WOMEN'S WELBEING: Womens Health Rockhampton team in the lead up to the 2017 expo. This year's expo will be the biggest yet.
WOMEN'S WELBEING: Womens Health Rockhampton team in the lead up to the 2017 expo. This year's expo will be the biggest yet. Tamara MacKenzie. ROK230217tkwom

New home for Rocky wellness expo after huge growth

A FEW years ago, the Rockhampton Women's Health Centre's first community expo saw people squeezing into every available space at their Bolsover St facility.

Now the event has become so successful, attracting dozens of stalls and hundreds of people, that it's had to find a new home.

This year, the not-for-profit centre will host the biggest Women's Wellness Expo yet at the Rockhampton Showgrounds to coincide with Queensland Women's Week in March.

Centre counsellor and educator Chantelle Smitheim said the new venue would allow food stalls, as well as a larger range of experiences for people to try and extra information stalls.

Attendance has steadily grown since the expo became an annual event two years ago, expanding from 30 to 60 stalls and 300 visitors to between 500 and 600.

Ms Smitheim said word of mouth communication from attendees had been the main driver of this growth.

She said the expo was being held on a Saturday this year, in a trial to see if it allowed more people to attend despite the problems it may pose to service providers who don't have the capacity to staff stalls on weekends.

This year, there will be a main stage with a range of inspirational local women speaking including Undamine Industries Director and CEO Karla Way-McPhail, Queensland NDIS ambassador and paralympian Karni Liddell, Keppel MP Brittany Lauga and Women's Health Centre project and business leader Shirin Dharmalingam.

There will also be a series of informative talks on budgeting, maintaining a work/life balance, self esteem and mindfullness and combating negative thoughts.

There are activities planned, as well as information and business stalls and a "relaxation room” where people can try yoga, pilates and reiki or get a massage.

"It's not just about your physical health, it's about your emotional health as well,” Ms Smitheim said.

"We wanted women to have a greater awareness of what was available in their community and that's why it did just start off with the other services available coming along. It started off very small.

"It's about giving women more tools, information and resources they can use to support their families. It makes our community a better place.”

Ms Smitheim said the Women's Health Centre had been supported with sponsorship from Rockhampton Regional Council, which had made the larger event a possibility.



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