After the experience of a mental health breakdown, Donna felt the strain of not having an outlet or social network where she could seek support.
Now over a decade later, she is determined to create her own.
“I just wanted a group in Bendigo for people who felt isolated or didn’t feel like they had an outlet where they were able to come together with other people and meet in a social setting,” Mrs Rowe said.
“I love helping people.
“I have been involved in fundraising for many years and it’s a nice feeling to be able to give back and not just take.”
Donna is the founder of Thriving Together, a new support and wellness network in Bendigo.
The group’s motto is positive lifestyle, friendship, well-being, support and encouragement.
“Absolutely everyone is welcome,” Mrs Rowe said.
“The aim is to bring people together, get them out of their comfort zones and to offer support with both their mental health and physical well-being in a non-judgmental environment.”
The group meets twice per month on a Thursday.
On the first Thursday of every month they hold a social dinner which has a monthly guest speaker discussing a topic that is currently relevant to the group.
And then on the third Thursday of the month the group will embark on an activity together based on the interests of the members.
Some of the activity suggestions so far include water aerobics, Zumba lessons, belly dancing, social walking groups and fitness sessions.
“For the first meeting I will be the guest speaker and my aim is to find out what’s important to them,” Mrs Rowe said.
“Once I know what their main interests are and what types of activities they want to be involved in, it will then become a planned structure.”
She expects that people will attend for a range of reasons including to create new friendships and as a social outlet, to focus on mental health well-being or to gain support with a challenge they’re trying to overcome.
“I want the group to become what will feel like a second family,” Mrs Rowe said.
“I had a wonderful support network and I wouldn’t be where I am today without them.
“I’m wanting to offer the same unconditional support to others so they know they have a support network.”
Thriving Together will hold its first meeting on May 3 at the National Hotel in Bendigo.
For further information about Thriving Together in Bendigo please contact Donna on 0408 663 365 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
I just wanted a group in Bendigo for people who felt isolated or didn’t feel like they had an outlet where they were able to come together with other people and meet in a social setting.Donna Rowe, Founder of Thriving Together Bendigo