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Welcome to OPAL

The OPAL (Obesity Prevention and Lifestyle) program will involve people and organisations working together across the whole community to create all kinds of ways to enjoy healthy eating and to have fun being active.

Local committees with people from all walks of life will work together to find out what your community wants to help families and children make healthier choices and be more active. We want you to help shape OPAL in Mid Murray!

Already in the Mid Murray Council area, the OPAL team has helped to implement some great initiatives, which support the health and wellbeing of local families. These include programs to encourage children to walk, cycle or scoot to school; installing drinking water fountains; establishing kindergyms; creating new sports programs; helping create healthy eating menus; parent education workshops; school vegetable gardens and more.

The Mid Murray community is one of 20 OPAL Communities in South Australia.

For more information on the program, or to get involved, please contact the team on (08) 8569 0100 or email Mid Murray OPAL Program Manager Courtney Blacker at cblacker@mid-murray.sa.gov.au.

Latest News

Canoe workshops are back as part of the 2016 Floatfest

Floatfest 2015 was a massive success, and we are excited to announce that OPAL Mid Murray is partnering again with Floatfest and Canoe SA to bring FREE canoe/kayak workshops to the Mid Murray district.

For more details and to register for the FREE canoeing workshops, visit our projects and events page

Mid Murray Council steps up to support breastfeeding mothers

Mid Murray Council has shown their support for local families by adopting new policy and a range of initiatives, which allow mothers to continue breastfeeding for as long as they choose.

Recognising that breastfeeding provides babies with the best possible start in life, elected members have endorsed strategies to develop breastfeeding facilities within the region - a program which has been led by the OPAL team.

The OPAL team are already in the community working with facilities to help them become 'Breastfeeding Welcome Here' sites - but at the same time working towards creating each council as a 'Breastfeeding Friendly Workplace'. 

For more inforamtion on this project and to see which businesses are registered as breastfeeding friendly, please visit our OPAL projects and events page page.

Mid Murray Council Wins 2015 Heart Foundation Healthy Communities Award!

Thanks to the help of the OPAL team, the Mid Murray Council has once again taken out the prestigious Heart Foundation Healthy Communities Award in the 5000-25,000 population category.

Not only has Mid Murray swept the pool in South Australia, but we have also won the NATIONAL award and are leading other Australian Councils in our path to create a healthier community.

With the award comes regonition of our work, and also $7000 cash to reinvest into healthy initiatives for the Council.

Pictured below are Mid Murray Mayor Dave Burgess and Dept Mayor Mardi Jennings receiving their award from Heart Foundation CEO Amanda Rischbeith on Friday, 29 October 2015.

For more information on this award, check out the Heart Foundation website.

Mayor and Dept Mayor accept Heart Foundation Award

Murraylands APEX Mannum Fun Run returns on Sunday, December 13!

Make sure you lock in Sunday, 13 December, 2015 in to your diary for the Murraylands APEX Mannum Fun Run and Walk. This long-running FREE community event is open to all ages and abilities, and plans are in full swing for the fast approaching 2015 event.

Our community steering group (including members of APEX, Scouts, MIFSA, Little Athletics, Mid Murray Council, OPAL and more...) is flat out putting the final touches on the event plan, including new activities to ensure the 2015 event is even more exciting then ever before!

Details on how to register will be out soon - so stay tuned to this site and our Facebook page for more information.

Kids take off during the KIDS DASH at the 2014 Mannum Fun Run and Walk Mitchell Heward crosses the finish line as the Men's 5km run winner in 2014

 To download and print out your certificate from the event, click on the category link below:

    General Certificate(377 kb)                            Under 10s Kids Dash Certificate(378 kb)

 Fun Run Certificate (kids)

OPAL helps celebrate NAIDOC Week in Mid Murray

OPAL partnered with Mid Murray Council's Community Services teams, and the Mannum Aboriginal Community Association Incorporated (MACAI) to bring together a fantastic celebration of local Aboriginal culture on Tuesday, 7 July, 2015.

