Community

Sarsfield youth with an eye for photography

Tiana Felmingham, Henry Felmingham-Hof, and Nina Felmingham-Hof in front of the exhibition they helped establish

The best photos out of hundreds taken by school students from Sarsfield have gone on display at the hub of the region’s bushfire recovery efforts. Through the Sarsfield Snaps project, the local kids are able to celebrate life and nature in their recovering community.

The summer bushfires were devastating and their impact will be felt for years. But to occupy themselves with a project like this allows them to express their feelings and to appreciate what’s good about their locality. It’s a celebration of life and nature in their recovering community.

The young Sarsfield photographers are using cameras donated by Fujifilm Australia. The project coordinators set themes to look for, resulting in hundreds of photos being posted to a closed online forum hosted by the education network, iEARN Australia.

“It’s amazing to see children and young people from across Sarsfield connecting with each other through photography,” said coordinator of Sarsfield Snaps, Tiana Felmingham.

“It’s been a great way for young people to share how they’re feeling about the things that are important to them.”

With the support of Bushfire Recovery Victoria, a selection of the photos has been printed in large format on corflute. They have been attached to the fences surrounding BRV’s Community Hub at the Sarsfield Hall.

“The photographers have been incredibly proud to share their images,” Tiana said.

“This project has been essential at a time when there has been limited support for children and young people locally.”

The idea for Sarsfield Snaps came from a small group of Sarsfield neighbours, who saw it as a valuable part of their community’s recovery and development. The project was launched at a community dinner held following the bushfire and received generous support funding from Gippsland Lakes Complete Health.

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“The Sarsfield and District Community Recovery Hub was pleased to be able to assist this great local initiative,” said Neil Smith from Bushfire Recovery Victoria,” and we certainly appreciate the colour and life the photos have added to our workplace.”

Despite limitations posed by Covid-19 restrictions, cameras will continue to be shared with new participants through the remainder of 2020.

President of the Sarsfield Recreation Reserve Committee of Management, Rod Thomas, said they were please to auspice this initiative along with the East Gippsland Drought and Fire Mental Health and Wellbeing Partnership, led by GLCH.

“It has been a great example of community partnerships looking after the welfare of our future assets; children,” Rod said.

The project coordinators and the young photographers and their families are looking forward to maintaining the current outdoor display and to even extending it eventually to exhibitions in Bairnsdale and Melbourne.

Hayden Andrews displays his photo before it is added to the outdoor photographic exhibition
Meg, Michelle, Kate, and Faith Perry with Chester the dog after putting the photos on display.

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