Emergency Information

Health Promotion in Benalla

Benalla Health is funded by the Victoria Department of Health to contribute to health promotion projects in our area. Health promotion works enable people to increase the control over and to improve their health on a population level. Creating supportive environments, building healthy public policy, strengthening communities and developing personal skills.

We often have a focus on healthy eating and active living, but can also cover issues like smoking (including e-cigarettes), alcohol and family violence. Now we are also factoring in the role of climate change on these areas.

Many children do not eat enough fruit and vegetables or get enough physical activity. Benalla Health has been tackling poor food access by making healthy food an easy choice. We also work together with other health services in the Hume area to improve healthy eating.

Our Vision: “For all people in the Hume Region are able to have access to food that is safe, nutritious and culturally valued.” 

Some programs include:

Please click here to view some of our work from 2017 - 2021.

Benalla Grow Your Own: wicking garden beds

Benalla Health, St Vincent de Paul Society of Benalla and Beechworth Correctional Centre teamed up in 2016 to build wicking garden beds in people’s backyards. The project aimed to reduce the reliance on emergency food relief, improve community connectivity and increase people’s confidence and skills to grow their own food at home. As of 2020 we have installed 74 garden beds since 2016.

The project was a joint winner of the 2017 VicHealth Awards “Improving Health Equity” Category.
As of 2022 we are working on a new round of gardens beds, this time alongside the students at Benalla P-12 in the Hands on Learning program. These beds are smaller and more portable then the first version, but still the wonderful wicking style garden bed. We currently have been able to make 250!
Please see our video on the wicking gardens beds in the Central Hume

The project was a joint winner of the 2017 VicHealth Awards "Improving Health Equity" Category. 

Please see our video on the wicking gardens beds in the Central Hume

What is a wicking garden?

A wicking beds is a water saving garden bed that include a water reservoir in the bottom Instead of watering the plants with a hose, they get water from the box.

Am I eligible for one?

To be eligible you must:

  • Live in Benalla Rural City Council area
  • Have experienced food insecurity or financial hardship
  • Be keen to give gardening a go!
Current Partners

Benalla P-12, Mitre 10, HP Excavations, St Vincent de Paul Society Benalla, community volunteers

Past Supporters

Benalla Men’s Shed, Benalla Timber Products, Sprayline

For more information:

Contact our Health Promotion Team on (03) 5761 4500 option 7 or email DLdietetics@benallahealth.org.au

Healthy Eating: Getting Fresh Food 

Benalla Food Security Network

The Benalla Food Security Network was formed in February 2014 in response to a food security scan (see below in Health Food Connect). The group coordinates local solutions to improve access to healthy foods in Benalla. The group has members representing local government, neighbourhood houses, emergency food relief providers, non-for-profit organisations, schools and community members.
In 2018 the group was reformed into the Benalla Local Food Network. It is run as an action group under the Benalla Sustainable Future Group. 

Contact: The Health Promotion Team, Benalla Community Health, (03) 5761 4500 option 7or DLdietetics@benallahealth.org.au
Please visit the Benalla Sustainable Future Group website for more details and meeting dates. 

Latching Onto Breastfeeding 

Benalla Health, the Tomorrow Today Foundation and Benalla Rural City Council are working to improve breastfeeding rates. 

The Central Hume Primary Care Partnership “Latching onto Breastfeeding” campaign was launched to make Benalla a place where mothers feel supported to breastfeed.

The campaign focuses on messages of what dad/partners, family, friends, workplaces, health services and businesses can do to support women to breastfeed.

Having a baby?

Gateway Health has created an app for pregnant and breastfeeding mothers. The app details what to expect during your pregnancy and breastfeeding it also shows you where to find breastfeeding-friendly cafes and venues, feed and change facilities.

To download search “From Bump to Beyond”:

From Bump To Beyond - Apps on Google Play
From Bump to Beyond on the App Store (apple.com)
See the Central Hume Primary Care Partnership video on the Breastfeeding App
For breastfeeding friendly places in Benalla click here 

Breastfeeding SMS system

Benalla Health, in partnership with Benalla Rural City Council and the Tomorrow Today Foundation started a breastfeeding SMS system in 2017. All mothers discharged from Benalla Health midwifery have the option of receiving text messages until their baby is eight weeks old and can opt out at any time. Each text message has a supportive message with contact details of local breastfeeding services. 

