Health and Wellbeing

During 2020, Council spoke to 30 primary school children from culturally diverse backgrounds in East Reservoir and East Preston to help understand their experiences of the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as its impact on themselves, their families and their community.

Council partnered with Polyglot Theatre's Voice Lab and 30 students from primary schools in East Preston and East Reservoir, to listen to and understand their experiences of the COVID-19 pandemic.

For some children, these might be the first time they were asked about their thoughts on COVID-19, as well as ideas for how to keep their families and community healthy and well during and after the pandemic.  The children’s responses show a complex world view and understanding about COVID-19 and its impacts, as well as their resilience, hope, anxiety, sadness, and appreciation of being listened to. 

Darebin Council thanks the children for helping us better understand the impact of COVID-19 on communities. 

Looking after your mental and emotional health is important during challenging times, so remember that there are services, support and advice available to help you:

  • Coronavirus Mental Wellbeing Support Service 1800 512 348
  • Kids Helpline 1800 55 1800
  • Parent Line 13 22 89
  • Yarning SafeNStrong 1800 959 563
Further information:
Community Development Officer - Interfaith & Multicultural  

Council works in partnership with Victoria Police and other agencies to minimise the negative impacts of alcohol and other drugs on our community.

Drug and alcohol support services 

To support our  residents to access information, advice and referrals on alcohol and other drug use for themselves and their family, we have developed a pocket-sized Alcohol and other Drugs Quick Reference Guide. 

Alcohol Restricted Zones

Two alcohol restricted zones operate within the areas surrounding Preston Market shopping precinct in Preston and the Edwardes Street shopping precinct Reservoir.The zones are implemented in partnership with Darebin Police in an attempt to address public drinking and enhance perceptions of safety in the zones.

In the designated area the consumption or carrying of an open container of alcohol is prohibited, and may incur a $200 fine.

Cafes and restaurants are exempt and can continue trading under the conditions of their existing approved liquor license application.

Reservoir Restricted Zone: Area between Ralph Street, High Street, Cleeland Street, Olive Street and Byfield Street. - See more at:
  1. Preston Restricted Zone: Area between Bell Street, Plenty Road, Murray Road, High Street, Regent Street, Spring Street and St Georges Road.
  2. Reservoir Restricted Zone: Area between Ralph Street, High Street, Cleeland Street, Olive Street and Byfield Street.

Further Information
Communtiy Safety Officer
Ph: 8470 8587  

More than ever where we live and our local connections are vital for our health and well-being.

Council is committed to working with citizens and communities in local neighbourhood to:

  • strengthen connections of support and solidarity between people
  • improve local social, cultural and economic resources, services and opportunities for all
  • speak up and advocate for each other and together on matters important locally
  • challenge attitudes and actions that discriminate and violate people’s human right
  • improve the health and wellbeing outcomes of residents

Darebin - an overview of disadvantage across the municipality draws together census statistics on the population groups identified as most vulnerable to disadvantage and the key characteristics /indicators understood to contribute to local areas of disadvantage within the municipality.

Council has prioritised East Reservoir and East Preston neighbourhoods in recognition of significant indicators of social and economic disadvantage and health inequities. Council also recognises the skills, energy and commitment of local residents to work together. Council supports the ongoing development and actions of two local community actions groups, East Preston Action Group and East Reservoir Neighbours for Change. Both groups welcome residents to take an active part in these local neighbourhood groups and networks.

East Preston Action Group (EPAG)
Ove the past five years (EPAG) and Council, working together have achieved the following:

  • Advocacy for Council support, funding and development of the East Preston Community Centre
  • The delivery of community events at the Northland Shopping, the Darebin Creek and the Greenbelt Parklands which included Family Movie Nights and Clean Up Australia Day events
  • The group has been instrumental in advocating for better roads, access to transport and improved footpaths in the area

If you’re a local East Preston resident and you’re interested in joining or for further information, please contact Council’s Community Development Officer:
T: 8470 8552

East Reservoir Neighbours for Change (ERNfC)
Over the past five years ERNfC and Council, working together have achieved some of the following communtiy events and advocacy:

  • “Food is Free”, which focused on sharing food and gardening skills between local residents
  • Community Food Sharing Festival
  • Developed and carried out Learning Skills for Community Projects course
  • Community Welcome Dinner and Picnics
  • Community conversation to show our respect & support with people who experience homelessness  
  • road safety advocacy on Boldrewood Parade
  • For community safety initiatives, including two local murals, improved lighting at T.W. Andrews Reserve and community arts and seating project

If you’re a local East Reservoir resident and you’re interested in joining or for further information, please contact Council’s Community Development Officer:
T: 8470 8219

We work to make the City of Darebin a safer place for everyone by working closely with community groups, local police and government agencies to coordinate responses to community safety concerns.

