Positive in pandemic

Business owners Tom and Lisa with kids Levi and Maeve. 208350 Picture: STEWART CHAMBERS

Healesville’s Grand Hotel has fitted out the pub’s exterior with several posters in a bid to lift community spirit.

Pedestrians and drivers passing the iconic hotel can easily spot the signage, which has been created by locals to share messages of support for those doing it tough.

Healesville resident and pub-goer Kersten Gentle said the idea came from her daughter Nikita, who pitched the idea to the business owners of the hotel.

“We recognised how community minded Lisa and Tom are and my daughter said, ‘why don’t we do some posters to brighten up the place as people are walking’ and the response from people has been amazing,” Ms Gentle said.

“This town has gone through a lot in the past and I know that if the community comes together now, we will make sure that everyone gets through this. And that’s what these posters are about; making sure that everyone comes through the other end of this pandemic.”

Business owner Lisa McKay-Campbell invites locals to design their own A2 posters to display across the pub as they enlist the services of Breen Printing to create their positive posters. Relatives of Ms McKay-Campbell, who were in Mallacoota at the time of the recent bushfires were involved in a similar feat paying respects to the nation’s firefighters.

The idea initially started as a home-schooling art class activity but is now open for people of all ages with time to spare in isolation.

“One of the biggest problems with the pandemic is the effect on people’s mental health, so if these posters can put a smile on someone’s face then the Grand is doing a good job … To me this is the perfect canvas for our town,” Ms Gentle said.

Ms McKay-Campbell said that some of her customers would share that the brief interaction with the hotel’s staff would be the only human contact they receive for the day.

The Grand Hotel is now operating a drive-through takeaway meal service for locals looking for a restaurant quality meal without having to leave the comfort of their car.

“It’s something that we would never had ordinarily done … It’s the only thing we can really do,” Ms McKay-Campbell said.

“You drive through the bottle shop and they pass it to you through the car window. You can literally come through in your pyjamas.”

As part of their takeaway menu, the hotel has also started cooking regular Sunday roasts for customers.

Those keen to have their artwork displayed can drop off the poster to the Grand Hotel’s bottle shop or contact: grandcommunityspirit@gmail.com.

To place an order at the Grand Hotel, view the menu at https://healesvillegrandhotel.com.au/ and call 0404 406 172.