GOTAFE CEO fundraising to tackle homelessness

On the 20th June, GOTAFE CEO Travis Heeney is joining the fight against homelessness by participating in the 2019 Vinnies CEO Sleepout.

The event will see more than 80 business, community and government leaders sleep without shelter to help change the lives of Australians experiencing homelessness.

Mr Heeney said he was alarmed to hear the statistics for the regions GOTAFE operates in. More than 250 people across the Werribee region were homeless. In Shepparton it was more than 320 people, in Seymour 67 people, Benalla 42 people and Wangaratta 79 people.[1]

More than 4,400 people were living in poverty[2] in the Wangaratta region. In Werribee it was 5,700 people, Shepparton 3,880 people, Seymour 900 people and Benalla 1,300 people.

As business leaders it’s important to do all we can to highlight the plight of the most vulnerable members of our community. Through our actions and fundraising efforts, we hope to help to improve the lives of people who live within our communities.”

The funds raised will assist the St Vincent De Paul Society with projects across Victoria.

Mr Heeney stated “GOTAFE is committed to providing a welcoming, respectful and inclusive environment for all, in the communities that we serve. To ensure these principles are embedded in everything we do we are developing a Social Justice Charter to guide and inform our programs and priorities.”

The development of the Social Justice Charter will be guided by a community reference group incorporating a broad range of representatives.

The CEO Sleepout will allow participants to hear first-hand from people experiencing homelessness and experience what some people endure each and every night. “I am sure it will be a very humbling experience.” Mr Heeney said.

This year, Vinnie’s fundraising goal is $1.1 million. Mr Heeney is calling on industry, business, community organisations and individuals to donate to this cause. To help support Mr Heeney’s fundraising please visit

[1] Source: ABS 2016 Census Data –

[2] Source: Victorian Council of Social Service Data –

$500 Raised for Zaidee’s Rainbow Foundation

GOTAFE’s Nursing trainer Allison Derooy presented $500 raised from 2017 Regional Health Student Conference to Allen Turner, cofounder of Zaidee’s Rainbow Foundation.

Allen Turner was a guest speaker at the event getting the word out about how important it is to have the discussion about being an organ donor. Allen’s Daughter, Zaidee was just seven years old when she passed away suddenly from a brain aneurism. Zaidee passed away in December 2004 and was the only child in Victoria under the age of 16 years to donate her organs and tissues that year.

The foundation is aimed at both Adults and Children to inspire them to think about becoming organ donors too.

Start the discussion and help save more lives.


Womens Health Awareness Week 13-16 June

The second week in June will see the launch of GOTAFE’s inaugural ‘Women’s Health Awareness Week’. The week will feature a series of activities including a Yoga Class facilitated by Aquamoves, a bake sale prepared by GOTAFE Hospitality and Baking students, a lunchtime walking group, Health Seminar presented by GV Health and prizes donated by GOTAFE’s Hairdressing & Beauty Salon.

  • 13 Tuesday June: Aquamoves Yoga Class 1-2pm
  • 14 Wednesday June: GOBake Sale 1-3pm
  • 15 Thursday June: Walking Group 1-2:30pm
  • 16 Friday June: GV Health Seminar & Raffle Draw 10:30am to 12:30pm

The week was initiated by GOTAFE Hospitality Teacher, Anita McFarlane, who was recently diagnosed with breast cancer. Ms McFarlane kick-started the idea in May by chopping off her hair alongside her sister Valerie Low and niece Yolanda Low. Their hair was donated to the Variety Charity to make wigs for sick children.

Ms McFarlane would like to use her experience with breast cancer as a way of encouraging women to prioritise their health.
“As women we are often so busy caring for the needs of our family and friends that we often overlook our own health. Unfortunately, because I did this, I now find myself in a challenging situation,” said Ms McFarlane.

“Being aware of Women’s Health issues is important for everyone in the community. Partners, children, friends and family members should remind the women in their lives to have regular health checks.

“If it wasn’t for my husband nagging me to get a check-up, things could have been a lot worse. So I have that to be thankful for.”  Ms McFarlane has set up a donation page, with all proceeds going to the Goulburn Valley Breast Cancer Special Purpose Fund, operated by GV Health, Shepparton.

GOTAFE’s Women’s Health Awareness Week is open to the public. For updates please visit the GOTAFE Facebook page.

Students Share the Dignity

Claire Taylor , GOTAFE Events, Tourism and Hospitality Trainer is working with the Certificate III, and Diploma of Events students to create an ongoing project which will raise awareness around the charity, Share the Dignity, who provide free access to sanitary and personal care items for the many homeless women and women in domestic violence shelters.

“We have developed a project involving the students at different levels that will enable them to create, organise, and follow an event from start to finish that has positive outcomes for the community at large and the students as well.”

The statistics show that 44% of homeless people are women, which equates to over 85,000 women that need our help. Homelessness, poverty, unemployment and domestic violence – these are just a few of the reasons why women are forced to choose between buying food or sanitary items. This is not okay.

“The student’s project started in March and will continue to go through until November. There are two main drives for sanitary items being held in April and August, and another drive for a project called #itsinthebag that will be ongoing until November. The #itsinthebag drive culminates close to Christmas time, and encourages people to donate an unused handbag full of goodies for women who wouldn’t normally be able to afford to buy these products. These bags are distributed amongst local charities for Christmas.”

It’s easy for anybody to get involved and donate to Share the Dignity.

“We have four main campuses at GOTAFE in Shepparton, Seymour, Benalla and Wangaratta where the public are able to come in and donate throughout the year. They can drop off sanitary items, shampoo, conditioner, little trinkets, hair brushes, deodorant, toothbrushes and anything else that would be appropriate to make a women in need feel better about themselves.

“The drop off boxes at each campus will usually be situated within the main reception area, and the public can come in and donate whenever they are able. The students would like to get people thinking about this charity when they are out shopping, and if you are buying these items for yourself, buy something extra to put into the drop off box.”

“It’s such a worthwhile cause, and a great way to be able to show the students that an event doesn’t always have to be about making money. It can be about raising awareness and making a difference, which is what we are hoping to achieve this year.”

To read more about Share the Dignity, click here.