Agricultural machinery stalwart Hutcheon & Pearce is partnering with Active Farmers and FIT College to help six community-minded fitness lovers become personal trainers and counter alarming mental health statistics in the regions.
Designed to promote stronger, more resilient rural communities through group fitness, the Empowered Scholarship Program will see the chosen six complete their Certificate III and Certificate IV in Personal Training and go on to work with Active Farmers for a minimum of two years.
Active Farmers chief executive officer and founder Ginny Stevens leads a team of 33 qualified personal trainers in more than 45 small farming communities across the country, reaching some 1500 participants each month, but she has always dreamed of going bigger.
"When Arron Hutcheon asked me how Hutcheon & Pearce could help us get closer to our dream of supporting more farmers to be healthy, well and connected, I was blown away. We talked about how we've had so much interest from community, but we haven't always been able to find trainers to start Active Farmers in those communities. The concept of scholarships was born.
"These scholarships will really empower the six trainers by giving them an opportunity to complete their personal training so that they can proactively help their communities. They can get the qualification and improve their skillsets, and then go on to use that for the greater good of their communities.
"I believe the Empowered program will help Active Farmers to overcome a major hurdle and have a great impact. It is a practical, tangible solution to the challenge we face in getting trainers into some of these smaller communities, and if we can put six local people through this program every year, it means there's so many more communities we'll be able to help, which is really exciting."
Arron Hutcheon shares Ginny's excitement and says the partnership is the perfect fit for Hutcheon & Pearce.
"We absolutely love the opportunity to work with Ginny and the team and be part of this scholarship program. It's our hope that it will empower Active Farmers to grow and spread further into farming communities, which to our mind is a great thing. We also hope it will allow individuals to grow and empower both themselves and their communities.
"Active Farmers is a fantastic organisation with a strong purpose, and we feel closely aligned in values. We rely on the same rural and regional communities and feel the same responsibility to take care of those communities - not only because they are our customers but also because we employ from those communities and we live in them, too. We know that we are nothing without our farming communities and we are happy to be able to contribute to their health and wellbeing in this way."
Applications for the inaugural Empowered Scholarships are now open and close at 5pm AEDST on October 31. Winners will be announced by Christmas with a view to starting training in February 2022.
To enter, applicants must submit a video explaining how an Empowered scholarship would empower them and their community. For those looking to apply, Ginny offers some words of advice.
"We're looking for people who are passionate about fitness but even more passionate about their community and contributing to its wellness and resilience. Applying is not so much about making a video that's professional looking. It's the content of the video that's important. We're not expecting applicants to go and get a film crew. What's going to stand out is the trainer's passion for their community, and then how much their community genuinely needs and wants Active Farmers.
"So don't be shy or embarrassed - don't let that hold you back. Just make sure you put your hat in the ring and focus on how it will help many others in your community."
If you're ready to get fit and empower your community, learn more and apply at www.hutcheonandpearce.com.au/empowered