In this week’s episode, Geoff is talking who is representing George Town Council, winner of the Get Moving Tasmania Physical Activity Award in the 2022 Tasmanian Community Achievement Awards.
Ever since I was a little boy, I have always loved sport and recreation.
Master of business (Sport management) – Deakin University (Received a scholarship)
Bachelor of business management (Distinction)
Worked for the State Sport Centres Trust that managed the Melbourne Sports and Aquatics centre, lakeside Stadium, and state netball and hockey centre in Melbourne, before moving to Tasmania to work for the George Town Council as a Community Officer for Sport, Recreation, Events, Health and Wellbeing.
I am so grateful to have the opportunity to make a difference, and help grow a community. I am very passionate about working towards providing a platform to the people of a community that lack opportunities that they deserve.
Utilising my knowledge, skill and experience in making someone else’s life better is what keeps me going.
Apart from my professional career, I play cricket for the Greater Northern Raiders, which represent Northern Tasmania in the State League.
A good cappuccino along with an almond croissant is my simple pleasure.
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Welcome to the inspirational Australians podcast where we chat to people who are making a difference in their communities and in the lives of others. And here is your host for today. Geoff Griffin. Welcome to the inspirational Australians podcast stories of inspiring achievements and community contribution. Every week we celebrate an award program category, winner or finalists. We hope you’ll be inspired and encouraged to know that Australia is in good hands, together with our corporate partners and not for profit partners, awards, Australia, showcase ordinary people from right across Australia. Doing extraordinary things. If you enjoy hearing the stories of our inspirational Australians, please subscribe. Write us and review us. We really appreciate it. This week’s podcast guest is Dravid Rao, who is representing George Town Council. They were the winners of the get moving Tasmania physical activity award in the Tasmanian community achievement awards for the healthy George Town program. Dravid, welcome to the podcast.
Thanks Geoff. Thank you for having me really excited to be speaking with you today.
Beautiful. But for those who don’t know about George Town , where is it? And what are some of the major attractions that people should go to George Town for.
Right, said Geoff, I call it the God’s country. It’s a beautiful seaside principality located in the northern part of Tasmania. It’s the third oldest settlement in the country, so it’s got a very rich history. And we’ve got historic museums, one of the best mountain bike trails in the state. We’ve got some beautiful beaches, breathtaking views. I’m also, I must say that we’ve got the freshest fish and chips in Tasmania. I have lovely people to be around with, and it’s got a very rich sporting history. We’ve got cricketers who’ve gone on to play for Australia. We’ve got cyclists who’ve gone to represent Australia as well, and also it’s a great sport for fishing, too. Some beautiful vineyards, Berry farms and distilleries as well.
Sounds like a good place to visit as a tourist, but you had me at the Best fish and chips.
It is very tasty.
That’s the good stuff. It sounds like we all have to go. So, in perspective, if you’re visiting from interstate and you’re flying in, how far is that side from one’s Heston airport.
From launceston, it’s about a forty minute drive. It’s a beautiful drive, I mean the roads are really good, so it’s very accessible. And also if you come in through this period of time as you take the ferry from Melbourne and then you get down to devonport and make the drive from devonport, which is about an hour and a half.
That was so beautifully done that was unrehearsed because spirit of Tasmania are a very big sponsor of our young achiever, who would say you played that very well. So thank you for mentioning them.
That’s how I got to Tasmania. Geoff, how did you get the drive over address letter? My first experience with the spirit test. It was a bit scary in the night because a bit shaky, but
they can be better off, but they’re beautiful vessels and I believe they’re replacing them saying there’s a brand new one coming, which is pretty exciting.
I’ve been to George Town and is beautiful out on the water that it is a lovely spot. You’re quite right. I don’t think I had the fish and chips that you’re referring to it. But next time I have to find out from you where that is and call it type type. Does that sounds good travel? What’s your role? George Town Council.
