Past Initiatives

The Grit and Resilience program is mobilising the community as we work together to build strength, courage and connection within the Rural City of Wangaratta community. 

Below is a sneak peak of some of the activities delivered so far. 

Four Community Partners Appointed for 2020/21

We've recently appointed four community partners to govern the program and make sure the community is heard. Your Community Partners are:

Caz Sammon
Caz Sammon 
 Mum to three boys and a Wangaratta resident of 20 years, Caz has a strong interest in general and mental health and well-being. Caz is an engaged community member and volunteer, with extensive experience leading teams from grass roots to board level.    
John Davis John Davis
John is a recently retired Anglican Priest and has called the region home for 20 years. John provided emergency ministry at the Wangaratta evacuation centre during the 2020 bushfires and is currently the president of Voices for Indi, which encourages equality representation in government and stronger community participation. In 2019, John and his husband became the first Anglican same sex clergy couple to marry in Australia. 
Ruby Sait Ruby Sait
 Ruby is 18 year-old with a passion for journalism, completing her senior year of VCAL at GOTAFE Wangaratta. Between the age of 16 and 17 Ruby lived in Residential Care, an experience which motivated her to apply for the program.
 Chelsea Wilson Chelsea Wilson
Chelsea is an empathetic young person, passionate about mental health, advocating for others, and helping the world change. Chelsea aspires to become a social worker and to work with children, youth and families going through trauma and mental health issues. 

Mindframe training for 39 community members - August 2020


We partnered with Mindframe to provide training for 39 community members in August 2020. This training equipped participants with the skills, knowledge and confidence to sensitively communicate about suicide using best practice guidelines.  

Hearten Up Mental Health First Aid community training 2020

Hearten Up

We have partnered with the Hearten Up Community Program, which provides mental first aid training to people living in regional areas.

Rates of suicide are statistically higher in regional areas, and resources are often less readily available. Our funding covered overhead costs for the eLearning component of the Hearten Up Program, meaning participants were able to access this valuable training at no cost. 

Find out more about the Hearten Up Community Program.

StandBy Support After Suicide community training - November 2020

We partnered with StandBy Support after Suicide and Connect Benalla to provide two training sessions to 103 community members across Murray PHN catchment. 

This training equipped community members with basic support skills, and increased understanding of suicide bereavement. 

Sponsored International Day of People with Disability event - 2020

International Day of People with Disability

We sponsored the online International Day of People with Disability 2020 event, which was hosted by comedian and disability advocate Oliver Hunter.

The event aimed to break down barriers, educate and increase inclusion within the Rural City of Wangaratta community. 


Watch the online event

Grace Under Pressure performance - May 2021

Grace Under Pressure hero-vertical With Title.jpg On 8 May 2021, the Grit and Resilience Team In Partnership with StandBy - Support After Suicide sponsored a performance of Grace Under Pressure at the Wangaratta Performing Arts Centre & Convention Centre. There were 100 GP’s and other health professionals who attended this networking event.

By David Williams & Paul Dwyer in collaboration with the Sydney Arts & Health Collective. 

Health professionals are with us when we’re born, and they’re with us when we die. They devote their lives to caring for us, but how do we care for them? Can a doctor or nurse give a patient the best possible care if he or she hasn’t slept for days? What if they are also being bullied or sexually harassed at work? What if they complain about having to work excessive hours, but are told to stop whining and suck it up? How do they cope with the pressure?  



Winter Solstice 2021

Winter Solstice Image.jpg In 2020 the Grit and Resilience Program partnered with the Youth Council to develop an edited excerpt of the documentary “Solstice”. This also included advertising the online Winter Solstice for 2020.

In 2021, we launched our social media platform and this provided the opportunity to revisit this activity and support the hybrid 2021 Winter Solstice.

View the Video


Be the Light - World Suicide Prevention Day 2021

Social Media Tile_Be the Light (1).png

 In acknowledgement of World Suicide Prevention Day, the Wangaratta Beacon was lit in Grit and Resilience colours on Friday 10 September to raise awareness of the Program and to support the Wangaratta community to be a ‘beacon of light to those in pain’.

People across the Rural City of Wangaratta were asked to show the community that there is a light by sharing the ‘be the light’ tile on their social media channels on 10 September, tagging @GritandResilienceProgram and #WSPD2021.  

Hearten Up Mental Health First Aid community training - December 2021

Hearten UpWe partnered again with Hearten Up to provide free Mental Health First Aid training to community members from the Rural City of Wangaratta in November/December 2021. Community members participating in activities currently delivered and supported by the Grit and Resilience Program were invited to participate.

In total, 32 people participated to become accredited Mental Health First Aiders, learning how to assist someone who may be experiencing a mental health problem, or mental health crisis, until appropriate professional help is received or the crisis resolves. 

