Over 300 students and teachers from Rochester came to Red Energy Arena on Friday to enjoy a day of sports, fun, food, and games after a harrowing week of floodwaters across Victoria.
We rallied together with other businesses in Bendigo to provide an action-packed day for children who have been impacted – some who have lost their homes and possessions due to the floods.
We had students and staff from Rochester Primary School, Rochester Secondary School and St Joseph’s Primary School participate in a range of activities from basketball to netball, skipping, hula hooping, volleyball and more.
“It’s been hard hearing of the impact these floods have had to our local community and the damage to the Rochester schools,” said Nicole McNamara, Head of Events, Red Energy Arena.
“When the opportunity arose, we were more than happy to help out in whatever way we could.”
Helping the children with their ball skills and activities were members from Bendigo Spirit, who jumped at the chance to help give the children a memorable and inspiring day at the arena.
“We were keen to help them put the devastation of the floods in Rochester to the back of their minds for a few hours,” said David Ingham, GM Bendigo Spirit.
Our events team set up our arena Sky Lounge for children who may not be able to do the physical activities and sports – we had lego, colouring in and arts and crafts – it was all happening up there!
After a huge morning of running around, the kids enjoyed some hot food prepared by our kitchen staff, including kid-friendly favourites – pizza, nuggets, chips and a healthy stir fry.
We were all moved by the spirts of the children and the overwhelming gratitude of the Principals and teachers.
“Coming to Bendigo gets the kids out of the town so that they can have fun and be kids again,” said Melissa Gould, Principal, Rochester Secondary College.
“One of the biggest challenges of this flood event has been connecting, and some of our students haven’t seen each other, or their teachers for over a week.
“It’s been important that we find a way to let them be kids again, bring them together and have some fun.
“With the support of Red Energy Arena and Newtons Bus Service, we’ve been able to pull together this event quickly and it’s so good to hear the noise and see all the smiles.
“Red Energy Arena have been incredible, they’ve put on sport, food, activities, and given us this huge space. It’s just been incredible so we cannot say thank you enough.”
Prior to this event, when we first heard the news about the floods, the kitchen team leaped into action, prepping hot takeaway meals for volunteer SES workers.
We are also proud to have donated $750 worth of vouchers for volunteers at the Bendigo Showgrounds relief centre to enjoy barista-made coffee at the arena.
This couldn’t have been possible without the support of our wonderful partners, and we want to thank the following businesses who made this day possible:
Accredited Distributors donated water, lollies, and packets of chips.
Champions IGA donated juice and flavoured milks.
JL King donated apples, bananas and oranges.
Caterworx donated all plates for the lunches being provided.
Powers Country Express donated 100 bucket hats for game giveaways.
To our partners – your support means everything, and allows us to do so much more for the community. Thank you!