So at the George Town Council, I’m a community officer for sport, recreation events, health and wellbeing. So I support sport, recreation, health and wellbeing initiatives for the Council through engagement with on planning project management and also delivery of activities and events also provide advice to the manager and our team members and Counsellors when required. And also contribute to the development and execution of strategies implemented by the Council.
Yeah, you’re very passionate about recreation and sport. Aren’t you in your studies to back that up?
Geoff, always, always very passionate about sport and rec, since the time during my childhood, I still love cricket always played every other sport in school. You know, I can’t imagine myself not being involved in sport, so I’m a cricket. Tragic as well. So
yeah, well it’s coming into the right season for us now in summer
cycles of lots of cricket. So I know you’re directly involved in the healthy George Town program. How did that come into being in the program?
Look, I mean, years ago the Council noticed the minimal health and wellbeing programs in the men’s body that led to declining health in our community. So the Council partnered with healthy Tasmanian private limited to essentially develop an evidence based project that would help reduce this particular gap. You know, our case for funding was forwarded to the federal government in a post that a pilot program was delivered, which had some great success since then, you know, financial assisTownce from the federal and state government as well as the capable foundation has helped the Council deliver all these programs, you know, it’s, you know, improved year after year it’s gotten bigger, it’s gotten better. We’ve been able to touch the lives of many residents here in George Town . So it’s been a very positive program for the community.
Well, so what’s your role in the
program? Yeah, so with the healthy George Town program, I basically manage the programs start off with project management, planning of the programs, liaising with the stakeholders in the community. UndersTownding what programs are required, what the gaps are, you know, and then once we set the programs marketing promotion in our branding of the program as well. And then post that you have a booking management system which I manage do. And you know, post the program, I create reports, case studies for all, you know, Grant funding bodies like the state, government, federal government and the cable foundation too. So basically that definition,
sounds pretty busy.
It is, it is, but that’s something that I really love. You know, when I go into these classes and I take some pictures of the participants, they are very happy and they thank us for the job that we’re doing it for the community that makes me really happy. And that’s why I love doing the program
dravid, you’re from Melbourne originally. What took you to George Town ?
So having said, I’m from Melbourne, but I was born in the Middle East in Amman, in Muscat.
right, Yep. Yes. I grew up there for a bit and then I’ve also lived in India for a bit and then moved to Melbourne. Did my studies there, you know, got a master’s degree from Deakin University and school of management. So I work for the state sports and distrust back in Melbourne and know they manage the Melbourne sports and aquatic centre, the lakeside stadium, and the state Netball hockey up pretty big. So they’re pretty big. It’s a, it’s an Olympic training facility as well. And also a community facility. So I remember like now to go back to your question as to why I moved to George Town . I remember, you know, coming out of my office one day in Melbourne and I saw this little girl with her mum, you know, had a swim session. And she was very happy. So, you know, looking at that, it all was very happy that I could play a part in making someone else that day better. And then that’s when I realised I wanted to work more with the community. The best thing, the best way to work with the community is work for a Council and you know, thought I’ll apply for jobs at councils. I had a couple of other opportunities in Victoria as well. And I had one here in Tasmania that was a George Town Council. But the other two councils in Victoria, the men’s body, was pretty much deadlocked. Now. George Town ‘s not developed as much so I thought if I could put my experience skills and you know education to good use here in the Council at George Town , I can help grow this community. I can do more, can have an impact on the people. And that’s why I chose George Town and then booked my ticket at the spirit it as one of our sponsors. Yeah. Yeah.
I had good jobs.
