FRRR CEO tells conference community groups must collaborate more to survive

Community groups must collaborate and look beyond the boundaries of their own town or district if they are to be successful in delivering on the needs of their communities.

That was the key message from FRRR’s CEO, Alexandra Gartmann, at this week’s SA/NT Community Bank Conference in Port Lincoln, South Australia.

Alexandra shared examples of how collaboration has delivered tangible outcomes for communities, highlighting in particular the benefits of the Community Enterprise Foundation working closely with FRRR to help Victorian communities affected by the 2009 bushfires to recover.

“In the face of increasing complexity and uncertainty, partnerships, relationships and collaborations are crucial to developing solutions to meet community needs and aspirations. In fact, the success and survival of regional and rural communities depends on being prepared to work together,” Alexandra said.

She also shared her three principles for success: Rigour, Relevance and Relationships.

“Whatever is done needs to be community-led, genuinely useful and sustained. People are sick of ill-conceived and ‘flash in the pan’ initiatives,” she told conference attendees.

“Partnerships are all about sharing ideas, constraints and solutions and then harnessing the collective capacity. There is no silver bullet but some communities are identifying and implementing innovative solutions to reverse the trends of rural decline. Those responding best are those that are socially and politically connected beyond their immediate community and who look outside to see what other communities facing similar challenges are doing.”

Regional Australia Minister Simon Crean expressed similar sentiments when he addressed the Sustaining Rural Communities Conference in Narrabri. Mr Crean called on local leaders to drive new partnerships and collectively build stronger and more sustainable rural communities.

FRRR can help rural and regional communities by connecting groups facing similar challenges, enabling them to share best practice; providing funding support; as well as raising issues and highlighting specific community challenges with decision makers.

For details about how FRRR can assist, explore this website or contact our office.

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