Community backs blue project

Article image - Community backs blue project Northern Midlandís own blue tree was a community enterprise. Photo courtesy of Stephanie George.

Thanks to the initiative of Northern Midlands Council, Tasmania, and the financial backing of local business and community members, a dead gum tree bordering the Midland Highway between Perth and Longford now provides a vivid reminder of the importance of mental health.

The tree has been painted blue to help encourage people to speak up when battling mental health issues.

It is the third Blue Tree to be registered in Tasmania as part of a national program to stimulate mental health awareness.

Last year Councillor Andrew Calvert came up with the idea of joining the Blue Tree program by painting a prominent tree bordering the newly constructed Perth by-pass.

The idea initially failed to gain the support of Council because of the cost involved.

However local businesses recognised the importance of the gesture and stepped forward, offering their services free of charge, while a community member funded the project.

On Saturday 22 May, the project came to fruition with services and time donated by Pfeiffer Cranes, Mitre 10, and several residents and community members.

Mayor, Mary Knowles, said, “In the recovery phase from the COVID-19 pandemic we need to focus on action-based resilience initiatives that strengthen local capacity and capability and encourage
community engagement.

“Never has the need to spread the message that ‘it’s OK to not be OK’, and to break down the stigma associated with mental health, been of greater importance.

“This project is 100 percent sponsored by the community, with cash and in-kind donations being generously provided by Pfeiffer Cranes, Mitre 10, Meander Valley Painting and a number of local residents.”