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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2010 Week 01 Hansard (Thursday, 11 February 2010) . . Page.. 361 ..

The last thing I would like to mention is the 15th anniversary of the connections program, which is a program that is run by Volunteering ACT and which is basically a buddy program for people who are living with mental illness in our community. I was involved in the first steering committee of that organisation when it was formed many years ago, along with a person called Peter Humphries from Mental Health ACT. A lot of the previous directors were present on that night. Particularly I would like to mention that, in the past 12 months, 9,764 hours have been devoted by volunteers to that program, including in the friendship part of the program, 6,808 hours.

I would like to congratulate the current coordinator of that program, Sharon Freebody, and all of the other people that have been involved in the program over the years, of whom there are too many to mention. This is an extremely successful program and one that gives a lot of people the ability to reconnect with their society and with their community after they have suffered a mental illness or if they are living with a mental illness. So I would like to congratulate Volunteering ACT and everyone that is involved in that program.

Music for Everyone

MRS DUNNE (Ginninderra) (4.38): Music for Everyone is one of those community organisations, whilst it is not such a quiet achiever, that certainly reach out into every corner of our community. It is one of those organisations that exist for all people across the community, from our youngest to our oldest, from our most disadvantaged to our most fortunate, from the musically challenged, me, to the musically talented. In short, Music for Everyone lives up to its name to the fullest extent. It has music classes for children aged 18 months to nine years, music for people with disabilities, theatre programs, youth music programs, group classes and individual tuition programs in a range of music instruments, vocal training for young people and adults, training in music ensemble, training for youth and adults, music programs for schools, organisations and institutions and a range of special events.

Research shows that most people who cannot make music say that it is because they regard music as something only gifted people do. This means that many people miss out on music’s proven benefits, which includes better mental and physical health and stronger communities. Music for Everyone transcends those barriers by offering every single person in our community the opportunity to make music.

More than 600 people, aged from 18 months to 80, take part in over 150 hours of music activities on a regular weekly basis through Music for Everyone, and every year thousands of people in the ACT and the surrounding region attend concerts, workshops and other special events presented by this dynamic arts organisation. Indeed, Music for Everyone is something rather unique in Australia, with members who leave the ACT often saying they cannot find anything like Music for Everyone anywhere else in Australia.

With this range of programs so expertly delivered as they are at Music for Everyone and with the support it has from the community, it will come as no surprise to

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