Tradies encouraged to open up at community breakfast

A FEW beers at the pub after work used to be a good way to get men to open up, says plaster Mark Mitchell.

"But since drink-driving has been enforced on a big scale it's stopped men and women seeing each other in a social sense," Mr Mitchell said.

"You used to be able to wind-down that way and have a chat but that doesn't happen as much anymore.

"So these sorts of get-togethers, the HALT breakfast for the tradies, are a good thing."

Mr Mitchell was one of about 100 tradies who attended Tuesday's HALT - Hope, Assistance, Local Tradies - launch and free breakfast in Castlemaine on Tuesday.

Carpenter Paul Giddens said the breakfast was a good opportunity for tradies to speak to like-minded people.

"Tradies, these days, sort of do a days work and go home so something like this is really good," he said.

"It's good to see so many people here."

Castlemaine plumber Michael Dwyer said the event was great.

"It's spot on, it's good," he said.

"There's always a need for stuff like this, to spread the word."

Tonks hardware yard owner Jason Mills said he was proud to have his business play a part in the event. 

"All the guys are having a chat and mingling with each other," he said.

"We've got builders talking to builders and plumbers talking to plumbers and there's no sense of competition which is what we want.

"It's a community of tradies just talking as mates.

"They're just having a chat and enjoying themselves and just relaxing before their big day starts."

HALT co-founder Jeremy Forbes said the initiative aimed to build a bridge between existing support services for people at risk and the local community.

"We want to facilitate the spreading of information and raise awareness of groups such as Lifeline and beyondblue, and locally, CHIRP," he said.

"We aim to provide practical information regarding mental health services, well-being advice, financial counselling and small business training."

RECEPTIVE: Jeremy Forbes speaks to tradies at the HALT breakfast launch. Pictures: JODIE DONNELLAN

RECEPTIVE: Jeremy Forbes speaks to tradies at the HALT breakfast launch. Pictures: JODIE DONNELLAN