This was all part of the 2015 NAIDOC Week celebrations across the region, and focussed on the NAIDOC message 'We All Stand on Sacred Ground - Learn, Respect and Celebrate'.

As part of the celebrations OPAL assisted in a range of activities for families to take part in all day - some of these included healthy pizza making (using traditional Aboriginal foods), kids active games along Mary Ann Reserve at Mannum, Fender Blender healthy smoothie fun and more.

OPAL continues to work alongside MACAI, Ngaut Ngaut Conservation Park leaders and the Ngarrindjeri Regional Authority (NRA) on a range of projects in Mid Murray, including NAIDOC celebreations, cooking for health programs in schools, recreational trail planning and more.

MACAI's Anita Hunter and OPAL Support Officer Alex Day taste test some of the crocodile and kangaroo pizzas at NAIDOC celebrations this year Jalan tries his hand at making pizza at NAIDOC 2015 celebrations Children celebrate NAIDOC Week 2015 during the march in Mannum

OPAL brings Heart Foundation walking group to Mannum

Do you want to take the first steps to increase your physical activity? If so get your walking shoes ready.

The Heart Foundation walking group is back up and running right here in Mannum.
Where? Mannum - meeting in the carpark outside the Council office
When? Every Thursday (starting from the 4th June)
What time? 12.30-1.00pm

Why join the Heart Foundation walking group?
With more than one in four Australian adults (5.76 million people) doing very little or no exercise at all, walking is a great way to help people increase their physical activity.

Regular physical activity helps:

  • reduce your risk of heart disease and stroke
  • manage weight, blood pressure and cholesterol
  • prevent and control diabetes
  • reduce your risk of developing some cancers
  • maintain your bone density, reducing your risk of osteoporosis and fractures
  • improve balance and coordination, reducing your risk of falls and other injuries.
  • It also helps you feel stronger, more energetic and happier and improves your overall quality and enjoyment of life.


 Heart Foundation walking group

"Paddock to Plate" professional development opportunity 

OPAL have partnered with the Natural Resources SA Education team to provide a FREE professional developement opportunity "Paddock to Plate". The session focuses on how to engage students with your School's edible garden.  

For more information and to register for the session, please visit our projects and events page.

Paddock to Plate

OPAL May 2015 Newsletter on its way to ratepayers

The bi-annual four-page OPAL Mid Murray newsletter is out now for families and community to read. This can be found by checking out our news page online, or checking your rates newsletter as it arrives in your letterbox soon.

As part of the newsletter, OPAL is also running a competition for people to WIN A KIDS ACTICITY PACK! All you need to do is answer a few simple questions on this survey to go in to the draw.

OPAL Newsletter Page 1 (May 2015)

Make Mid Murray Kids Matter!

Create a Playground

We need YOUR vote by 4th May to attract $100,000 for Mid Murray children and families. Click Here to Make Mid Murray Kids Matter and for your chance to win a $1,000.00 luxury getaway on the Murray River SA

According to recent evidence, 1 in 3 Mid Murray children are developmentally at risk - we need YOU to help change this

Mid Murray Family Connections (MMFC) is a network of over 50 individuals and organisations committed to changing this.

Now, an opportunity has arisen for MMFC to attract $100,000 to direct towards improved services for local children and families - but WE NEED PEOPLE TO VOTE for our cause!

How will the money be spent?

  • localised parenting programs,
  • one-on-one family support, young mums programs,
  • school holiday activity programs,
  • children’s outdoor activities,
  • developmental activity packs for children and
  • family friendly community events.

Using our limited resources, we are part of the way to making an impact. BUT we need your support to create lasting change for our local kids.

VOTE NOW FOR 'MAKE MID MURRAY KIDS MATTER' NOW - and help bring funds to our community.

