Lifesavers focus on mental health

Williamstown Swimming and Life Saving Club president Paul Sullivan with Sally Leung and Andy Moffat. Photo: Damjan Janevski 212564_01

Goya Dmytryshchak

For Williamstown lifesavers, keeping the community safe may come in the form of mental health training.

Williamstown Swimming and Life Saving Club is among more than 20 beneficiaries of a new grassroots grant responding to the coronavirus crisis.

The Hobsons Bay Community Fund this year launched two initiatives in response to the pandemic: an emergency appeal which would in turn be used to award COVID-19 rapid response grants.

The grants are for those who need a quick turnaround of about four to five weeks, with up to $2000 awarded to local groups and organisations delivering critical work and to support mental health and wellbeing in the community.

WSLSC president Paul Sullivan said its grant would be used to provide mental health first aid training to members and the broader community.

“Keeping the community safe in the physical sense is important, but so too is the emotional safety and mental wellbeing of the local community,” he said.

“COVID has probably brought mental health to the forefront.”

Other grant recipients include Altona Meadows Community Centre to establish an emergency relief food bank, Hobsons Bay Men’s Shed and Garden Group to buy gardening equipment to grow vegetables, Hobsons Bay Toy Library to buy more toys and to reach marginalised communities, and West Welcome Wagon to support remote English language classes for asylum seekers.

Applications are open until December 1.

To donate to the appeal, apply for a grant or find out more, visit