Sunday Sessions was a program designed to fill a gap in primary prevention of alcohol harm in the Inner East of Melbourne. The program offered free health and well-being activities at local recreation centres on Sunday mornings during March 2020, as well as providing information and resources for alcohol and other drug support. Sunday Sessions was delivered in partnership with inner east council recreation centres across three local government areas: Boroondara, Manningham and Monash.
By offering the community an opportunity to be physically active on Sunday mornings for free, participants were less likely to partake in high-risk drinking on the Saturday and Friday nights before.
The timing of Sunday Sessions unfortunately coincided with the outbreak of COVID-19 in Victoria. By 16 March, cases of COVID-19 had risen to 78, with all participating recreation centres informed by Council to shut operations to the public. This resulted in the early cancellation of the program after engaging with 66 participants over three weeks.
Despite the unforeseen circumstance of COVID-19, the program was received positively by the community. As part of the participant evaluation survey, 100% of respondents claimed they would participate in Sunday Sessions if offered again. With some participants stating:
- “I benefited from drinking less alcohol on the weekend and making the effort to partake in exercise on the Sunday morning.”
- “A wonderful idea and incentive for all! Well done, great idea to assist the public to be more conscious of their choices, because it is a choice at the end of the day!”
For sustained growth in this area, it’s critical to consider the barriers affecting participation and continue to promote environments that support primary prevention of alcohol harm.
Sunday Sessions resumed in 2021 and expanded to include the Outer East local government areas. Free exercise and wellbeing activities are being offered at participating centres on Sunday mornings during May.
Organisations: Access Health & Community, City of Boroondara, City of Monash, State Government of Victoria, Manningham Council, Link Health & Community, Maroondah City Council, Yarra Ranges Council.
Website: Sunday Sessions