Wimmera Information Network winds up

Leanda Elliott and Judith Bysouth have put in countless hours as members of the Wimmera Information Network committee. Picture: SAMANTHA CAMARRI
Leanda Elliott and Judith Bysouth have put in countless hours as members of the Wimmera Information Network committee. Picture: SAMANTHA CAMARRI

WIMMERA Information Network has disbanded after about 40 years of connecting residents to community groups.

The volunteer-run network co-ordinated an online database of groups within the region, and also a provided a printed directory to Horsham Rural City Council residents.

Interim network chairman Barry Laird said the council would no longer fund the network and instead work with a new database provider, My Community Directory.

The network – spearheaded by Judith Bysouth and the late Don Johns – officially closed last week.

Mr Laird said there was no animosity about the decision.

“This process has been in place for more than 12 months,” he said.

“Council has supported the network financially for many years, and we have also been able to raise a bit of money through the people and groups who utilise the information we provide.

“But the money we collect from other agencies is not sufficient for us to continue, so we are closed.

“The information will still be available, but perhaps electronically rather than printed form.”

Mr Laird said Wimmera Information Network produced its printed directory every two years.

“The booklet contained all the sporting clubs, hospitals and other groups and services in the region,” he said.

“It has been a very informative document. It was the sort of thing that someone could pick up in the doctor’s surgery and learn where they could access other services.

“We had 2293 people who subscribed to the information. We are now in the process of notifying the people who contribute to the database that we are defunct,” he said.

“We have been able to send out many emails, but a lot of our participants don't have email, so we are sending letters also.”

Mr Laird said the group would transfer its database to council. “While we are closing our doors, the community will still be serviced by council through My Community Directory,” he said.

“That directory is used in other states as well.”

Mr Laird said the group was proud of its achievements and thanked those who supported its work.