Media Release - Utes and Boots 2022

Family fun day gives respite to flood-affected communities

Rural Alive and Well, in partnership with TasNetworks, brought flood-affected communities together on Saturday with the return of the popular Utes and Boots event in Sheffield.

The free Utes and Boots event was held in Sheffield as part of a $50,000 partnership to reduce the prevalence of suicide within rural and remote Tasmanian communities.

RAW Tasmania CEO, Barb Walters, said the event came at a much-needed time for Northern

Tasmania. “The Kentish region and surrounding areas have been devastated by recent storms and floods, causing extensive property damage, lost revenue and financial and mental stress on individuals, families, businesses and local services,” Barb said.

“Stress impacts our mental health and well-being, as well as our ability to recover and bounce back.” “The team at RAW are here to support rural communities right across Tasmania who are dealing with stress, with Utes and Boots being just one of our initiatives made possible through the TasNetworks partnership,” she said.

The RAW/TasNetworks partnership includes a calendar of events and activities tailored to support rural communities around the state and specific communities impacted by the North West Transmission Developments project.

TasNetworks’ Project Director for The North West Transmission Developments, Damian Vermey, said “the event was designed to support mental health, well-being and resilience in rural communities.”

“Utes and Boots was a terrific opportunity for the Kentish community to come together, take a breather, and have some fun,” Mr Vermey said. “I considered myself a sack race sensation until the Kentish competition showed me how they master the sack.”

Utes and Boots, held within Mural Park at Sheffield, featured free family fun activities, including sack races, a bike track, live music and a ‘Best Ute’ competition run by Rural Youth Devonport. The event also aimed to connect people with services and organisations like the National Emergency Management Agency and Red Hot Tips.

About the Organisations

Rural Alive & Well (RAW) is a Tasmanian not-for-profit organisation providing specialised one-on-one, psychosocial mental health support to build mentally healthy and resilient rural communities and reduce the prevalence of suicide. RAW offers these services to individuals, families and communities without cost and no wait times.

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