50 Days and 50 Ways – #31


Commit to support local community groups through our enhanced Community Development Program

As I was doorknocking and visiting community group meetings in 2011 and 2012, and drawing on my own experience as a community group leader when i was President of the Bonogin Valley Community Association, residents would tell me they felt it was important their local Councillor LISTENED to them. Surprisingly, most residents of Division 9 I spoke to weren’t actually that demanding at all and understood competing priorities and the pressures of balancing budgets and scheduling projects. But they did express they felt disconnected from Council, and misunderstood, and in some cases with some groups even blacklisted. This seemed wrong to me. If I was elected I had to make this right.

The success of my election in 2012 was only fresh when we committed to an enhanced Community Development Program, funded by the Division 9 local area works budget. With such a large division, and so many groups to help, it was important we were strategic and fair in delivery. We devised an ambitious plan for community consultation, conducting street meets in local parks, at local school events, and at the local swimming pool. We dedicated one part-time role to this program, co-ordinating and delivering community consultation activities, actively listening to residents and collating the feedback in manageable portions so we could make informed decisions about the community interest, and also direct residents to the right community group for them based on their interests.

At a street meet in Beechmont with Mayor John Brent & Councillor Virginia West, discussing cross-border council issues for residents.

At a street meet at Zest Fest in Beechmont with Mayor John Brent & Councillor Virginia West, discussing cross-border council issues for residents.

In our first 18 months about 9000 people collectively attended the events we hosted where community consultations were conducted. Hundreds of individuals suggestions were collated and we kept track of them, and where  contact details were provided we wrote back to residents updating them on the status of their suggestion. Heaps of great ideas came out of this process and it was clear the community had a lot to say.

Some of the interesting statistics we found were that community meetings like street meets were strongly supported amongst those members of the community. We acknowledged a self-selecting conclusion there to a certain extent, but had expected a little more flack. We also got strong feedback that facebook and online forums were important to people who wanted to know what was going on. We committed to continuing that in an engaging manner, ensuring all community groups were promoted on our facebook page and to use local media where possible in partnership with groups.

fair team with Bonogin

Community development program at work in Bonogin, helping co-ordinate the annual Spring Fair.

The other part-time role dedicated as part of the Community Development program related to community group enablement. With one of the officers focusing on the role of the people and the listening, the second role focused on the efficiency, governance and sustainability of local community groups. In this area we thrived, helping heaps of groups attain grants, manage their governance obligations, and serve their members according to their constitutions. Since 2012, $1,447,500 (YES, almost $1.5million) has been given to groups through grant applications assisted and enabled by community development officers in the Division 9 office. The grants are funded by the state government, the community benefit fund managed through Jupiter’s Casino, via federal government programs and through corporate entities looking for social enterprise partners. The community development team define their work as helping with the following;

  • Building the capacity of organisations to deliver on their objectives
  • Council liaison and connecting organisations to services within Council
  • Assisting with governance
  • Strategic planning
  • Obtaining funding; Grant support and assistance
  • Linking organisations to services within the local community and the city
  • Event management support

The Community Development Program is a critical part of our success in the Division 9 office and you should Vote 1 Tozer on March 19 to see it continue. Community groups from around the Hinterland have demanded it continue and I know it has paid for itself time and again. If your group needs or wants help, please contact my office to find out more.

The list of most of the groups that have accessed the program, which is free and available to all groups from our area, is as follows;

Austinville Landcare
Beechmont Area Progress Association
Beechmont Community Park Association
Beechmont Recreation Arts and Sports Association
Bonogin Valley Community Association
Bornhoffen PCYC
Burleigh Bears at Firth Park Sports Complex
Clover Hill State School P& C
Combined Carols of Mudgeeraba
Darcy Doyle Art Awards
Five Rivers Netball Club
Gilston State School P&C
Gold Coast and Hinterland Spinners and Weavers
Gold Coast City Choir
Gold Coast Community Kindergartens
Gold Coast Country Music Club
Gold Coast Creative Events
Gold Coast Darts
Gold Coast Dog Sport Club
Gold Coast Hinterland Axemen Club
Gold Coast Hinterland Heritage Museum
Gold Coast Institute of TAFE
Gold Coast Model Flying Club
Gold Coast Mountain Bike Club
Gold Coast Potters
Gold Coast Sculptors
Gold Coast Street Rodders
Gold Coast Woodturners
Hinterland Community Band
Hinterland District Netball Association
Hinterland District Netball Association
Kustoms Australia
Lions Club of Mudgeeraba
Mosaic Church
Mudgeeraba Baseball Club
Mudgeeraba Chamber of Commerce
Mudgeeraba Creek State School
Mudgeeraba Girl Guides
Mudgeeraba Hockey Club
Mudgeeraba Junior Redbacks RLFC
Mudgeeraba Lighthorse Museum
Mudgeeraba Little Athletics
Mudgeeraba Netball Club
Mudgeeraba Pony & Hack Club
Mudgeeraba Probus Club
Mudgeeraba Redbacks
Mudgeeraba Robina RSL
Mudgeeraba Rural Fire Brigade
Mudgeeraba Show Society
Mudgeeraba Soccer Club
Mudgeeraba Spartans AFL
Mudgeeraba Special School
Mudgeeraba Tennis Club
Mudgeeraba Uniting Church
Mudgeraba Girls Guides
NHW Mudgeeraba 3
NHW Mudgeeraba 4
NHW Mudgeeraba 6
Numinbah State School P&C
Outlook Riders Alliance
QCWA Mudgeeraba Springbrook
Rotary Club of Mudgeeraba
Sing Sisters
Somerset College Limited
Springbrook Mountain Arts and Crafts Inc.
Springbrook Mountain Community Association
William Duncan School P&C
Worongary State School P&C

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