Upskilling and building capacity

The situation

Communities that have strong social capital – broad networks; local leadership; and community development plans – are proven to recover from natural disasters more quickly than those without those things in place. It is due to this that the Foundation for Rural and Regional Renewal funds a number of programs that help to build leadership capacity and resilience in communities.

FRRR’s CEO, Alexandra Gartmann, says that an impediment to a strong community is often a lack of knowledge, and a fear about what they might be taking on. That’s where localised training comes in.

Several groups in the Shire of Murrindindi, Victoria, are now better placed to understand their governance responsibilities and accountabilities, and make real differences in their communities, thanks in part to a grant via FRRR’s STEPS program.

The response

The training reached 60 people, representing at least 13 different community groups - from Progress Associations to Childcare Centres, an Olive Growers’ Association, an Aquatic Centre, a Men’s Shed, a Rotary Club and more. To increase the reach of the training and ensure value for money, some groups attended joint sessions, while others were open to any local community groups, which created new connections between groups.

The outcome

The participants reported that the training made them more aware of the Rules and Regulations and various obligations to their organisations, while for other participants the key take-away was the importance of planning.

Following the training, community groups in the Shire will be strengthened and confident in their governance roles, and a larger pool of community members will have the skills required to develop and participate in community activities and projects.

It flows on to good governance practice, compliance, and risk management

Kevin Whithear - President of the Goulburn Strathbogie Olive Growers Association Inc.

The session was very informative and adaptive to our needs and although we all thought we had done well in setting up our particular group, we came away with some very clear tasks to attend to. We are now taking steps to address the areas we need to focus on as we build our identity within the Flowerdale region.

Steve Joblin - President of the King Parrot Creek Environment Group

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