Council works within an equity and public health framework in its approach to community safety. This is informed by evidence and best practice in Crime Prevention research and addresses the built, social, economic and cultural factors that influence safety and crime.

We consider community safety through an equity lens, by considering the impacts of people, experiences and places. Find out more in the Health and Wellbeing Plan.

Applying a gender lens to community safety and public place

Council is committed to supporting everyone’s right to feel safe and live free from violence. Council is working to apply a gender lens to community safety by considering the impacts of gender inequality in how we design and prioritise public place upgrades and community safety initiatives. An example of how we have done this is through the Gender Equality Map.

Family Violence

Family violence remains a pervasive issue for the Darebin community and is the most significant crime against the person in the municipality. We support the family violence service response system by working closely with our regional partners, including Victoria Police and the Darebin Family Violence Network. Find out more about the Darebin Family Violence Network and how Council is addressing family violence here.

Community Safety Audits

Council works with Victoria Police and community groups, sports clubs and other partners to conduct community safety audits of public spaces. A safety audit is designed to explore both contextual and individual evaluations of safety in a place. The audit allows individual experiences to be recorded and then collated to form a rich source of data. Assessments made of spaces include factors such as general perceptions, lighting, maintenance, accessibility and sightlines. Audit recommendations are used by teams across Council to determine how best to improve safety.

To discuss a location where a community safety audit may be useful, contact Council's Communtiy Safety Officer:

Ph: 8470 8587  


Council works closely with other organisations that help to make the City of Darebin a safer place. These include work with Victoria Police, Department of Justice and Community Safety and the Department of Health and Human Services. These organisations along with others and Council meet regularly through the Community Safety Reference Group.

Current Community Safety projects

Council is currently working to deliver the following safety infrastructure projects. Each of these have been funded by the Department of Justice and Community Safety (DJCS). Current projects include:

  • TW Andrews Reserve – construction of a new meeting space and improvements to landscaping. The project will make this park a more welcoming and safer space. More information at: YourSay

  • Oakhill Village Lighting (Plenty Rd/Tyler St) – DJCS has funded a partnership project to investigate new approaches to test gender sensitive design approaches to influence the next iteration of the Victorian crime prevention strategy and state government public safety infrastructure funding for local government. The lighting and streetscape improvements are primarily between 621 and 671 Plenty Rd. More information at: YourSay

  • Main Drive Bundoora – street lighting along Main Drive between Plenty Rd and Springthorpe Blvd will be improved. The project will improve perceptions of safety for pedestrians, particularly those travelling between the 86 tram stop on Plenty Rd, La Trobe University and Polaris 3083 shopping centre. Construction is due for late 2020.

Further Information
Community Safety Officer
Ph: 8470 8587  

Information on financial assistance and food aid within Darebin.

 Access to food and basic items

If you need assistance to access food relief and essential items, we have put together a guide to help you find a local service that can assist you to access grocery vouchers, food parcels and pre-made meals. You can also call us on 8470 8888 and ask for the Community Navigation Service.

Council is working with local services to increase access of food relief to households. We are currently providing about 300 households with weekly food relief through our partnership with local agencies.

Darebin's Emergency Relief Agencies
To request emergency relief assistance, call Darebin Information Volunteer Resource Service (DIVRS) on 9480 8200, Monday – Thursday between 9.30am -12.30pm. You may need to leave a message with your name and contact details and you will receive a call back the same day.

