New Early Learning initiative to help ease childcare shortage

A new purpose-built early learning facility at St Paul’s Catholic School in Bridgewater opened its doors in February. Ludo is a CatholicCare initiative which was developed in partnership with Catholic Education Tasmania. Named after the Latin word for ‘I play’, Ludo is a new play based learning and care environment for children and their families, with the design to support children’s transition to school.

The centre caters to children aged 3-5, offering a play-based learning program. The centre provides short and long day options, before and after school care, and vacation care.

Play in action

Toni, a community and family engagement officer at Ludo, supports families whose children need help with learning and adjusting to a structured environment. Kristy Gilroy, a lead educator at the centre, makes sure that Ludo is a democratic space for children. “We recognise that children are competent and creative and that they have a right to participate in the process of learning,” Kristy said. “We view children as unique and promote a collaborative process in our journey together. We gauge the children’s interests, and plan our activities based on that.”

Ludo is a valuable addition to the area but may not quite ease the demand for parents living in Brighton. According to a 2022 report released by the Mitchell Institute and Victoria University, 61% of Tasmanians live in an area with an acute childcare shortage, with Brighton being named as the local government area with the lowest childcare availability.

Get excited for Get Fit Get Healthy

Get Fit Get Healthy is bringing fun and energetic Zumba classes to Bridgewater. The free fitness classes are open to everyone. This term Rhonda Anthony from Zumba is sharing her knowledge over 10 weeks of fun at the Brighton Civic Centre, every Friday morning from 10am to 11am.

Rhonda and a happy class

Project Coordinator Barb Daly said, “After I completed the Centacare Evolve Housing’s Neighbourhood Leadership program, I was given the chance to come up with an idea for a project for the community. This is just one of the fantastic ideas that was presented and here I am six months later making it a reality.”

Barb hopes the project will help community members struggling with isolation, depression and mental health, to help build and maintain relationships, mental wellbeing and self confidence in a fun, safe and supportive environment. “My hope is with enough community involvement I can continue to build this project and have classes of all ranges,” she said.

Barb has already applied for a Community grant for some Spring/Summer classes. For more information on the free classes you can follow the group on Facebook at Brighton Zumba Classes.

Old Beach Cricket Club sports new solar system

A new 7kW rooftop solar system installed on the Old Beach Cricket Club shed is expected to save the club significantly on power bills.

Old Beach Cricket Club chairperson and office bearer, Ross Wooldridge, said the solar system would alleviate increasing electricity costs for the club. “The Old Beach Cricket Club would like to thank Brighton Council for the very generous $4,500 contribution to make the solar project happen, which was matched by the Tasmanian Government Department of Communities, through the Solar Power for Sporting Clubs Program,” Ross said. The Old Beach Cricket Club have wanted to install solar panels for many years and are glad the upfront cost and other barriers could be overcome.

Ross Woolridge is proud of the newly installed solar system on the Old Beach Cricket Club shed

Brighton Mayor Leigh Gray congratulated the Old Beach Cricket Club for leading by example. “Brighton Council were pleased to see the ingenuity of the Old Beach Cricket Club in finding co-contributions towards the upfront cost of the system and commend the idea coming from the Club to begin with.”

“Brighton Council is deeply committed to reducing corporate greenhouse gas emissions by 30% by 2030 on the pathway to zero emission by 2040. Community groups and local government are working together to reduce emissions one step at a time by installing solar, improving energy efficiency, conserving our resources, and reducing waste to landfill through the introduction of the Food Organics and Garden Organics (FOGO) waste collection service,” said Mayor Gray.

Brighton Council’s action on climate change is outlined in the Climate Change and Resilience Strategy 2019 and is demonstrated through the implementation of 15 greenhouse gas emission reduction measures, saving over 1,700 tonnes of carbon dioxide from being released each year.

For further information on Brighton Council’s climate change measures, such as the sustainability in schools program see:

Centacare Evolve Housing: 2022 Youth Week Event

Over 110 young people within the Brighton community came together to celebrate our amazing youth at the Gagebrook Skate Park in an event hosted
by Centacare Evolve Housing.