GO ONLINE AND VOTE: http://yoursay.sa.gov.au/fmc/projects/make-mid-murray-kids-matter

 Make Mid Murray Kids Matter

OPAL has partnered with Canoe SA and Floatfest to deliver canoe workshops

Floatfest 2014 was a massive success, and we are excited to announce that OPAL Mid Murray is partnering with Floatfest 2015 and Canoe SA to bring FREE canoe/kayak workshops to the Mid Murray district.

For more details and to register for the canoeing workshop, visit our project and events page.

Canoe workshops - Floatfest 2015

Get ready for Floatfest 2015 - 2nd & 3rd May. Same time, same place!

The Mannum Waters Floatfest is a two day family event with a World record Attempt at the largest number of floating kayaks\canoes 'Paddling into the Record Books'. There's fun for the kids, with 'Come and try' canoeing, the PS Marion steaming Houseboats, lots of fun and activities for all, stalls, markets, regional food, and much, much more.

Floatfest 2015

Murraylands APEX Mannum Fun Run and Walk returns in 2014 

The 2014 Murraylands APEX Mannum Fun Run and Walk is on again this Sunday, 14 December, and event organisers are expecting it to be bigger and better than ever before! Attracting hundreds of people from around the region, this FREE community event aims to raise awareness about the importance of being active. More information and online registrations can be found here

To download and print out your certificate from the event, click on the category link below:

    General Certificate(377 kb)                            Under 10s Kids Dash Certificate(378 kb)

Fun Run Certificate (kids)

Butterfly workshops a hit in Mannum and Truro

As part of the new Outdoor Explorers Program being rolled out in kindys across the region in 2015, OPAL ran butterfly grass planting workshops at Truro and Mannum. Children had to put soil in their pot, add a seed and some gravel (to stop the birds), before watering their creation. They then coloured in lots of butterfly pictures and made butterfly clips as labels. Staff, students and parents were excited about getting their hands dirty and learning how to plant.

A big thankyou to our partners:

Aimee Linke from the Mid Murray Local Action Planning (LAP) Committee, who provided materials and a plan for children to plant their own Scurf Pea and learn about the Chequered Swallowtail Butterfly and the Common Grass Blue Butterfly that rely on the Scurf Pea to survive.

Also to the Mannum Newsagency for the donation of cardboard and other materials for butterfly art.

This workshop exposed children to a variety of learning opportunities. Children were able to explore different natural elements, and by taking their plants home, families have been able to be involved in the experience.

Parents and caregivers are encouraged to enjoy the outdoors over the summer holidays with the Life Looks Brighter Outside pocket guides for both the Pocket Guide Upper Mid Murray(316 kb) and Pocket Guide Lower Mid Murray(274 kb), you may even come across a butterfly or two!!

These workshops are a taste of the Outdoor Explorers Program that will be rolled out across all of our local kindergartens and preschools in 2015, where children will be provided with a variety of opportunities to be active outdoors and continue to explore the natural elements.  

Truro Butterfly Workshop Butterfly Workshop at Truro Butterfly Workshop at Truro

You can find out more about our Outdoor Explorers project, by clicking here.

  Wriggly Worms and Compost Workshops a success in Cambrai

The OPAL team partnered with the Natural Resources SA Education team and Serenity Nursery during October to deliver workshops on 'how to get the best out of worms and compost in your garden'. The workshops were held in Cambrai, Murray Bridge and Coonalpyn, with more than 50 people attending over all, including teachers, students and tge general public.

Read the recent news article published on the project in the Murray Valley Standard.

This was all part of OPAL's Edible Garden Grants program, which has invested more than $10,000 to help establish more than nine gardens in local schools and kindergartens across Mid Murray, and link this into early years curriculum programs.

For more information on this program, see our Grants and Equipment page.


Mannum Family Active Walks map launches

The OPAL team launched the Mannum Active Family Walks (map to print)(4423 kb) on 25 September. This map was developed in conjunction with support and input from the Mannum Kindergarten and Rural Care, Department for Planning, Transport and Infrastructure and Mid Murray Council. Click on the link above to view the map, or view the media release.

