Health program’s graduation night a celebration for women

WELLBEING: Western Bulldogs AFLW player Lauren Spark, pictured with Daughters of the West participants, hoped to see the program back next year. Picture: Liz Vagg
WELLBEING: Western Bulldogs AFLW player Lauren Spark, pictured with Daughters of the West participants, hoped to see the program back next year. Picture: Liz Vagg

A graduation will cap off an eight-week pilot health program giving women in Ballarat the tools to improve their physical, mental and emotional wellbeing. 

The Western Bulldogs’ Daughters of the West follows from the successful men’s health program Sons of the West and is delivered across the western corridor, including Maribyrnong, Wyndham, Melton and Ballarat. 

Western Bulldogs AFLW player Lauren Spark, who grew up and works in the western suburbs, is one of the ambassadors.

She discovered the Bulldogs’ community programs when becoming involved in the club as a player this year and said Daughters of the West in particular aligned with her passions and interests. 

“It is a really good opportunity for women that may not have the time, facilities or the connections to go out and meet other women,” she said.

“A lot of the women are a bit older and have had kids so a lot of time and energy goes into that, this is just a chance for them to give themselves some self love.”

While finding balance and making sure to sleep and eat well could be difficult when busy, Spark said mental wellbeing was just as important as physical wellbeing. 

“It is just about being able to incorporate these things into what we’re already doing and thinking about minor changes not major changes – so walking somewhere instead of driving,” Spark said.​

The classes varied from cooking, circuit training and respectful relationship talks to parenting and financial literacy. 

Spark, who has started preseason training with the Bulldogs, said she spoke with participants while trying out some of the program herself. 

“Every single one of them has been super positive about it, they have really enjoyed it and got a lot of benefits out of it… I think they were upset it was only running for eight weeks,” she said.

“But hopefully it will be bigger and longer next year if it rolls on through again.”

Spark said the graduation was an opportunity for the women to celebrate getting through the program together and doing something for themselves.

The graduation will be held at Oscars Cafe on Thursday with Spark a special guest.