For more information about Hearten Up's work with the Wangaratta community and Mental Health First Aid click here



Listening To Voices Performance & Workshop - December 2021

Listening to Voices Theatre performedimage-listening-to-voices.jpg Hero of Myself at the Wangaratta Performing Arts Centre on Wednesday 15 December 2021, supported by Grit and Resilience Program in partnership with the Rural City of Wangaratta’s Community Resilience and Recovery Program and Gateway Health.  

Hero of Myself is an award winning, heartfelt, unique performance directed by one of Australia’s most experienced community development artists, Catherine Simmonds OAM.  

Throughout the performance, presumptions and preconceptions about mental health are highlighted and questioned by actual accounts that are powerful, warm and hopeful.  

A workshop with the Listening to Voices crew and creative director Catherine Simmonds was provided the following day on Thursday 16 December providing an opportunity for participants to connect, reflect and workshop their own stories. 

For more information about Listening to Voices, click here



Mutual Self-help Support Group Facilitator Training - February 2022

In February 2022, 15 passionate people participated in training to become peer support group facilitators, including 5 members of Wangaratta Area Suicide Prevention (WASP).

The two and a half day training program gave participants the knowledge, skills and confidence to become effective group leaders and run effective self-help groups, including suicide bereavement support groups.

WASP is preparing to establish a support group for those bereaved by suicide, and the newly trained members will play a vital role in making sure the group is safe and supported. 

The training was funded by Murray PHN, delivered by Anxiety Recovery Centre (ARC Vic) and supported by the Grit and Resilience Program.



WASP Logo Competition

WASP Winning Logo.PNG The Wangaratta Suicide Prevention Network reformed as WASP (Wangaratta Area Suicide Prevention) in late 2021 and needed a new logo to go with their new name. WASP ran a logo design competition inviting community members to design and submit a logo idea that reflects the purpose of WASP, which is:  

“Mental health awareness and suicide prevention across the Rural City of Wangaratta.” 

The competition closed on 28 February 2022 with the winning logo announced on 17 March 2022. The winning logo will be used for branding purposes on all forms of WASP media and merchandise.  

The competition details are included below for information purposes, however please note that the competition is now closed

Competition Details (historic)

  1. Download and complete the entry form(PDF, 151KB).
  2. Create your design using no more than three colours and no text.
  3. Submit your entry either: 
  • Electronic submission: email your entry form and design in PDF format to:
  • Hardcopy: drop your entry form and design off at the Council office, Government Centre Wangaratta, or the Wangaratta Library.

Important Dates  

Competition opened: 9am Monday 14 February 2022

Competition closed: 4pm Monday 28 February 2022

WASP shortlisted the top three entries and presented to the community for voting.  

The winning logo was announced on the WASP Facebook page on Thursday 17 March. 

The top ten entries will also be displayed in the Grit and Resilience gallery located in the Wangaratta Visitor Information Centre throughout April-June 2022.


Community Garden Open Day - Sunday 20 March 2022

Community Garden.png Community gardens are a great way of connecting with others in your community and getting involved in gardening and growing food.

The Wangaratta Community Garden in partnership with Grit and Resilience and the Rural City of Wangaratta, held an open day on Sunday 20 March from 9am – 12pm at 36 Wills Street Wangaratta.

The open day included guided tours of the garden with Wangaratta Community Garden members, learning about ways to get involved as an edible garden grower, or simply as a social member.

Community Garden members provided guidance and inspiration on growing fruit and vegetables at home, the best time of year for planting, and how to start a compost. There was also live cooking demonstrations on making easy, affordable, and delicious meals using whatever you have at home. 


Whitfield Family Movie Night - Saturday 23 April 2022

Whitfield Movie Night Post.png In partnership with Kerbside Cafe, the King River & District Fishing Club and local King Valley residents, we supported a family movie night at the Whitfield Recreation Reserve on Saturday 23 April. The feature movie was Clifford the Big Red Dog.  


The event was an opportunity for families and local residents to come together and connect for an evening of outdoor cinema fun. 

More Information 


Project 365 - U Can Cry


Project 365 is a group of community members who have all been impacted by mental health or suicide, either through their own experience, or by supporting others on their journey. With a shared love of music, the group formed a band, called U Can Cry.

The project which was about starting a conversation about mental health and spreading the message 'It's okay not to be okay'. They practiced their songs for 365 days before performing two shows at the Wangaratta Performing Arts and Convention Centre on May 7 and 8 2022.

From the performances they raised over $30,000 which they donated to Give Wangaratta, a sub fund of the Into Our Hands Foundation.

The Grit and Resilience Program supported U Can Cry on their 365 day journey, helping them to achieve their goal of performing on stage for the Rural City of Wangaratta community and to raise awareness of mental health. 