Otherwise, contact the following local agencies:

  • Encompass Care, Bundoora: 0422 461 847
  • Northern Community CareWorks, Preston: 9484 4788
  • Reservoir Neighbourhood House (Reservoir residents): 9462 4611
  • Salvation Army – Emergency Relief, Preston: 9471 9111
  • St Vincent de Paul - Call Centre: 1800 305 330

Darebin Emergency Relief Network
The Network has a primary role to coordinate a regional approach to meeting the needs of residents experiencing financial or material disadvantage. Membership is open to the Darebin Emergency Relief Network (DERN) for a range of local emergency relief providers and other community agencies providing services to Darebin, or with interest in providing emergency relief services.

For further information, refer to the Terms of Reference.

Further Information
Community Development Officer
T: 8470 8552

We play an active and important role in reducing the harm associated with Electronic Gaming Machines (pokies) gambling

If you’re worried about gambling,  support is available:

  • Gamblers Help Ph: 1800 858 858, TTY 1800 777 706 – 24-hour telephone counselling service
  • Gambling Help Online – 24/7 online support for problem gambling counselling and support.

Since pokies venues closed on 23 March 2020 due to COVID-19, the Darebin community saved $51 million from being spent on poker machines. That is $223,400 each day the pokies have been closed in Darebin alone.

Every dollar spent on poker machines is a dollar that could be supporting our local economy in its recovery. To get help, you can also contact Gamblers Help North and North West on 1300 133 445.

Electronic Gaming Machine Policy 2018-2022

On the 3 December 2018 Council endorsed the Darebin Electronic Gaming Machine Policy 2018-2022 and Action PlanThe policy seeks to make the Darebin community free of the harm associated with Electronic Gaming Machines (pokies), with over $80 million lost in EGM gambling in Darebin every year. EGM gambling is a major driver of household debt, family breakdown and there is now consistent evidence that gambling is a contributing factor to family violence.

The Policy will be enacted through four priority areas:

  1. Legislation Regulation: To exercise the full extent of Council's regulatory and legislative mandate to minimise harm from EGMs.

  2. Advocacy: Council will continue to be recognised as a state wide leader in driving changes to reform those systems and structures that cause gambling-related harm to the Darebin community.

  3. Organisational Alignment: Council will take a whole of organisation approach to minimising harm, acknowledging that all our activities can contribute to minimising harm.

  4. Evidence Research Data: Council will develop a strong, robust and defensible evidence base that will enhance Council’s capacity to effectively influence the location, management and operation of EGMs in the municipality and contribute to the broader evidence base.

What will the policy mean for the community?

The policy contains a number of items that relate to the provision of Council funding and support, most notably that:

  • Council will not fund community groups who meet in venues that have EGMs through any of its community funding programs.
  • Any sporting club, community group, organisation or association that operate or own EGMs will be ineligible for community grants, financial assistance or in kind support from Council.
  • Any sporting club, community group, organisation or association that receives sponsorship or grants (in-kind or cash) from poker machine revenue will have Council grants, in-kind support and funding reduced by the amount and level of funding and/or in-kind support received from EGM sources.
  • Council will not provide sporting grounds, Council venues or use of Council property to any sporting clubs, community groups, organisations or associations who directly operate or own EGMs in Darebin or elsewhere.

It is Council’s intention through this policy to support clubs and groups to be independent of any reliance on EMG generated funding or support.  We will work with organisations to develop tailored transition plans to ensure that they may continue to access Council facilities and resources and provide a benefit to their members.

Further Information:
Wellbeing Policy Lead
Ph: 8470 8553

Darebin City Council is required under the Victorian Public Health and Wellbeing Act 2008 to develop a Municipal Public Health and Wellbeing Plan every four years under the Act.

Darebin’s Health and Wellbeing Plan 2017-2021, has been developed on our understanding that people’s health and wellbeing is influenced by the social, economic, cultural, built and natural conditions in which Darebin people are born, grow, learn, live, work and age. These are known as social determinants that can either strengthen or weaken our health and wellbeing. It sets Council’s health priorities for the next four years.

It outlines what we will do to help achieve improved health and wellbeing outcomes so that residents can live rewarding, healthy and socially connected lives.

