Favourite Cairns Characters: Super Sonya Barber!


Sonya Barber has lived in Cairns for 20 years, arriving during a boom time for industry and opportunity, in a vibrant, SBdynamic city – a world class standard for many things, and right on the door step, a world heritage expanse!  Yet Cairns remained a small community in many ways.

Sonya has worked in the health, fitness and wellbeing sectors, and more recently in the Sport and Recreation industry, for my entire working life, 21 years in fact.  She says, “I have worked in many and diverse roles as trends and markets evolved and presented themselves. I have been self employed for much of work life, even working alongside my husband in small business and travelling to regional and remote communities to deliver the healthy communities messages and programs.”

Sonya’s husband Scott is a constable with Cairns QPS, so Sonya sees first hand the drain that a lack of equitable healthy communities have on emergency services.

As lead teacher for the Fitness programs at TAFE, health and wellbeing officer for the Cairns Campus, Health and Wellbeing advisor to organisations like Ergon Energy and Blue Care, Sonya is well placed to “share the voices of many people in the community, and what it takes to live in happy, healthy communities, small and large.”

Currently studying a Masters in Public Health, Sonya says, “health promotion drives me to ensure that healthy lifestyle opportunities are given to everyone in the community, no matter what their income, age, culture, background, ability or not.”

Sonya was recognised for her business efforts with the Cairns Business Womens club, as regular presenter for Catholic Education, Sonya still runs her own small business ‘Healthy People, Healthy Places’ for project management and funding sources for health, fitness and wellbeing programs for workplaces, communities and other NGOs/not for profit groups.

Sonya has a broad reach and is well known as someone who works hard for their community. The first in our series of Cairns Characters, we think Sonya is tops!

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