By Neil Wilson - Sub Editor for the Bribie Islander


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There is no doubt that each and every one of us has experienced a time of loneliness that saw us wishing that we had someone who we could talk to and sadly, this is a situation that is all too often faced by children, both at school and in other environments.

Featured Image(above): Kindy kids Nate Harvey, Georgia Ruthven, Israel Crouch, Lauren Findlay and Pippa Harvey joined with John Oxenford, Anne Matthews, June Sturgess and June Jeffrey to try out the new bench

Being well aware of this situation, Bribie Island Rotarians have found a way to lessen the impact of loneliness on our young by donating Friendship Benches to Bribie Island Schools and also the Bribie Community Kindy. Earlier in the year, there were two benches presented to the Bribie Island State School and one to the Banksia Beach State School and during November, Rotarians John Oxenford, Anne Matthews and June Sturgess joined with June Jeffrey from the Bribie Woodcrafters (The Woodies) to present a slightly smaller Friendship Bench to the Bribie Community Kindy.

Rotary Club President John Oxenford and Nate Harvey demonstrated how the bench is used

The donated benches are the result of many hours of careful craftsmanship by The Woodies and are situated in a convenient position in the playgrounds so that if a child is feeling like they need a friend to keep them company, they can sit on the bench as a way of telling others of their situation.

Children at the school or kindy are educated about the idea of the benches and know to respond if they see anyone sitting on the Friendship (or Buddy) Bench. On presenting the bench to Bribie Community Kindy Director Narelle Dawson, Rotary Club President John Oxenford explained that the idea of the benches originated in England and has now been adopted by schools throughout the world. After the ribbons were cut, John joined with Kindy member Nate Harvey in a demonstration of how to use the bench.

Narelle Dawson, John Oxenford and June Jeffrey cutting the presentation ribbons at the
Bribie Community Kindy

I have been informed that in a continuation to improve the lives of our school children, there has now been a second bench provided to the Banksia Beach State School.

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A highly successful sales and leadership career working in a number of different and very competitive industries. Engaging with decision makers at all levels in business and government. Three decades employed by corporations, SME businesses in senior roles and almost twelve years operating as a freelance contractor has equipped me well for all aspects of business. Whether leading and mentoring sales teams, or in a direct sales role I enjoy the challenge to meet and exceed expectations. Making a real and tangible difference in either a team environment or as an individual is an important personal goal I have consistently achieved throughout my career. In all of my business and personal dealings over the years there is one issue that stands out above all others - communication. Excellent communication skills creates trust, helps with mutually beneficial outcomes and above all cements long lasting positive relationships. I strive everyday to communicate effectively with the people I encounter.