My Place: Louise Zambello

Louise Zambello. (Supplied)

Louise Zambello is the president of Heartbeat Sunbury Macedon Ranges Branch and the Sunbury Community Garden. She speaks with Oliver Lees.

What is your connection to Sunbury and the Macedon Ranges?

My earliest memory of Sunbury is in the early 70s when my husband and I used to visit the Cheese Factory located on what is now the Sherwood estate. We’d take our saucepans, line up with many other Europeans and fill them with hot ricotta cheese, share a picnic blanket and gobble it up on the spot. I discovered many years later that my grandfather used to shoot rabbits in the 30s and my husband fished under the bridge at The Nook in the 60s. Thus, it was probably inevitable that I would end up in Sunbury with our family in 1999 after living in Bullengarook for 17 years.

Why did you become involved in the Sunbury Community Garden?

As a child I regularly visited my grandparents and one of my favourite pastimes was studying their vegetable garden. I remember being amazed that with a little initiative, some commitment and patience, a tiny seed could produce a tasty carrot or an onion, and beans and corn cobs could be reproduced from seeds from the previous year. It became part of my lifestyle to grow my own fruit and vegetables. Not only are the homegrown versions far tastier than shop bought, but more nutritious, with some always left over for family and friends. Joining the Sunbury Community Garden has been an opportunity to make new friends who share the same passion, swap seeds and excess food, have some fun, exercise and my small contribution to reducing my carbon footprint.

What drives you to be president of Heartbeat Sunbury Macedon Ranges Branch and the Sunbury Community Garden?

Not for profits are important, relieving the burden of social issues on government and improving the quality of life in a community. After working for many years as a Legal Practice Manager for a board consultancy assisting many not for profits, I feel I have the experience to make a difference and give back to my local community. I also believe, and even more so since COVID-19, that for not for profits to thrive and continue making a difference well into the future, we need to be sharing resources, knowledge and volunteers. When organisations work together, amazing things happen.

Why is it important to provide a support group for people that have experienced a cardiac event?

Heart disease is still the world’s biggest killer. I strongly believe the power to change this is in our hands. Heartbeat Sunbury Macedon Ranges Branch offers person-centred peer support activities that connect people, carers and families living with heart disease and associated co-morbidities to their community. Heartbeat assists members to have a better understanding of their heart condition and/or co-morbidities and assists them with sourcing ongoing medical and social support. It’s a place to make new friends, share experiences, be educated and motivated to make sensible lifestyle choices and most importantly be happy and healthy.