August 8th, 2020Balancing community work with paid work
GINA Lyons says that she lives in a can-do community – and as her story shows, she is certainly a can-do woman.
She moved to Daylesford from Melbourne eight years ago – it was one of those situations where the “weekender” became home and ever since the move, Gina has been helping to make things happen in the town.
She is the chair of the Committee of Management for the Daylesford Neighbourhood Centre, which also manages The ARC – the centre runs courses and art sessions among other activities, adjusting well so far to the restrictions caused by the global pandemic to continue providing for the community.
“It gives people a space to get out of the house, really,” Gina says with her beautiful Irish accent.
“We have a very committed, passionate group of people on the committee, a fantastic group of staff. We’re just delighted to have this space that we can continue to use. We’re very embedded in the community.”
Gina has also been on the former Hepburn Health board, as well as the UFS Dispensaries board. She helped in the fight to allow existing long-term residents to stay at the Victoria Park caravan park – and won – and she’s also been involved with the Daylesford & Hepburn Springs Business & Tourism Association for many years and last year she also found the time to try to fight the removal of the geese from Lake Daylesford.
But it’s another passion project of Gina’s, one of the most loved passion projects in the community – that is now her biggest campaign – the re-opening of the cinema. Gina joined the committee in charge of the cinema back in 2014 and has served as president for the past three years.
“It’s been the same committee in place for the past three years and we’re working to see the cinema re-opened. We’re still hoping to see construction finish in April next year, but that’s dependant on a lot of factors. But given that none of the timelines for this project have come to pass, we wouldn’t be surprised if it’s not until the end of next year. Then we can get back into sorting out the back-of-house work and training volunteers.
“The volunteers love to work there because we’re part of a team, we make friends, learn skills, contribute to our community, and we feel that sense of connection that is gone now.”
In the meantime, Gina is keeping the committee together, working and hoping that they will again be back in the cinema home that they, and the community, miss.
“We’ll have a few run-throughs before we re-open to the public, which we’re all looking forward to, as the community is. That’s why the committee is hanging together monitoring the project very closely.
“We’re all passionate about it because for local people, what else is there to do in Daylesford? The cinema offers all the latest movies, and some arthouse movies, we could do special screenings for fundraising and so on, and it was something else for holidaymakers to do, and especially during school holidays, because we had all the latest kids movies…it was a coming-together place.”
Gina also runs her own consultancy business, advising on workplace issues from organisational development to bullying investigations – and she has now found a happy medium between work and…well, more work.
“I’ve arrived in a position where I can balance my community work with my paid work.”
Words: Kate Taylor | Image: Contributed