Taking control by building local skills

Mudgegonga is a small community in the Alpine Region of North Eastern Victoria. It was one of the areas affected by the devastating events of the Black Saturday bushfires in 2009.

In 2011, the Mudgegonga and District Landcare Group coordinated an application to the STEPS program, a joint initiative between FRRR and the Department of Planning and Community Development, to undertake a series of workshops to equip local residents with the skills necessary to encourage greater involvement in community activities and to assist with development of a Community Foundation.

Participants at the training course.Fourteen representatives from six local community groups attended seven training sessions. Each workshop was designed to help connect the community by improving communication, problem solving, strategic planning and grant writing abilities, as well as identifying future opportunities.

The program, which concluded in February, was an overwhelming success, with one participant saying, “The program has expanded my view of what is possible and given me more confidence to take on more within my community.”

Three-quarters of the way through the course, 70% of the participants said they had increased their knowledge of Community Foundations and their purpose. 70% also felt encouraged and supported to take on a community role.

As one attendee said, “I have really gained a lot of confidence from participating in the course. I am excited and enthusiastic about the philanthropic fund and its huge potential long term benefits for our local community.”

Based on the success of the pilot program, the STEPS Program funded another series of workshops, which means a further 20 participants will benefit from the training.

Applications for the next round of STEPS grants will be considered in July, 2012. If you’d like to know more about how your community could benefit from this highly competitive program, or if you would like to support this great program, please contact the STEPS Program Coordinator on 1800 170 020.

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