Lion hosted a special Christmas dinner this week for locals in the town of Armatree, in central west NSW, helping them reconnect after the challenges of 2021.
The event followed the success of its previous Beers for the Bush Christmas dinner it held at Armatree in 2018, and saw founder of Gotcha4Life Gus Worland as special guest host for the evening.
Last month, Lion announced it will team up with Gus Worland’s foundation Gotcha4Life to engage, educate and empower regional communities through mental fitness programs at country pubs and clubs across Australia.
The programs delivered by partners, Tomorrow Man, Tomorrow Woman and Man Anchor will offer participants access to training and tools that help build mental fitness by equipping them with skills to start meaningful conversations and empower them to help others confidently and safely with mental health support. The programs will be rolled out to participating Lion venues and their teams, as well as their communities.
Speaking about the event, Worland (above, left) said: “We know the last few years of extended lockdowns and isolation has been difficult for people, particularly in those regional areas where people are isolated at the best of times on their properties.
“Life on the land is tough and we know that the suicide rate in the bush is higher, per capita, than in the cities. That’s why it’s so important to re-connect people with their local communities and the pub is the perfect place to do this as it’s a natural meeting place.
“That’s why I was excited to attend Lion’s Community Christmas Dinner and once again bring some normalcy and meaningful conversations to this local community who have faced big challenges over the last few years.”
The event was held at the Armatree Hotel, which was voted Best Bush Pub in 2018 and 2019 by the NSW AHA and is renowned for its good old country hospitality. It also most recently became the first COVID-19 vaccination hub at a pub in the country.
Owner of the Armatree Hotel Ash Walker said: “We’re grateful to be recognised for the important role we play in building mental fitness in the community.
“It was great to welcome people from all walks of life from the local region, to come in for a friendly chat, beer and a meal and start re-connecting as we go into the festive season and are able to get back to our regular program of community events.”
In 2018 Lion commissioned and published a major study that looked at the psychological and social benefits of having a ‘local’. It showed that people who have a local bar, pub, hotel or club are more likely to be satisfied with their life, have broader friendship and support networks. People’s level of happiness is directly linked to being social and interacting with others and the ‘local’ is a very important way for many people to meet and socialise.