And then yeah, a year and three months later I’m speaking to you,
Geoff. Yeah, fantastic. Well, I’m sure you’re doing a great job there. It’s a wonderful community, and I say you can make a difference. And that’s something that we consider as a privilege to make a difference in people’s lives. So good for you and great that George Town Council for being so supportive and really promoting, pushing and creating something special as healthy George Town . What are some of the main activities and then events that people participated
yet? So Geoff, we’ve got a very broad, broad range of activities. We cater for all ages and abilities in our community. I’m just going to name a few, might be a long list. You can cover So we’ve got beach yoga armchairs, cross fitness classes, jazzercise, seniors Aqua therapy, Aqua fitness, kids cardio boxing, and we’ve got laser tag as an Event family pool as an Event as well. We’ve got a great mountain bike trail, so we’ve got mountain biking classes too. We’ve got fishing classes, we’ve got spin, taiji, and we’ve also got a Quit smoking program that we’re very, Very proud of. And we’ve got a kite flying program, meditation and a lot of art programs, urban sketching, drama, ukulele, Tiger drumming to name a few. So it’s pretty vast and caters to different age groups right from the age of four to ninety. We’ve got a nine year old who does well loves his grass fitness that you know, well, it’s really, really good to see.
Have you challenged the nineteen year old to a race yet or a fitness challenge?
Oh, come on, Geoff. You know, I’m fit
Well now I want to get moving Tasmania, the physical activity award was won by healthy George ten. You’re doing so much stuff really is incredible. And I imagine that is quite difficult to manage all of these programs and keep on top of them, but how do you manage their success or how do you determine the success of the programs?
Yep, just that’s a really good question. Have you know, the program was initially started to create a healthier George Town , you know, three years down the line. The program has touched lives of more than one thousand locals. That’s closely fifteen percent of the population here with numerous success stories relating to weight loss, benefits and men mental health Quit smoking. The program has steadily increased participation since its inception. And I’d say it’s really good to see the surveys and the reports that come through it. You know, forty seven percent of the participants on has gift cards were able to participate in our programs. Who would otherwise find it very difficult to participate in people programs. In that those sort of success stories, you know, is what keeps us going and that’s how we measure our success. As to the number of people we can touch the number of lives we can share in George Town . You know, with the healthcare cards as well. Since the start, there’s been an eight percent increase from the twenty twenty program to now of healthcare uses. Oh, yes. And also, you know, this last program that we delivered, we had for twenty one individual participants that engaged in our programs. And we had one hundred and one days of program delivered. And we had thirty five activities, you know, one seventy nine individual sessions, and a total participation of one thousand, three hundred, twenty seven, to forty nine hours of Health and wellbeing programmes delivered as well. So these are the numbers that we look, look at, you know, every year we look at the numbers, there’s always an increase, and that’s how we determine the success. Not just the, not just the quantity of the success as well, even just the quality, you know, especially with the Quit smoking program, we had about eight to nine people registered for the program. We had four of them. Quit smoking completely. Now that’s not a lot, that’s not a massive number, but again, you know, we’re touching one life and it’s a massive achievement or, you know, it’s nothing so. Yeah. So those are the things that we look at at the Council with the program too.
Yeah. One hundred percent, that’s brilliant. It sounds like you got good data and analytics to determine the success. And I guess what it also does is tells you it’s a program. Some reason isn’t working, they can put your energies into something else that might be a need in the community as well. So we kind of always get, get it right in terms of what their needs are. Even though we might be being told that that’s a need. So it’s fine. You do that
there that’s, that’s one hundred percent true, Geoff. Like we can like it’s a community program at the end of the day. I’m not saying it’s perfect, but you know, we strive to do the best we can. You know, to help people around. So yeah, I mean,
it must be perfect if you’re involved. I’m sure.
Are you just being too kind Geoff? I tried,
but what’s the future plans and the goals for healthy George Town program?
You’re looking at the future of the federal and state government. You know, it’s come to an end this year. So moving forward, the Council’s putting in a lot of funding for the running of the program, the financial year. They look moving forward. We just want to grow and develop the program for our community. On the back of all the work that’s already been done in the past few years, we are consTowntly looking to improve and find ways to provide new opportunities for the people of George Town . You know, the end goal for us would be to create a positive impact on the health and well-being of each and every resident of a beautiful woman’s body. Now we just want to keep growing, get the program bigger and better, and hopefully five years, ten years down the line. And then we look at look back and we see the impact that has had on the health and well-being of our people.
