Building and sustaining thriving small communities is a constant challenge, but investing in the things that support a community and giving them a sense of belonging and pride builds a strong foundation. Supporting projects that bring people together and give them the opportunity to share knowledge and experiences creates social capital for stronger communities.
Musical playground brings a community together
Music crosses all genders, disabilities and cultures, helping people to express themselves and encouraging social interaction. The people of Yarram in Gippsland, Victoria, created an outdoor musical playground.
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Music crosses all genders, ages, disabilities and cultures, helping people to express themselves, improve cognitive skills and encourage social interaction. With this knowledge, the people of Yarram in Gippsland, Victoria, decided to make the most of the space they had to create an outdoor musical playground.
The Yarram Recreation Reserve Committee of Management was constructing a new multi-purpose community facility using money raised through local fundraising, a Victorian government grant and many volunteer hours. However, they didn’t have money to complete the external areas. They wanted to create an outdoor learning space to cater to the diversity of users and encourage visitors to the area.
With a $60,000 grant received from a very generous private donor, they were able to create an outdoor musical playground to provide a stimulating learning space for children, older people, people with a disability, and families with children using the new community facility.
Even before the final landscaping was completed, children were taking the musical equipment for a test run, creating and hitting high notes, with music ringing out from the playground, according to Jack Millier, President of Yarram Recreation Reserve Inc.
“The kids play on it all day from early morning to late at night. Once a week we have an elderly group drive into town to have a play, as well as a school who support children with disabilities.
“The two local state schools even hold music classes using the instruments. The instruments are highly tuned and so make an amazing sound. You really need to come and visit to hear how good it is,” said Mr Millier.
The playground has also attracted some media attention, drawing visitors from interstate, giving a boost to the area.
Panels secure cinema's future
The Narooma School of Arts & Soldiers War Memorial is used as a cinema and theatre. Despite its popularity, its viability was under threat due to high-power costs, so they installed 40 solar panels.
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Narooma, on NSW’s far south coast, relies heavily on tourism, with a population of around 7,500 that trebles over the summer months. The community-owned Narooma School of Arts & Soldiers War Memorial is used as a cinema and theatre, and attracts both locals and visitors. Despite its popularity – it hosts around 40,000 visitors a year - its viability was under threat due to high power costs, mainly attributed to the energy demands of the cinema projector.
A $10,000 grant funded by the Vincent Fairfax Family Foundation through FRRR’s Culture, Arts, Tourism & Community Heritage (CATCH) program went toward the purchase and installation of 40 solar panels (10kw).
Laurelle Pacey, a committee member, said the system should generate about 25% of the hall’s power consumption.
“This will improve the commercial viability of the hall’s operations, and therefore ensure that this much-loved and hugely important tourist attraction continues to operate, as it has done since it was built in 1926.”
My Place, Our Place – Goomalling Yarns
Country Arts Network WA partnered with the Shire of Goomalling and the local Noongar Aboriginal community on an intergenerational community history project, combining hip-hop, oral histories and print making to tell stories.
Listen to their stories
In the 1960’s Goomalling, in WA’s wheat-belt, hosted an Aboriginal reserve housing 10 indigenous families, some of whom still reside in the area.
To build stronger relationships and educate locals and visitors about the cultural significance of Goomalling, the Country Arts Network (CAN) WA partnered with the Shire of Goomalling and the local Noongar Aboriginal community on an intergenerational community history project. It combined hip-hop, oral histories, photography and printmaking to tell the stories of those who lived on the reserve.
With a $17,600 grant through the Culture, Arts, Tourism & Community Heritage (CATCH) program, funded by the McCusker Charitable Foundation, more than 350 photos were identified. You can see some of the photos online, as well as listen to some of the fascinating stories: canwa.com.au/project/bush-babies.