So, this journey starts off in February of 2020 when it is at this time every year that council ask the community to apply for a grant to assist in organising Australia Day events in the shire. For the two previous years, Beaconsfield Progress Association have organised a family friendly picnic and movie night event for this occasion. Attendance had been growing over the years, but it still was not massive considering the amount of work involved, the expense and the free activities offered to our community; but we decided to give it a go for the third year.
THEN COVID-19 HIT!
Over the next six months we were in and out of lockdown in Victoria and really had little idea as to whether the event would go ahead at all.
¯\_(ツ)_/¯ Then late in 2020, when we emerged from lockdown and had some understanding as to what the restrictions would involve, we decided to give it another chance with a reinvention of the idea. BPA turned it into a Corona Virus Safe Drive-in Movie Night instead!
This involved a speed dating process between BPA, the new restrictions set by the Victorian Health Department and Cardinia Shire Council liaison in order to tick all the boxes and gain the appropriate approvals and processes in place. No mean feat for this small subcommittee of volunteers here, and we were still underfunded for the event at this stage! We decided to redirect some of the funds from the previously organised activities (like free popcorn, a jumping castle, giant board games on the oval and Beaconsfield CFA truck visit) towards formalised traffic management; because this was to be a car park event with up to 80 vehicles and we just did not have the people power or expertise to go it alone, and so the safety aspect of this came into focus.
To the rescue, firstly, came the Beaconsfield Neighbourhood Centre. They offered to assist in funding the shortfall that we had regarding our traffic management costs. We were very thankful to them for this. The sub-committee then had a rethink and realised that they should approach council again regarding this, as traffic management is considered a separate funding issue in the events applications. Thankfully, we were assisted by an immensely helpful and understanding Cardinia Shire Council Officer, Helena Moloney, who managed to get this funding approved very quickly so the event could go ahead safely and in a COVID-19 safe manner.
The movie selected this year was a bit of a treat because it was our first year of being able to have the option of a new release Australian movie. This was an exciting opportunity that was offered to us due to the difficult circumstances in the cinema industry at that time, and may never be available in future years, so it was decided to take it up. The movie selected this year was the 2020 Sam Neill and Michael Caton drama about feuding, sheep-farming brothers who are forced to band together when a higher power threatens their prized family animals. This title was enjoyed by the diverse audience that attended on the night; from primary aged children to retirees, the movie was a resounding success. Thank you to the 215 locals who attended on the night.
Massive thanks go to the committee of the Beaconsfield Progress Association for their work on, and before, the event; as well as Cardinia Shire council for 100% funding the modified event; and also to our Mayor, Cr Brett Owen for formalising the proceedings on the night 🙂
BPA received many letters of thanks after the night, as well as one from Brad Battin MP, as this was one of the 1st events in the Cardinia/Casey area to go ahead since the Victorian lockdowns, so it was quite a trailblazer. However, on a personal note, I do need to say that for the amount of work involved, the fact that the event was completely FREE, and knowing the expenses involved, it was disappointing that the event didn’t completely sell out and that the Beaconsfield community uptake was minimal…
Recently, BPA posted a shout out to the community on Facebook to see if anyone was interested in assisting in organising the 2022 Australia Day Family Picnic and Movie Night event (with nearly 2500 local people reached in the post). Unfortunately, no one has come forward that is willing to assist in this project, so the 2022 event is in doubt at this stage. Please let the BPA know if you are interested in assisting with this event’s organisation ongoing…
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org or message ‘Beaconsfield Progress Association’ on Facebook