It’s something special and Council really is the backbone of the local community and to be so proactive in your focus on the health and well-being of the local residents is really imporTownt. And the whole team deserves a pat on the back for what you’re doing.
Thanks Geoff. Yeah, if I go back to the Council office now and I tell them they will be really happy because it sort of goes unnoticed for all the work that the Council do for the community. It’s not just this program in particular, but like every other program that the Council, every, every, every work that the Council do it is for the people you know. So did you get that appreciation is, is really, really a good thing.
Yeah. When I get moving Tasmania, we’re very impressed with the nomination. As was the whole judging panel. There were so many terrific nominations for the physical activity award, which was really promising and exciting to know that people are really maintaining and developing a keen interest in providing that physical activity for people to improve their health so that that’s really awesome. But I think Tasmania is really all about that, trying to promote that activity and it sounds like you’re on a similar wavelength at George Town Council. So congratulations on all that you do. And I think we’re all getting a sense of your personal passion. What else and more broadly does your role incorporate?
Firstly, I want to thank you for those kind words. You’re being very kind for that. Yeah. So my role incorporates a broad range of roles which I absolutely love, you know, like I spoke about. I love being busy. So in the sport, recreation, health and wellbeing role. I managed to facilitate and implement Council’s plan as illustrated in the Council’s sport and rec strategy. You know, I develop ongoing sport and rec health and wellbeing programs. I oversee the use of Council’s sporting facilities, you know, ensuring they use responsibly in our plan and co-ordinate Council’s sporting services, and develop active working relationships with relevant state and federal government departments. And also Liaise with Council’s facilities maintenance officer, you know, just to make sure that our sporting facilities are Ah, Ah, order of the right
sTowndard, I guess.
That’s right. That’s the word I was looking for. I’m
happy to help. I mean,
that might need a coffee. Yeah. Exactly, and also with, you know, funding management as well, you know, delivery and promotion of councils, community based programs. And more so I managed the George Town swimming pool as well. Okay. So, and in addition to that, you know, my role in events I’m responsible for maintaining, developing and promoting local and community events. So yeah. Event management of all of these community events assisting in identification of new events for sponsorship by our Council as well. You know, actively pursuing Grant and funding opportunities to so it’s, it’s pretty broad but that’s something that I really like. Although I like expanding, you know, I like to learn new stuff every, every day. I come into the office, I try and learn something new. And so yeah, so that’s, that’s what in a nutshell that’s what I basically do at the Council. I’ve also got a new job role, which it is self proclaimed at the lunchroom. I change the water filters on the hydration officer as well. I know
I didn’t hear that in your title when you were telling me before to add that in the job description. I like that job. It going back to last year’s awards. It must have been a real thrill to have made the finals in the get moving Tasmanian physical activity award.
Yeah, look Geoff. It was a surprise. I put in the application and sort of actually forgot about it because like I spoke about all the work that I do at the Council. So I wanted something, you know, I mean it’s good to get that recognition, but we don’t really work for an award. You know, Yeah, it’s actually you sort of forgot about it and then when the email came through, we’re pretty happy about being recognized. I went into my manager as general manager, the leadership team, the councilors, all of them are very happy. It’s a good recognition for George Town as well. So yeah,
and that’s the thing I think you hit the nail on the head. People do what they do because it really needs to be done because it’s imporTownt you don’t look for accolades. I don’t necessarily look people say, Oh, you did the job there, but it is really nice when you get that thanks, particularly when it’s not expected. We’re all human and we all like to be praised, particularly to have validation, as I think I mentioned earlier, you know, having to get things and people acknowledge that good work is real validation. That what you’re doing is worthy and good. So yeah. So it was pretty exciting. Did you get to attend the award? What’s not at the hotel grand chancellor,
, Hobart? Yes, I did, Geoff. That was a long drive from George Town . So on the day we had a volunteer award, which I had to manage. I had to be in George Town on the day. So and that completed at four PM. So I think the awards started as six thirty seven. So drove straight into the grand chancellor in Hobart a, the long drive straight into it. I think the awards had already begun. I think it was ten minutes into the program, but we didn’t spoke. No, I did not know that this is a podcast. Have on record? No.