Youth enjoying BMX activity by Southern City BMX

Youth Week is the largest celebration of young people within the Tasmanian youth calendar, providing an opportunity for young people aged 12-25 to
be heard, celebrated, and to have fun. The 2022 theme, ‘Youth: Next Gen’ recognises Tasmania’s future – the next generation of young leaders, changemakers, influencers and visionaries who are shaping our State.

Centacare Evolve Housing’s annual youth week event was first created in 2021 through local consultation from community and the want to celebrate our talented young people who contribute to local community wellbeing.

“There is a lot of stigma about youth and we wanted to do something positive and challenge the view,” said Elise, Centacare Evolve Housing Community Wellbeing Officer.

Participants and Centacare Evolve Housing event organiser enjoying the event held at Gagebrook Skate Park

Centacare Evolve Housing partnered with 11 local youth and community services in area to provide access, exposure, and opportunity to fun healthy activities to get involved in.

The BMX bikes were a great hit and a special thanks to Southern City BMX for providing the free bikes and lessons.

Over 110 young people braved the icy weather and wind to join us and participate in activities by Southern City BMX, Bridgewater PCYC, Deadly Choices, Bridgewater Library, Create Crew, The Australian International
Youth Association, Kombi Krew, Kutalayna Collective, Adventure Patch, CFC and many more.

Brighton Youth Week participants contributing to a community art project

Centacare Evolve Housing have expressed thanks to everyone involved in making the event happen, in particular Youth Network of Tasmania (YNOT) for the grant funding.

“We wanted to shine a light on emerging young leaders and the talent that exists in community.” said Christina, Centacare Evolve Housing Community Wellbeing Manager.

Visit Centacare Evolve Housing’s Facebook page to view more photos and receive updates on our upcoming events.

Athlete Lacey Tilyard making Tassie proud

In March this year, local resident Lacey Tilyard travelled to Sydney to compete in the Australian Track and Field Championships.

Lacey in action at the Nationals

Two years ago, at the age of 11, Lacey joined the Little Athletics program. “She’s always been interested in sport, whether it be football, basketball, or distance running,” said Renee, Lacey’s mum. “She asked my husband and me if she could join the program for quite a few years, but initially I said no, as we knew it would involve a lot of time and effort. But she just did so well. She’s a natural.”

As the largest annual athletics event in Australia, over 3500 athletes of all ages competed over eight days. “I think it was a bit overwhelming for her to see
how amazingly talented Australian athletes are,” said Renee.

At Hobart Airport, on the way to Nationals

Nevertheless, Lacey placed fifth in U15 High Jump, third in the U15 400m, and recorded a new personal best in the U15 200m. Only two days after returning
from Nationals, Lacey competed at her school carnival. Despite being still tired from Nationals, she wound up the Year 8 champion, placing first in 100m, 200m, 400m, long jump, and high jump. She even broke school records in both high jump (1.5m) and 400m (1:01.92)!

Lacey has represented her school at every interschool athletics carnival, cross country carnival and swimming carnival since she became eligible to compete. Lacey trains with her performance coach Joshua Mason two to three times a week. Earlier this year, Lacey competed in the State Little Athletics Championships in Penguin and broke a 10-year record in 400m with a time of 59.84. She also won triple jump, placed 2nd in high jump, and 4th in 200m. Lacey also won two gold medals at the Tasmanian Athletics Age Championships, and is currently ranked number one in Tasmania for U15 400m and number two in high jump. She is ranked number six in Australia
for U15 400m. In December this year, Lacey hopes to compete at the All Schools Track and Field Championships in Adelaide. Congratulations to Lacey on all her hard work paying off when it counts!

Brighton Council embraces reconciliation

Brighton Council has been progressing a Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP) under the Reconciliation Australia framework. A RAP is a structured approach to advancing reconciliation in Australia by making a public commitment as an organisation to reconciliation. There are three core pillars – Relationships, Respect and Opportunities.

Cultural Awareness Training days conducted at the piyura kitina/Risdon Cove by Tasmanian Aboriginal Centre

We’re developing a Reflect RAP, which provides us with a roadmap to beginning a reconciliation journey. We formally endorsed progressing a RAP in 2020 and as an organisation firmly believe it is absolutely the right thing to do.

A RAP working group of volunteers from within the council was established, with approximately 12 members. James Dryburgh as General Manager is our RAP champion and a number of elected members have also volunteered to join the working group.