EMDR Training - May 2022

MicrosoftTeams-image (14).png In partnership with Gateway Health, Grit and Resilience supported delivery of Eye Movement Desensitisation and Reprocessing (EMDR) training in Wangaratta in May 2022. 
EMDR Therapy is recommended by the World Health Organization for the treatment of PTSD in adults and children (2013) and included in the MBS Focused Psychological Strategies. This training helped the mental health professionals who attended to develop skills in high level trauma treatment to support and build the resilience of their communities. The participants are now on their way to becoming accredited practitioners for the north east region.


The training was provided by Trauma Recovery Network Australia and the Rotary Districts 9800 and 9820 who fully funded the training as part of the bushfire recovery response to the 2019-20 Victorian bushfires.  

Art is in Our Heart Workshops & Exhibition April - June 2022

Art is in our Heart Group_cropped.pngOn 1 April 2022, the Grit and Resilience gallery at the Wangaratta Visitor Information Centre was launched with an opening event for the Wangaratta community.  

From April to June 2022 the gallery exhibited the artworks created by community members in a series of free and inclusive workshops organised by the Art is in our Heart group.  Nine workshops were delivered over the three months, with most quickly booking out and receiving highly positive feedback. 

Art is in our Heart formed with the support of the Grit and Resilience Program in late 2021 with the aim of providing opportunities for people to connect through art as a medium.   

On the back of this success, the Wangaratta Library partnered with Art is in our Heart and the Grit and Resilience Program to extend the series of workshops for a further three months from July-September 2022.  

Winter Solstice June 2022 - Free Group Bus

Winter Solstice (1).png On the longest night of the year, Survivors of Suicide & Friends hosts an event to bring together the community in commemoration of those who have died by suicide. Held annually in Albury on June 21, the Winter Solstice is a free event for all. 

This was the third year that Grit and Resilience supported the event and in 2022 arranged a free bus transfer service for residents of the Rural City of Wangaratta to attend the event, to share in the experience with others whose lives have been touched by suicide, or in support of friends and loved ones.


Grit and Resilience Heartbeat 4 - June 2022

Heartbeat 4 (8).png Every three months the Grit and Resilience team get together with community to talk about the Program activities to share information and learnings and to support community participation in the Program design.  

The Program team held their fourth Heartbeat in June 2022 inviting community members and stakeholders to join them for a discussion and to share experiences of the Program so far. This Heartbeat was also an opportunity to help shape the direction of the Program and activities for the remainder of the funding period. 

Participants responded to questions about four key areas of the Program. The sessions were provided face-to-face and online, with an opportunity to provide a written response for those who were unable to attend.    

Mindframe Training - July 2022

Mindframe Training - FB (Instagram Post) (1).png The Grit and Resilience Program partnered with Everymind to bring Mindframe training to Wangaratta in July 2022. The training is intended to empower and equip the local community and organisations to safely communicate about suicide and suicide prevention.  

Two online training sessions were delivered for the Rural City of Wangaratta. The first session, on Tuesday 5 July, was for organisations, communications teams and local media with a focus on upskilling key spokespeople and those in media and communication roles to provide safe comment and reporting. 

The second session on Wednesday 6 July, was open for all community members and provided an in-depth look at the Mindframe guidelines and safe and responsible ways to communicate including about personal experience, help-seeking and selfcare. 

Art is in Our Heart - Inclusive Art Workshops - July - September 2022

Art is in the Heart logo w font (1).jpg Art is in our Heart are a group that formed with the support of the Grit and Resilience Program in late 2021.

The group held a series of art workshops across the Rural City of Wangaratta from April – June 2022. Following the success of these workshops, the group formed a partnership with the Wangaratta Library to deliver an additional 13 workshops from July – September 2022.

The workshops were free and accessible for all members of the community to connect through creative expression.  

Workshops included: 

  • Watercolour monsters 

  • Rock painting 

  • Mindfulness 

  • Lino cut printing 

  • iPhone photography 

  • Paint pouring 

  • Cake decorating 

  • Vision boarding  

  • Quilling 

  • Meat smoking 

  • R U OK? Day Morning Tea 

  • Cosplay  

  • Recycled Art (in partnership with RCoW Youth Services) 


The Grit and Resilience Festival - 10 October 2022

GNR-005 Grit and Resilience Festival social.jpg We marked World Mental Health Day on Monday 10 October 2022, with the first Grit and Resilience Festival in partnership with Mind Australia and the Centre Against Violence.

Over 200 community members took part in the Festival in King George Gardens between 4-6pm. 

The Festival included over 20 mental health and wellbeing services each providing fun and engaging activities, set to a festival backdrop of live music, drop-in yoga sessions, food, drink and fun.