It’s true. I’m sure it didn’t anyway. It seemed like a very astute and law abiding citizen. And that’s very good to hear because in all seriousness, we’re all about health and safety and looking after ourselves and everybody else in the or so.
So I did, I did skip it came to the speed limit. Did I didn’t reach on time though, because I did get to the speed limit.
good. Good about was Yep. So I went straight in, found my table, you know, got to mingle with like minded people. And then I wrote in the fast that what was, I mean a lot of activity. So I sort of didn’t really have the time. And then when I sat there and then a few minutes later, that was the announcement I just straight up walking and yet gave my speech and received the award. It was a really good feeling. I mean post that a lot of I spoke to a lot of people, it was a great networking Event to set really, really good memories, really
well, I couldn’t get there because being from Melbourne. melburnians were not allowed anywhere else in the country to view. So we, we couldn’t come in to in fact I think they opened the borders in Tasmania, about a week after the Event. But unfortunately, we couldn’t be there ourselves or myself in person, which was a real sad. But it certainly must have been a real thrill for you having put the nomination in representing George Town Council and of course helped the George Town to a and get moving Tasmania physical activity.
That’s yeah that’s, that’s one more thing as well. I felt like it driving all the way to the awards receiving the award. You know, it’s not just me now representing all of George Town , all the employees of the Council, all the work that we do, you know, the people of George Town as well that they deserve. So much, you know, just such nice people. So yeah, it was really good to represent an entire Town , so very happy about the outcome
of it. So what are you, what are your memories? ? I mean, you sort of alluded to just a moment ago, but what are the main memories of the awards night for you and what do you take away from that?
I took away a lot of contacts. It was a great networking Event that met a lot of high achievers, people who work in the same sector. People who work for the community very like minded people. And that’s what I like to do, you know, mingle with people who want good for the community and it was filled with people who had done such great work for the community. You know, it was really good, you know, meeting new people. I met a lot of people from the state government as well, and they were happy with the work that we do. You know, now I know them, I post that so you know it’s, it’s really good now I can just, you know, contact them. And if I’ve got any doubts regarding lack of grants, I can just reach out to them, which otherwise wouldn’t have been possible if I wouldn’t have gone to the awards.
Yes, so it is. It is great networking.
It was really good and I have to mention the food was really good too. You
know, I totally intensely hope that I have looked after it since we began the program in twenty Oh seven. So we really appreciate the fantastic support of the program.
Now is a really good Event. I wish I could go again. Obviously not the same program but something else, some other project.
So how do you drive it? Can I
ask? I’m twenty six now, and I
might have to apply for the young achiever awards. Bahar guy, so that’s under thirty year olds,
yeah, anyway, there’s just a little aside that
not now that you know me, Geoff, so
Well, I can say that I’m actually not one of the judges whilst I chair the panels. I don’t vote so you have to talk sweetly to someone else about the
past. The past half an hour didn’t work clearly. Yeah,
sorry about that. Yeah. So would you encourage others to nominate for the awards?
Look, Geoff, all I would like to say is to all the listeners out there is that if someone or an organization that works tirelessly for the benefit of a community, please nominate them for an award. You know, like we spoke about in the earlier segment as well. People who work for the community never really do it for the recognition. You know, so it feels good when the work that’s been done is appreciated. So anyone is listening if you ever think about a person or an organization that works for the community, the platforms right there, it’s no, it’s not. It’s not a long process. So please do.
