A group of organisations have been working together over the last two years, to innovatively tackle some of the most pressing issues that we face, in Central Victorian communities.
Make a Change Australia has rallied North Central Catchment Management Authority, Australian Red Cross, Golden City Support Services, La Trobe University, Birchgrove Property Group, Bendigo Health, CFA State Headquarters and City of Greater Bendigo who are all standing behind a program called Greater Bendigo’s Curriculum for Change. They have given time, funds, goodwill and resources, to make this program happen.
Organiser Karen Corr says: “This initiative is unique because it takes engagement in communities to a whole new level.”
“When governments and institutions talk about ‘engaging communities’ they mean ‘including people in their decision-making process’ so that they can more effectively do their job, to provide services for the community,” says program partner Andrea Sloane of Bendigo Health. “While this is needed, we see a bigger opportunity in activated communities as part of the resources and the solutions.” Organisers believe that currently there is an “us vs them” culture between government and community. This leads to government’s surviving necessary interaction with the community as part of their job, and community mostly resigned to ‘no real possibility’ for mutually supportive collaborations.
“Ultimately, we are looking for a resolution in this dynamic, for the greater good of all,” says Karen.
John Willis of Golden City Support Services sees huge potential for governments and organisations to more effectively partner with communities to realise solutions. “Acknowledging the tremendous resource, collective intelligence and generosity regional communities offer, the possibilities to create real and lasting change are endless if properly acknowledged and supported”.
In 2017, the Curriculum for Change included a number of stages.
The first stage raised awareness and invited people to engage in broad questions related to key issues. This encouraged thinking differently and sharing insights.
This was followed by a series of forums that brought people from diverse backgrounds and interests together to explore issues further. In order to create new ideas, connections and realise possible solutions.
Issues explored included: Building stronger connections and looking out for each other; creating active healthy neighbourhoods; connecting with our environment; gearing up for the future and a changing economy.
In 2018, the focus has been on community building skills to support locally led solutions. Supporting effective action to address the challenges previously identified.
“The high levels of participation in our programs, says everything about how this approach is wanted and needed,” says Karen Corr
“In 2017, we generated positive dialogue that directly engaged with 4000+ people, facilitated 400 new connections, and assisted 100 people taking action. Events hosted involved 570 people, included 100+ organisations and reached more than 100,000 people online and in media.”
The next and final event as part of the Curriculum for Change is called Let’s Nut it Out. Held Wednesday 6 June at La Trobe University Bendigo Campus, Let’s Nut it Out is a networking and skills building day for people of all ages who want to make good stuff happen in their community.
Additional information or interviews, contact Karen Corr 0419 006 243
Interviews, quotes, high resolution and additional images available on request.
Website: www.exchangeable.org.au/events | Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
This initiative is the final part of Greater Bendigo’s Curriculum for Change: a series of discussions, programs and educational events throughout 2017 & 2018 underlining how
each and every one of us can play a part in creating the future we want.
Published in the Bendigo Weekly, Friday 1st June, 2018