25 July 2018

The HSC is fast approaching which can be a stressful time for many young people. In an effort to help develop strategies to cope with the pressure of HSC exams, Cessnock City Library is hosting a free workshop for local students from 4.30 to 6.30pm tomorrow. The workshop will be hosted by writing expert, Keith Whelan who has been a writer for the past 20 years. The workshop will cover what works and what doesn’t, planning writing schedules for each exam, time management, using key words, and practical ways to write under pressure. I encourage students studying for the HSC to book in and take advantage of this wonderful opportunity.

I attended the opening of the NAIDOC Art Trail which is an exciting new inclusion on our annual NAIDOC Week program and has a strong focus on women as the theme this year is ‘Because of her, we can’. It was so wonderful to see how the local students have portrayed this theme through their art by showing how local Aboriginal women have inspired them in their own lives. The Art Trail is a partnership between Kiray Putjung Aboriginal Corporation, Cessnock Regional Art Gallery, Cessnock City Council, CYCOS, Kurri Kurri & Cessnock Libraries and Hunter Valley Visitor Information Centre and you can view the artworks at each of these locations. Along the way, you’ll discover artworks by inspirational women including Lesley Salem, Saretta Fielding, Tamika Elvin and Aunty Cynthia and by local students involved in Aboriginal Education Teams. Wonnarua artists are also in the spotlight! The Art Trail is open until 12 August and I encourage everyone to check it out.

I was delighted to hear the news that Cessnock City Council was allocated $15,000 towards a $30,000 Business Capability Study under the Australian Government’s Building Better Regions Fund (BBRF). This is a welcome funding boost that will go a long way to helping local businesses. The Study will determine how many businesses operate within our region, their size, employment capacity, export and import status, ICT take up, and also identify opportunities and barriers to doing business or driving investment within the region. The Study will nicely complement the $30,000 Skills Audit and Business Jobs Portal currently being implemented which was also made possible with successful funding under the BBRF in 2017.

Have you picked up your copy of the Residents Buy Local Guide yet? The Guide is a useful annual publication which offers fantastic deals and local discounts on everything from dining out, to furniture sales, to hairdressing and everything in between. It also encourages residents to get out and about, support local business and excited about what our region has to offer. Home owning residents can redeem their copy with the collection slip found in their July rates notice and rental tenants will receive flyers from their real estate agents. There are several collection points including Council’s Admin Building, Cessnock and Kurri Kurri Libraries, Hunter Valley and Kurri Kurri Visitor Information Centres, R&W Real Estate Branxton and Wollombi Real Estate.

Cessnock City Libraries are always looking for ways to improve their service and have developed an online survey to get your feedback about what you love and what you’d like to see happen in our local libraries. Your feedback and suggestions will be considered for future planning of our library service and I encourage you to fill one out before it closes on Tuesday 31 July. Simply visit www.surveymonkey.com/r/CessnockCityLibrary to complete the survey online or call into Cessnock or Kurri Kurri Libraries to complete a paper copy.