BREAKING THE ICE:
Greater Shepparton City Council community safety officer Joel Board is confident the Local Organisation of Ice Support (LOIS) Group will generate a stronger understanding of the drug ice in the community.
Mr Board said LOIS came about after the council received an Ice Action Grant from the Victorian Government and held an information session about ice in March this year.
‘‘As part of this grant, the aim of it was to really build some grassroots community awareness and what we thought would be the best thing for that would be to create a group, which is run by the community and championed by the community and has its own initiatives,’’ he said.
LOIS aims to break down barriers in the community about ice and encourage people affected by the drug to seek help and access support services.
The group is made up of about eight people who are from a range of different backgrounds and have various stories relating to ice.
Some people in the group are former ice addicts whereas others have a friend or family member who is, or has been, affected by the drug.
Mr Board said the group was focused on reducing the stigma surrounding drug addiction, which some viewed as an obstacle to gaining help. In order to shed more light on drug addiction, members of LOIS have adopted the slogan Let’s Break the Ice and have created an interactive event to be held at the end of this month.
Mr Board said it was an opportunity for people to ask questions and learn about the different drug and alcohol services available in Greater Shepparton.
These services include Primary Care Connect, VincentCare, Beyond Housing, Goulburn Valley Health and the Australian Community Support Organisation.
‘‘We’re not trying to purely focus on ice but all of the other things that come along with it, too,’’ he said. ‘‘Even when someone’s in recovery they may have other issues going on which can stress people out.’’
After LOIS holds its first community event it will remain active.
Mr Board said they hoped to see more people become members of the group so it could gain a greater set of knowledge.
‘‘Where it goes from there is really going to be up to the group and that’s the key of LOIS, it’s a council-supported group but it is not a council-led group,’’ he said.
‘‘It’s a proactive community group that really tries to listen to the community.’’
The Local Organisation of Ice Support (LOIS) Group will be holding its first event on Saturday, October 28, from 11am to 3pm at the North Shepparton Community Hub, 10-14 Parkside Drv, Shepparton.
The family day, will provide food, fun and entertainment, a jumping castle for children, an ice-cream van and musical entertainment.
The day will also feature information from local organisations, including Primary Care Connect, Goulburn Valley Health, Australian Community Support Organisation (ACSO), Shepparton police and the Community Legal Service.
A big part of the day will be hearing from community members whose lives have been affected directly or indirectly by ice.
A panel will share their stories and then lead a question-and-answer opportunity for participants.
All are welcome to attend this event.
If you are interested in joining the LOIS Group or for more information, phone Joel Board on 58329792 or 0447063507 or email [email protected]