Our mission for Darebin’s Health and Wellbeing Plan is healthy, strong and resilient people and connected communities, and strives for health equity for all. There are four overarching goals to reach this vision:

1. Create equitable, healthy and sustainable neighbourhoods

2. Create lifelong learning, educational and employment opportunities for all Darebin people

3. Improve the emotional and social wellbeing of all Darebin people

4. Improve the physical health of all Darebin people

Further Information:

Wellbeing Policy Lead
8470 8553 or

Darebin’s Home and Community Care Program for Younger People (HACC PYP) assists eligible people aged under 65 (and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people under 50), who need support to manage activities of daily living or are caring for someone who needs support.

Council’s HACC PYP officer can undertake a holistic Living at Home Assessment to understand a person’s need. Our officer will explore ways for the person to live independently and remain active in their community.

What funded services may be available to eligible individuals?

  • Meals
  • Domestic assistance
  • Personal care
  • Respite
  • Property maintenance
  • Referral to community-based health services
  • Short-term care coordination
  • Linkages to local services 

To find out more or to discuss your client’s needs contact Council’s HACC PYP Officer on 0439 977 510 or email


Tips for keeping yourself and your pets cool and safe during a heatwave.

Climate change is making our summers hotter and longer. In Darebin, temperatures often reach more than 30 degrees in summer, which can be dangerous for people and animals. Some basic tips to remember during a heatwave are:

  • Keep your home cool
  • Avoid strenuous activities
  • Wear sunscreen, a hat and light, loose clothing if you go outside
  • Keep your body cool and hydrated by drinking water and avoiding alcohol, caffeine and sugary drinks.

Webinar recording - Keep Cool, Save Money

To learn more about how you can Keep Cool and Save Money this Summer, check out our webinar recording. Our friends at Uniting give practical advice on how to keep your house cool and save on your electricity and gas bills. You can also view the slides from the webinar here.

Watch the Keep Cool Save Money Webinar.

Energy Assist Program

You can access free independent telephone advice on how to improve the efficiency of your home and reduce your electricity bills through the Energy Assist program offered by Brotherhood of St Laurence, Uniting and Australian Energy Foundation. Call 1800 830 029 or email to access this free service. Anyone experiencing hardship as a result of COVID is eligible. 

Keep Cool in Darebin Map

Download the Keep Cool in Darebin Map. This is your guide to where to cool down, get a drink of water and access help on a hot day in Darebin – for free. For a hardcopy of the map please email


Keep Cool Postcards

Download our handy postcard for some great tips on keeping cool in your home.

Plan Ahead

  • Check weather forecasts often at the Bureau of Meteorology website
  • Reschedule outdoor events, physical or sporting activities on days when extreme heat is forecast
  • If you are on medication, check with your doctor before going out in the summer heat
  • Stock up on food and other essentials so you don't have to leave the house during the heat

Steps for dealing with the heat

  • Drink plenty of water regularly to replenish fluids lost through perspiration.
  • Don't leave people or pets in cars
  • Keep cool by putting a damp towel around your neck and sit in front of a fan or air conditioner
  • Block sunlight from windows with heavy curtains or blinds
  • Stay indoors during the heat of the day
  • Open windows at night to let cooler air in to your house

Heat Stress

Signs of heat stress can include headache, nausea, dizziness, weakness, irritability, thirst, and heavy sweating. If you feel don't well call your doctor, Nurse-On-Call (1300 606 024) or in an emergency, ring 000 (triple zero).

Check in on others

If you have older, sick or frail neighbours, check in on them on heatwave days to make sure they're okay. Pass on the tips listed above to help them reduce their chances of suffering from a heat related illness. If they receive services from our Aged and Disability department they can also be put on our Client Heatwave Register so we can check in on them too. For more information call 8470 8828.


Don't forget to look after your pets during summer, make sure to:

  • Provide plenty of fresh, cool water every day
  • Ensure they have access to shaded, cool areas
  • Walk your dog early morning or in the evening to avoid sunburn and dehydration
  • Never leave your pet in a car or hot, enclosed space
  • If concerned, take your pet to your local vet

For further advice visit the RSPCA website.