Since the establishment of the working group, we have commenced informal community engagement and undertaken cultural awareness training.

Brighton Council became a member of Reconciliation Tasmania’s Reconciliation Collective. The Collective acts as a collegial network of community and business partners, working together and supporting each other’s reconciliation journey. Through the Reconciliation Collective, organisations who have committed to Reconciliation Action Plans (RAPs) can be assisted to connect with the Aboriginal community members in their region in the process of implementing RAP commitments, to advance initiatives for all.

Through the Reconciliation Collective, Council attends workshops and forums that assist with understanding our commitment journey and both staff and councillors participate in National Reconciliation Week and NAIDOC events.

Early on, we implemented some very simple but meaningful steps that included flying the Australian Aboriginal flag at the Council Offices, including an acknowledgement of country in our official documents and email signature, and conducting a Welcome to Country at official Council events where appropriate.

We are fortunate to have a Council representative as part of the local Kutalayna Collective. This community group, made up of many different stakeholders, works in the Jordan River area with the aim of making sure Aboriginal children living in the area get the very best start to life and broad opportunities along the way. It’s also there to continually build on the strengths within kutalayna/Jordan River to create and maintain a strong, resilient and thriving community.

As we continue our RAP journey, we’ll commence more formal community engagement in the coming months to ensure the most relevant outcomes from our action plan. Brighton Council wishes to ensure we offer a culturally safe workplace and thriving community for all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.

A big welcome to Brighton Council’s newest member Brittany Szlezak

The Brighton Council has welcomed a new Community Development Officer to their team. A Brighton local, Brittany brings a wealth of knowledge and experience from her past roles, having worked in the mental health sector, suicide prevention, policy reform, and community work.

Say hello to Brittany!

Brittany has a keen interest in how wellbeing can be improved throughout the community. “Any person who works in community development will tell you that there’s a big crossover between wellbeing and community development,” Brittany said. “I’ve often found that people experiencing challenges with their mental health aren’t always well connected to their community for a variety of reasons.”

The inspiration for Brittany’s work stems from her own life experiences. She said she was fortunate to have been able to access support from teachers, counsellors and community services growing up after experiencing challenges at home. “If it wasn’t for their support and encouragement, I probably wouldn’t have gone to university or moved interstate for university or joined the army, so to be in this job now it almost feels like I’ve come full circle,” she shared. “Maybe I’ll be able to do my bit on shining a light on all the beauty and strength that exists in our local area, in collaboration with others.”

Brittany grew up in Pontville and Chigwell before moving to Newcastle, NSW to study social work. In her spare time, Brittany enjoys watching live music, comedy, and hiking, particularly on Maria Island.

If you happen to spot Brittany around Brighton, she would love you to come up to her and say hello!

10-year-old quietly changing the world

Livvy with one of her beautiful Easter scrunchies.

Olivia Earl, better known as Livvy, is an ambitious ten-year old helping the community with her self-made enterprise ‘Luv Livvy’.

Earlier this year when COVID began to spread in Tasmania and wearing face masks became mandatory, Old Beach resident Livvy was scared when she realised how many single use masks were going into landfill every day. She told her mum she had to do something about it and that she was going to “change the world”.

Livvy dug out an old sewing machine from her mum’s garage, and with the help of Google and YouTube videos, she taught herself to sew. After much practice, Livvy began to produce beautifully-made reversible and reusable face masks. Her mum started advertising them on a local Facebook page, and orders for the masks began to roll in.

With the help of her mum, Livvy then created her own Facebook page @LuvLivvyMasks, where she regularly shares updates on new products to her nearly 200 followers.

She has since received orders from the mainland as well, and even all the way from Canada! Customers can choose the type of fabric, pattern and colour they prefer, and the masks come in four different sizes. Livvy also sews fabric keyrings, drawstring pouches, wire headbands, and knotted headbands.

An Easter Bunny scrunchie.

But what Livvy does with the proceeds, is where her community spirit really starts to shine through. She splits the proceeds of each sale into three parts. One third is used to buy materials to create more masks, another third goes into her savings, and the rest is donated to local charities.

Always thinking of others, Livvy also recently purchased personal care items such as shampoos, conditioners, deodorants, toothbrushes, toothpaste, and sanitary items, totalling nearly $200, and donated them to the Salvation Army to be distributed.

