It was pouring down at Kennington Reservoir, but people still turned out to a family fishing day.
The day was designed for families caring for someone with a disability, hosted by Bendigo Health Carer Support Services and volunteer organisation That's the Thing About Fishing.
Really, it was a bonus if families caught a fish, That's the Thing About Fishing president founder Glenn Cooper said. More important was families and kids socialising, bonding, and having a break from the demands of caring.
A not for profit, That's the Thing About Fishing is dedicated to helping vulnerable community members through the social interaction that comes through fishing. Volunteers work with people with disabilities, mental health problems, and Indigenous kids.
Mr Cooper began the charity after spending five years in and out of a wheelchair, when he used to go down to the Frankston Pier, in Melbourne, and fish.
He said there was just something calming about activities near the water that made fishing therapeutic for children and families.
"It's actually teaching them to socialise ... have a laugh, have a bit of fun, get off computers, be able to work with inside of yourself, and be able to communicate with others," Mr Cooper said.
"It's pouring rain, and we've got kids out here, having a laugh, and they're enjoying themselves."
Activities like fishing gave families caring for kids with special needs a break, Mr Cooper said.
"Parents when they're dealing with kids that are actually special needs, whether that be autism or something like that, that's pretty hard yakka on them, and it's actually 24/7 in your face," he said.
"Sometimes just coming out and doing something like this, where the kids are having a laugh and a bit of fun, it actually gives them a bit of a respite as well."
Bendigo Health Carer Support Services project worker Tash Harrick said the fact families were willing to come out in the rain showed how much it meant for them to have a non-judgmental place to come where they can meet families in a similar situation.
The service provides respite care to carers and their families in the Loddon Mallee.
Fishing at Kennington Reservoir came about because families told the service that they struggled to find a service that would take their child fishing through the National Disability Insurance Scheme.
"I think it means a lot for families to be able to connect with each other," Ms Harrick said.
"Sometimes caring families can feel very isolated due to their caring role, so just the fact that they've come out in weather today, means a lot."
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