10 simple cooling tips to keep your bills in check

To help you stay safe and save money this summer the Australian Energy Foundation have put together their top 10 tips for keeping your home cool:

  1. Set Your Temperature Wisely
    Set your thermostat to cool to 23-26 degrees in summer. In winter, only heat the house up to 18-20 degrees. Every degree lower or higher can add 10% to your running costs.
  2. Use Fans
    Sometimes, a fan is all you need for some welcome cooling air. Since fans cost only $5-$20 per season to run, using them as much as possible helps lower your energy bill.
  3. Shade Outdoor Unit
    Either have your outdoor air conditioner component installed in a shady place, or protect it from direct sunlight with an awning. This will help it run more efficiently and protect it from overheating.
  4. Maintain Regularly
    Use the maintenance schedule contained in your air conditioner’s manual. This will head off many energy-sapping or expensive-to-fix issues before they even begin.
  5. Clean the Filter
    Clogged filters make your air conditioner work much harder to produce the same effect; for optimum energy use, clean or replace them every 1-2 months.
  6. Only Heat or Cool Occupied Areas
    If no one’s in a room, there’s little reason to condition it. Room sensors, smart controls, and timers for your aircon/heating can be used or get in the habit of turning it off when you leave.
  7. Keep Doors & Windows Closed
    Tell your fellow inhabitants to keep all doors and windows closed as much as possible. Using thick curtains in sun-exposed rooms is also a great way to keep temperatures lower.
  8. Insulate Your House
    A fully insulated home compared to a non-insulated home can reduce the cost of heating and cooling a home by around 40 to 50%.
  9. Buy an Energy-Efficient Split-System Air Conditioner
    If you have a ducted air conditioner system, you’re spending $100-$300 more — per season — than you need to. Energy-efficient split-system air conditioners are not only cheaper to buy and install, but also cheaper to run.
  10. Go Solar
    This is the biggest investment, but also the biggest savings - by far. In fact, it’s not even close: solar systems save their owners 30-60% on their energy bills, and pay for themselves in 3-7 years.

Heatwave Planning

Our Extreme Heat Sub Plan aims to reduce the impact of heatwave on our community through education, service provision and urban design. For further information and resources, visit the Department of Health and Human Services website and The Better Health Channel.

Never leave children unattended in cars - see link

Council supports people seeking housing and homelessness assistance by providing information and referral to local support agencies. A number of services in Darebin are continuing to offer assistance to people in need of housing and homelessness support during Covid-19.

Homelessness Support Services

  • Merri Outreach Support Service provide an Assertive Outreach Program to people sleeping rough in Darebin, which aims to bridge the gap between rough sleepers and the service system. The program consists of specialist outreach workers who can visit and respond to rough sleepers and connect them to services they need, including housing and health care.  A program referral can be made by email with the details of the location of the rough sleeper and other relevant information (such as concerns for their health or welfare). Please note, this is not an emergency response.
  • Haven; Home, Safe is the local access point for people who are experiencing homelessness in Darebin. They provide housing and support information; assessment and advocacy; referral to crisis accommodation and specialist support services and limited financial assistance to establish or maintain rental tenancies.
    T: 9479 0700 | 52-56 Mary Street Preston (open 9am to 5pm Monday to Friday – please note social distancing measures are in place for people attending their site)
  • St Kilda Crisis Contact Service is a statewide after-hours housing and homelessness service, available from 5pm to 9am Monday to Friday and 24 hours on weekends.
    T: 1800 627 727
  • People experiencing homelessness and rough sleeping may also be able to access Darebin Council’s Community Shower Access Program, which provides free shower and locker access at Reservoir Leisure Centre Monday to Friday.  Please note people interested in accessing the program will be assessed for eligibility and suitability. For more information about this program, please email

Inquiry into Homelessness in Victoria 

In 2020, the Victorian Legislative Council at the undertook an inquiry into the state of homelessness in Victoria. The Inquiry focused on:

  • an independent analysis of the changing scale and nature of homelessness across Victoria;
  • investigating the many social, economic and policy factors that impact on homelessness; and
  • identifying policies and practices from all levels of government that have a bearing on delivering services to the homeless.

Darebin made a submission to the inquiry that focused on opportunities that exist to address homelessness and housing. You can view our submission and the report made to Parliament, with 51 recommendations to the Victoria Government. 

Further Information
Community Development Officer
Ph: 8470 8552 or