Livvy is currently raising funds to buy socks for Hobart City Mission’s Safe Space program, a 24-hour service for people who are experiencing homelessness. During the period of Lent leading up to Easter, Libby will be donating 100% of her profits to purchasing socks for the program. Her Easter products include drawstring bunny pouches, bunny scrunchies, and elastic bookmarks.

Climate champion at Brighton Council nominated for national award

Tim at work with the electrical equipment.

A staff member from Brighton Council was recently announced as a finalist in the Climate Council’s Community Choice Award for an innovative switch to electric outdoor maintenance equipment such as blowers and hedge trimmers.

We’re proud of the innovation Tim Pursell has shown to improve the health and wellbeing of fellow co-workers and to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The all-electric equipment is used out in the field to maintain street trees, parks, tracks and trails, heritage gardens and for general cleanliness. By charging the equipment from the Brighton Council Depot, which is powered by a 30kW rooftop solar photovoltaic system, and from Tasmania’s low emissions factor grid electricity. This produces 150gm of carbon dioxide for every unit of electricity, compared to 980g carbon dioxide or kWh in Victoria. The emissions are lower than burning diesel and petrol fuel mixes through traditional combustion powered handheld equipment.

This small switch is not only reducing emissions, but is also improving the health and wellbeing of workers from a reduced exposure to polluting fumes. If councils across Australia were to do the same switch to all electric hand outdoor maintenance equipment, the savings would be significant.

This project involved a great team of people at Brighton Council led by Tim with support from Scott Percey from the outdoor staff through to senior management and the General Manager. Brighton Council was the only project from Tasmania represented nationally via the Climate Council Awards and was one of eight projects nominated for the Community Choice Award, out of 145 local government areas and 500 cities and towns.

For results on all the climate change action award winners visit

New ʻTidal Treasureʼ signage unveiled

L-R: Ursula Taylor, CEO Derwent Estuary Program, Cr Aaron De La Torre, Dr Vishnu Prahalad, UTAS, Cr Phil Owen, Mayor Leigh Gray.

Brighton Council in partnership with the Derwent Estuary Program and UTAS officially unveiled a suite of informative signs along the Old Beach Foreshore trail in February.

At the unveiling, Mayor Leigh Gray presented the signs, titled Tidal Treasures of the River Derwent, to the community of Old Beach. The saltmarshes and Derwent River foreshore are an extremely valuable natural asset within the Brighton Municipality and provide a great place for connecting with nature to learn about the many ways they benefit our wellbeing.

CEO of the Derwent Estuary Program, Ursula Taylor spoke at the event and explained, “Saltmarsh is not only beautiful, it plays an important role in filtering water to keep it clean, it’s a place for fish and birds to breed and we now know it is very efficient at capturing carbon. Recently we surveyed 15 saltmarsh sites across the estuary to assess conditions and recommend management options, including at Old Beach.”

The official unveiling of the signage was followed by an informative ‘walk and talk’ along the saltmarsh foreshore led by Dr Vishnu Prahalad, University of Tasmania geography lecturer and renowned expert in coastal wetlands. Dr Prahalad said, “Nature in our backyards is increasingly being embraced by communities around the world as an important part of our lives. It offers
endless fascination, enriches our experience, and keeps us healthy in many ways. We are lucky here in the Derwent to still have these remnant patches of nature in the midst of suburbia, such as the Old Beach Saltmarsh. We will do well to look after this special place and let it look after us in turn.”

Mayor Gray described the gratitude Brighton Council has for its partnership with the Derwent Estuary Program and UTAS when it comes to caring for and understanding the true value of our saltmarsh areas. “Each sign features a different species of bird and plant that you will find here and includes tips on helping to protect and improve the saltmarsh area. We particularly want to
educate everyone to always keep their dogs on lead when walking, stay on the trail and keep clear of the birdlife,” he said. As part of Brighton Council’s Climate Resilience Strategy and Corporate Adaptation Plan, Council also works in partnership with the State Government and the Derwent Catchment Group to manage the foreshore and consider the impacts of sea level rise on the vulnerability of the saltmarshes themselves. It’s hoped that the new signage might be a catalyst to get even more members of the Old Beach community involved in caring for the foreshore area and grow a local Landcare group, currently in its infancy.