Westbury, Tasmania

About the community

Westbury Community Health and Day Centre Inc

The Meander Valley is an area of 3821 square kilometres extending from the eastern fringe of Launceston (Prospect Vale and Blackstone Heights) to Elizabeth Town in the north-west. It has a population of 19,575. The population is projected to increase by 7% between 2013 and 2026 unlike many parts of Tasmania where populations are forecast to decrease or have limited growth. The Meander Valley has a high level of reliance on manufacturing, retail, agriculture, forestry, fishing and construction with these industries contributing $534 million to the economy annually.  Due to the high reliance of the Meander Valley on agriculture and tourism the population of the municipality tends to increase during the fruit picking, vegetable harvesting and summer holiday periods. The recent decline of the forestry industry has had a significant impact on the municipality with a loss of local business and employment.

Key strengths of the municipality include a strong volunteer base, a council which has a strong focus on health promotion, community development and youth activities, strong local networks and a large number of community based organisations, and a high degree of diversity of services and activities.

Westbury and the Let's Read program

The Westbury Community Health and Day Centre Committee Inc. are a not for profit community organisation whose focus is to support positive health and wellbeing in the Meander Valley. The organisation became aware of the Lets Read program in 2006 and decided to implement it as part of their support for pre-school age children as they were aware of Tasmania’s poor literacy levels and a lack of focus on the importance of reading to children. The program originally commenced in the Meander Valley in September 2007. The organisation delivered the program very successfully with positive outcomes for some time before the Tasmanian Government implemented Lets Read state-wide and took over its delivery (based in part due to the success of the program on the Meander valley). Following the cessation of funding support for the Lets Read program by the Tasmanian government the committee were very keen to recommence the program to ensure its continuation as they believe it is invaluable in promoting reading and literacy.

Community stories

A family commented on how their four oldest children have enjoyed seeing the delight shown by their younger, 10 month-old child, when being read to.  The older children are eager for their turn to read to their youngest sibling. 

The most recent Let's Read programme has been rolling out across the Meander Valley since July 2014.  It has been universally well received.  There have been occasions when parents will give a prompt about their child being the correct age for their next book.  Some parents have also commented about hearing about the programme from other parents.  The message that babies aged four months and even younger is a perfectly wonderful time to start being read to is becoming well understood and accepted across the community.  Likewise the message that reading to our children is like putting gold in their bank accounts.  It is a splendid investment.

September 2018

Launching into Learning, 2016

A presentation to the Launching into Learning group at a local school highlighting latest research findings about the importance of promoting emergent literacy skills. It also provided an opportunity for parents to share ideas about helping their children to enjoy reading books, singing songs, and engaging in child led conversation such as the 'strive for five' concept.

Jillian Zeeman | Child and Family Health Nurse | Westbury Community Health Centre


Sponsors of the Lest Read program include the Department of Social Services who have provided funding support for the program via the RPHSP program and Tasmanian Medicare Local, and the Tasmanian Health Organisation-North who provide in-kind support for the program.

Key contact

Annette Barrett


P 03 6701 2160

Jillian Zeeman


P 03 6701 2155 / 03 6362 5013