Yeah, thank you. It’s very true and of course for any of our listeners in tassie, the twenty twenty two awards will be held on the twenty eighth of October at the hotel grand chancellor, in Hobart to stuff anybody who want to get along, let us know would be on to please for you to be part of that special occasion and do the networking that Trevor did in the last program. It is a really great, a great experience and course judging was held not that long ago for this year’s program amazing finalists. Again this year never cease to be amazed that each year we honour so many wonderful stories drop dropping like healthy George Town that are really making a difference and provide opportunity for awareness and recognition. And as you rightly said, it’s an award for and a nomination. In fact, for the whole community, everybody involved. So I mean, nominate someone that you know or your organisation because it really could make an extremely big difference for
- I mean, having said that as well, Yes. You know, people get that recognition to people now around the state. Know what healthy George Town is more so because of the award that we won, it was at a state level, it was a state level Event. So a lot of people know about the program now that it’s and then the past so it’s, it’s been a real good platform for us too. So like I spoke about there’s, there’s a lot more that’s happening in George Town than just the healthy George Town program. Yeah. So it’s good to be back
and we’re currently looking for partners to sponsor our twenty twenty three program. So if anybody listening can think of an organization in any state or territory that might be prepared or interested in being involved to let us know. There are all levels to suit all budgets of support packages and you can check out awards, Australia, Dotcom partnerships page or drop me a line and check out awards Australia dot com for more information. What do you reckon are the driving passions that make you so passionate about working at Council?
Just a simple answer to that would be my strong passion towards helping a community grow and develop by providing platforms and opportunities that every Australian deserves. You know, like I spoke about it in George Town , you know, every time, every day I come into work, always think about what we as a Council can provide for our community. And that’s what helps me wake up every morning knowing that I’m creating a, creating an impact. You know, and I’m also, I always believe that if you have the capacity to help others and make someone happy, you should. I mean, what’s the point of having all the experience, skills and knowledge and not putting that into good use? That’s
definitely. That’s some good advice for everybody. I think in whatever it is in life that we do. So our listeners connect with George Town Council or learn more about healthy George Town programs.
If you want to know more about the George Town Council, we’ve got our George Town Council website and we’re on socials as well. Facebook, LinkedIn, if you want to know more about the Healthy George Town program, we’ve got to have the George Town website socials again. We’re on Facebook too, and I can share if you want more details. Regarding healthy George Town, I can shoot out my email address and you can contact me always there.
Well, I think Annette will definitely have all that information on the show notes, so there’s an invitation from Dravid to get in contact with him for more information or to have a chat. Great bloke, and a great counsel doing really good work in the community. Dravid, it’s been such a pleasure to have you on the podcast today. Thanks so much for your time.
Thanks, Geoff. Thanks for all the work that you do in getting out the podcast to all the listeners. I want to thank and as well. You know, another work that you organization do so you know, it’s really, really good speaking to you. So thank you for the opportunity.
Oh, thanks, Dravid. Not everybody’s enjoyed listening and hearing from draven about healthy George Town programs and course George Town Council. And to until next week everybody please be kind and remember together we make a difference. I hope you enjoyed today’s interview as much as I had. It was lovely to subscribe to our podcast so that you won’t miss an episode. Join us each week as we talk with ordinary Australians shaping extraordinary things. Did you know that awards Australia is a family owned business that proudly makes a difference in the lives of those that make a difference for others? And we thank our corporate not for profit partners for making our award programs possible. Do you know someone that’s making a difference? Well, maybe your business might like to sponsor an award. Contact us throughout Instagram page, inspirational, all Australians or head to our website, awards Australia outcome would be great if you could share the site with your network. Because who doesn’t like a good news story. Please write and review us. We would really love to hear your thoughts until next week. Stay safe. And remember together we make a difference.