Nature Play SA launches '51 Things to do Before You're 12' 

In a new initiative recently launched by the South Australian Government, local families can now access resources to support their children's engagement with the natural environment.

Check out the Nature Play SA website to find out more, and to take the challenge to complete the 51 Things to do Before You're 12!

51 Things to do Before You're 12 list

 OPAL here to stay in Mid Murray

The OPAL program has secured funding from the State Government and Mid Murray Council to continue its positive work in children’s health throughout 2014-15. This follows recent uncertainty of the program’s original 5-year timeframe, following the Federal Government’s cut of more than $7 million to the program State-wide. Our Council, and State Government however, have seen first-hand the healthy changes the program has been making in local communities, and have been heartened by the incredibly positive feedback from schools, families, business and community who want to keep the program running.

The new and limited program budget however, will mean OPAL will operate differently to its original structure, which began for Mid Murray back in late 2011. The details of this are currently being finalised and we will soon notify all stakeholders and the wider community.

Read the news article.

 $40,000 OPAL and Murraylands Councils begin work on Recreational River Trail

Three Murraylands Councils – Mid Murray, Coorong and Rural City of Murray Bridge are partnering with their OPAL teams and key stakeholders to develop a recreational trail spanning up to 400 kilometres along the River Murray. A steering group has been established for this project, and recently been awarded a funding grant from the Office of Recreation and Sport to start feasibility planning on the trail.

Council’s agree this will be a long-term project in the region, however, it is envisaged that the wider benefits for health, transport and tourism will attract funding form external sources in years to come to help make this dream become a reality.

Read the news article.

 Way 2 GO comes to Mid Murray Council

Following some excellent work in active travel strategies across the Mid Murray district in recent years, the OPAL team has managed to attract the Way 2 Go program (run by the Department of Planning, Transport and Infrastructure) to be delivered in 2014-15.

Way 2 GO works with primary schools to prepare various strategies which encourage children and their families to use safer, greener and more active travel options on their way to school. These strategies can include children’s education sessions, street signage, school projects and other innovative initiatives to support behavior change. Way 2 GO coordinators will work with primary schools across our region to develop active travel plans, with this work supported long term by the Council and OPAL program.

For more information on Way 2 GO, visit the website.

 Mannum Sports Clubs’ positive changes for community health

Mannum roos

The Mannum Football and Netball Clubs have pioneered incredible changes in 2014, as they embark upon a mission to make their club a healthier environment for all of their members.

After OPAL successfully worked with the Mannum Roos Netball Club in 2013 to achieve some fantastic outcomes promoting a ‘Healthy Brekky’ we have now embarked upon a bigger project working with both the football and netball clubs to support making wholesale changes to their food menus and environments. Committees and playing group leaders across both clubs have come together to develop a new healthy eating policy which will apply to both clubs. This policy promotes healthy food and drink options to all of its players, with a key focus on role modeling healthy behaviours to its junior ranks.

This move coincides with the football clubs new canteen redevelopment, and has been supported by the involvement of past Australian Netball Captain and sports dietitian Natalie Von Bertouch.

Some of the key outcomes of this work to date, have been: providing free drinking water to all players and visitors to the sports grounds, providing healthy breakfast options, offering a larger range of healthy menu items at the football and netball canteens, running a senior role-model health promotional campaign, providing fruit and water for players at match breaks (instead of lollies and sugary drinks), healthy menu planning for evening meals, educational presentations to players and parents and much more.

Read the news article.

 Heart Foundation votes Mid Murray its healthiest Council in Australia

Heart Foundation Award

The Mid Murray Council has been named the 2013 Heart Foundation Healthy Community National Winner. This prestigious award was handed out to the Mid Murray Council and its OPAL and Healthy Murraylands projects, following the excellent work in the area of supporting community health. Key projects highlighted in the award were the Council’s nutrition policy, active youth programs, increased capacity of the Mannum Leisure Centre, commitment to supporting more active travel across the region, increased awareness around health and more.

Read the news article or more about Heart Foundation Healthy Community Award.

Read more OPAL news