Community mattersLatest Contributions

What’s happening in our local organisations

By 30 May 2024June 1st, 2024No Comments
Image by Franz Bachinger from Pixabay

The region that Eastsider News covers has many active and energetic organisations that cover a wide range of matters.  We want to keep you up to date with what these groups are doing and to raise awareness of the important community building role these groups provide.

We encourage the organisers of these groups to tell us about your group and let us know what you are currently doing.  We will publish these contribitions in the 2-monthly edition of Eastsider News and also on our website as a part of our Latest News post here.  Send your contributions to us at whenever you have something interesting to report.

Top Image by Franz Bachinger from Pixabay

May 2024

U3A Ringwood

U3A in Ringwood is part of the larger U3A movement which focuses on providing educational, recreational and social activities for older adults. U3A Ringwood offers a range of courses tailored to the interests and needs of its members. These courses might include things like art classes, discussion groups, fitness activities and outings to local attractions.

Membership fees for U3A Ringwood are typically kept low to make participation accessible to as many people as possible. The fees cover administrative costs, venue rentals and other expenses associated with running the organisation. Additionally, U3A groups rely on volunteers to organise and lead activities, helping to keep costs down.

Participating in U3A Ringwood can provide not only opportunities for learning and personal growth, but also a chance to connect with others in a friendly, relaxed and social environment. Many members find that participating in U3A activities helps them to stay active, engaged and connected with their local community as they age.

Our current Committee was re-elected unopposed – reinforcing the members confidence in their Committee to administer and successfully run U3A Ringwood.

We hosted a sausage sizzle at Ringwood Bunnings in April this year. It was a great way to engage with the local community, spread information about U3A and raise some money to help cover some of our administrative costs.

If you are interested in joining U3A Ringwood, please check out our website or email or ring 0481 221 576.


Box Hill Prostate Cancer Support Group

Sal Dugan

Fabulous that the Box Hill Prostate Cancer Support Group (BHPCSG) was one of eight support groups recently awarded a grant by the Prostate Cancer Foundation of Australia (PCFA). The grants are awarded to help support groups raise awareness of the disease and strengthen the support available to those who live with the condition.

PCFA CEO Anne Savage said the 2024 grants will support initiatives such as public awareness displays and information events that promote the importance of PSA testing and prostate cancer early detection. She added that the PCFA is tremendously proud to be affiliated with one of the few nationwide Support Group Networks that continues to bring men and their partners together in person around the country, improving survivorship outcomes for the men and their families who live with the disease.

Of the eight grants (totalling $35,000) offered, two were awarded to Victorian groups with the remaining six being distributed to groups in regional centres throughout Australia. The Box Hill PCSG was delighted to be one of the Victorian support groups to accept a grant of $3,900.

Bert Alesich, who leads the Box Hill PCSG, was first diagnosed in 2011 and received the first of his treatments towards the end of 2012. Treatments carried through into 2013 and although they came with unpleasant side effects, the long-term benefit was well worth the effort. And Bert adds that continuing improvements mean that those going through treatment for prostate cancer today will experience considerably lesser discomfort than he did.

Bert and all members of the Box Hill PCSG will use their grant to strengthen their ability to raise awareness of the disease by creating brochures for distribution at, for example, the Whitehorse Spring Festival and Bunnings sausage sizzle opportunities. They will purchase a Group specific mobile phone to enable all members to handle calls, rather than using a personal number of one member or another. And they will also create ‘business’ cards advertising the details of their group for broad distribution.

Most importantly they will encourage men to have a PSA (Prostate Specific Antigen) test. This is vital, given the earlier the diagnosis, the more easily treated. So men, if you’re over 50, or even younger if there’s a history of cancer in your family, chat with your GP and just take action. Remember, too, that you are not alone. There are support groups not just in Box Hill, but also throughout the country, to help you and your families come to terms with the condition.

To contact the Box Hill PCSG, go to their website here:\.  To find a Support Group in your area, visit . For information and support, go to

Fifth English Corner Launched


Minwen Wu

On 22 April 2024, the ‘Mother Earth Day’ and ‘World Bilingual Day’, Dr Monique Ryan MP for Kooyong and a group of eastsiders launched the Balwyn English Corner (EC), next to the Balwyn Woolworth car park.

This is the third weekly EC at public open spaces in Melbourne’s east, after the Box Hill Mall EC (since November 2020) and the EC outside the Glen Waverley Library (since February 2023). There’s also an online Zoom EC since July 2021 and a recently started indoor EC at Box Hill Central.

English Corner originated 45 years ago when China embarked on opening-up and reform. Jack Ma, a China’s top billionaire, met the Australian Morley family in 1980 at the West Lake EC. The ensuing lifelong friendship is a great example of what EC can achieve with Chinese and Australians coming together. For Melbourne’s east, where most of Victoria’s nearly half a million Chinese reside, English Corner also brings community conversation and language exchange.

ACF Community Chisholm, led by Liz Reen and David Hudspeth and others, have helped out once monthly the Box Hill Mall EC since early 2023, providing a rock-solid support to the EC movement. This helps migrants to speak English, but also to be engaged with environment and climate issues, while making genuine community connections.

A similar story can be expected with Balwyn EC. Lynn Frankes, co-convener of Lighter Footprints (LF), and a few LF members were at the launch, looking to assist the new EC. Environment Victoria, Electrify Boroondara and Asian Australian for Climate Solution and others have also shown strong interest.

EC is a great opportunity for immersion in Chinese language (and potentially other languages) for learners, be it Australian born Chinese, Anglo Australians, or recently repatriated Aussies from China who want to keep up their Chinese language skills. That’s why Ian Wilmoth, a Chinese language teacher at a local secondary school, was also at the launch.

In his praise of EC in Federal Parliament, Keith Wolahan MP for Menzies spoke of EC’s strengths:’… they don’t just practice English, they speak about politics, they speak about our community, they speak about our environment, they speak about a better Australia.’ This was demonstrated by the people at the Balwyn launch, including Tharini Rouwette, founder of COMPELL (Centre of Multicultural Political Engagement Literacy and Leadership), a Singapore-born Indian-Australian, as well as Gary Chan, a fifth-generation Chinese-Australian and local coordinator for the 2024 NGO International Film Festival to be held in Melbourne.

Thank you, Australia! Thank you, eastsiders!


Images by Tan Li, Gary Chan, Liz Reen and David Hudspeth