Alyce Vella lives in Sunshine and works in the area for Women’s Health West. She spoke to Ewen McRae

 

What’s your connection to Brimbank?

 

I grew up in Melbourne’s west and have always spent a lot of time in St Albans and Sunshine, visiting family and eating delicious food.

I have been living in Sunshine since early 2016 and been working at Women’s Health West since 2015. My role works across the western region.

What do you like best about the area?

 

I love the diversity of the community and the sense of community connectedness. There are great places to eat, lovely parks to walk through and the close proximity to the city was a big drawcard for me moving to Sunshine.

The new library is such a great addition … I also love John Kelly’s

Man Lifting a Cow sculpture (definitely a conversation starter).

What could make the area better?

 

I think it’s important for decision-makers to ensure that community need is kept at the forefront of planning and development of services, and improving infrastructure.

Recognising the diversity of community and their unique needs is important.

What are your favourite places to eat?

 

Where to start! I love Fresh Chilli Deli (Sunshine and St Albans) for banh mi and Vinh Thuan (Deer Park and Sunshine) for the best salt and pepper eggplant you’ll ever eat.

Chef Lagenda (Deer Park) do a great laksa.

And I love that Maltese food continues to be showcased in the west at The Original Maltese Pastizzi Company (Sunshine North) and Café Verdala (Albion). Try the ravjul and qassatat.

Tell us about your work at Women’s Health West?

 

I am the sexual and reproductive health team leader at Women’s Health West. My role includes supporting a range of programs that are included in the Action for Equity strategy – a sexual and reproductive health strategy for the western suburbs.

I work in the strategy, advocacy and community engagement stream.

The strategy is designed to improve sexual and reproductive health outcomes across the entire western region of Melbourne. Our service also provides direct response services for women and children experiencing family violence.

How important is this program to people?

 

Sexual and reproductive health is an important priority in Brimbank for a number of reasons – rates of sexually transmitted infections, such as chlamydia and gonorrhoea, are higher than the state average … and this is a particular burden to young people.

Brimbank has the third largest proportion of adolescents in the western region, and rates of disengagement from school and work among young people are higher in Brimbank than the greater Melbourne area.

One of the key projects of Action for Equity is to increase access to affordable contraceptives in the west, and we’re doing this by installing condom vending machines.

Condom vending machines in Brimbank can be found at the Visy Cares Hub in Sunshine.

Find more at whwest.org.au/safesexinthewest/ or #SafeSexInTheWest on social media.

 

Any new initiatives for WHW in Brimbank?

 

With the recent Royal Commission into family violence, Women’s Health West is committed to supporting the recommendations and working towards improving outcomes for community.

What would surprise people to know about you?

 

Despite growing up in the west, I actually follow the Sydney Swans (but have a soft spot for Western Bulldogs).

I am quite fanatical about music and television … and I get very competitive at trivia nights and watching gameshows.