See Flyer for Breastfeeding SMS Service

2021-22 Survey results:

  • 91.3% felt supported when receiving the messages
  • 91.3% felt encouraged when receiving the messages
  • 78.26% felt confident to continue breastfeeding when receiving the messages
  • 91.3% felt connected with services when receiving the messages

See attached for results in 2017

See the presentation of results to the North East and Goulburn Valley Allied Health Conference 2019

As part of the campaign, Benalla Health collected a survey from parents to hear about their needs and experiences feeding their children (both breast and bottle) in Benalla.

Please see the Benalla Parenting Needs Survey Results.

More information:
For more information please contact our Dietitian or Community Health Nurse on , (03) 5761 4500 option 7.

Healthy Food Connect: Food Systems

Many people in Benalla have trouble buying healthy affordable food. Why is this so?

  • Poor transport to shops
  • Low income
  • “Food deserts” where affordable and nutritious food is not available in a 500m walking distance
  • Expensive food: See how much does it cost for healthy food?

Benalla Health and Benalla Rural City Council are working together to change our local food system.

What have we done?

North East Local Food Strategy

The North East Local Food Strategy is a regionally developed, community collaboration document involving many organisations and people across the North East.

The purpose of the strategy is to:

  • 1. Coordinate systems level approach to strengthening the regional food system
  • 2. Identify priority areas for action
  • 3. Be used as a resource to support funding applications by community members or organisations.

The document is available at


Deakin INFANT Program

The INFANT program is being offered by Benalla Health to help families get their baby off to a great start with healthy food and being active. It was designed by Deakin University and involves interactive sessions with other parents. 

Free sessions are offered when your baby is around 3 months, 6 months, 9 months and 12 months old. Sessions are also run in conjunction with the Tomorrow Today Foundation PEEP Program

Please see Deakin Infant Website or Benalla Infant Facebook Page for information including recipes and videos on healthy eating and active play. 

If you are interested or know someone who is, plase call our Health Promotion Team on (03) 5761 4500 option 7 or email DLdietetics@benallahealth.org.au

Food Cents

Discover new ways to balance your food and budget - check out the free cooking sessions for kids and parents

Need simple tricks to help budget family food? Learn to prepare easy, kid friendly meals and snacks suitable for a lunch box.

We can run three cooking sessions in your home! This is free and available for families with children aged up to 12 years old. 

Past Projects - Benalla Small Plates

The Benalla Small Plates Project aims to increase the number of healthy portioned meals for both adults and children in Benalla restaurants.

Families that eat outside of home often have little choice with meals being up to 250 per cent larger than at home.

A Small Plates restaurant offers healthier portions, and alternatives to deep fried kid’s meals.

The project was launched at the Thoona Pub in 2014. The project wrapped up in 2017 but has continued running at the following business:

Accredited Benalla Small Plates restaurants

Want to know more? 

Information for Businesses


Real Men Make Great Dads

Who knew that being a dad didn't come with a manual? 

Real Men Make Great Dads is the “manual” you've been looking for with great ideas and strategies to help you be a great dad.

The program caters for wherever you are at:

  • Step-parenting;
  • Sole-parenting;
  • Co-parenting;
  • Parenting when the kids are not in your care. 

Join us to learn about:

  • Understanding your child as they grow;
  • Your relationship with your child;
  • How to deal with behavioural issues;
  • How to communicate to your child.

Enquiries: Phone: 5761 4500 or email: communityhealth@benallahealth.org.au

Active Living in Benalla

Benalla Health has completed mapping Active Living in the Benalla Community from 2019-2020. Please see attached report on Active Living 

The mapping project aims to better understand current oppurtunities for phsyical activity, community felt needs and areas for improvement. 

The report identified 4 key reccomendations

1. Improvement to Walking and Bike paths

2. Free programs/groups/activities

3. Promotion of Physical Activity Initiatives and and Opportunities

4. Policy Implementation

Park Run

parkrun is a global initiative to offer free timed 5km runs/jog/walk events every Saturday morning, solely run by volunteers, Initially started in the UK, parkrun is now in over 20 countries including Australia. And now Benalla.

There had been community interest in setting up a parkun in Benalla for some years but had struggled to get over some hurdles in getting it running. In 2019 Benalla Health were able to consult and support community members keen to start parkrun, provide startup funding and promote its launch.

Benalla Botanical Gardens parkrun averages 35 participants each week plus the wonderful volunteers. Check out their Facebook to see what a wonder group this is Benalla Botanical Gardens parkrun | Facebook

If you’re interested in joining parkrun visit Benalla Botanical Gardens parkrun