the potential to significantly reduce the risks of chronic disease – particularly in regional areas. So much so that in a state government supported initiative, the Neighbourhood Houses network recently filmed Clunes' Weight off your Shoulder program as an example of what might be possible if more collaborations like this were adopted.

Attitude: Ageing Well in Clunes

739 people safely participating in more than 120 activities in just five months. It’s hard to argue with an outcome like that! COVID really isolated our older community, many of whom live alone. The pandemic saw the end of the Senior Citizens’ Club (and later PROBUS), but the community came together during some truly hard times to reimagine what could be done to help people 60+ years (and anyone else who wants to join in) keep socially connected, intellectually stimulated, and physically fit. Follow them on Facebook at

Emergency Relief/Open House Dinners

Finding safe ways to help each other proved to be a task Clunes was up to during any level of restriction. From our thriving #FoodisFree with it’s new farmers market style stall and fridge, to more than 50 open house dinners delivered safely to people’s doors each week, volunteers have found ways to keep in touch that are now the foundation of Clunes Neighbourhood House's food security programs. Order your own Open House meal at, call 53454078 or just pop into BOOM Clunes.

Art Attack – Featured in State Festivals!

For two years the young people involved in countless art experiences from Circus at the football ground to shows in the Town Hall were highly visible around town. COVID put the kybosh on that, but the talents of our local teenagers weren’t suppressed. In fact, during the height of this pandemic they worked with Asking for Trouble and filmmakers to develop and perform in a series of short films that just recently were featuring in a festival state-wide. To find out more visit:

BOOM Clunes - and now BOOM Works

...and then there is BOOM. A social enterprise start-up designed to combine and strengthen all the characteristics and resources small towns use to tip the bust cycle towards a resounding boom. Providing visitors and locals alike with a retail experience steeped in history and that real Clunes spirit, BOOM Clunes recently opened BOOM Works upstairs for people looking for a co-working space to work, think and network. Meant to only be a 12 month proto-type, plans are already underway to see if we can make BOOM Clunes a long term proposition. To find out more, Like and Follow BOOM Clunes on Facebook.

These outcomes aren't bad during a pandemic, are they? Why not reframe what you’ve been doing at home, or with community groups you’ve been involved in for the last 18 months?

Trust us, you might just be surprised at what you have to celebrate!

AUTHOR: Lana de Kort.

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