Rupanyup community groups focus on local needs

To build and sustain a vibrant culture in small towns takes passionate volunteers and well-equipped, well-maintained spaces where people can congregate, connect and visit. Small communities that consider the needs of all community members, as well as how to attract visitors into the town to support the economy, create a sustainable environment for growth.

The small Wimmera township of Rupanyup has a very active volunteer base that keeps the town progressing, and their keen interest in the arts and cultural events is a real drawcard for both local residents and tourists.

Local community groups have had a long history of receiving grants, and over the years, FRRR has supported many locally-led projects with small grants, including:
  1. Rupanyup Nursing Home Support Group to run the Music, Fun and Friendship project - $1,000;
  2. Rupanyup Public Hall Committee to purchase new seating for this venue - $4,500;
  3. Woods' Farming & Heritage Museum to install hand dryers in refurbished bathrooms - $3,278.

A snapshot of these three projects is below.

Music, fun and friendship for the ageing

Like many remote and rural communities, Rupanyup has an ageing population. The Rupanyup Nursing Home Support Group (RNHSG) is a group of passionate volunteers who support the Nursing Home residents. Understanding the role arts and culture plays in people’s health and wellbeing, RNHG’s holds monthly engagement events which include live musical entertainment, games and morning / afternoon teas to ensure the residents have opportunities to participate in and enjoy social and cultural activities.

Making it comfortable to get together

Julie Millowick Images Photo by Julie Millowick

A well-equipped and comfortable venue plays a vital role in supporting a vibrant culture and a connected community. The Rupanyup Memorial Hall hosts many functions during the year that bring the community together, with the more significant events attracting over 200 people. New seats were an exciting addition to the Hall and much appreciated by people attending the annual DIRT Music Festival, school plays, art shows, film nights and other community events. Although the seats are functional, they ensure that residents are exposed to arts and cultural events in their local community.

Scaling up for visitors

As one of the towns along the Victorian Silo Art Trail, Rupanyup has experienced a significant increase in visitor numbers. While this has been a positive thing for the local economy, it has required local cultural organisations such as The Woods' Farming & Heritage Museum to rethink how they manage their facility to ensure a positive visitor experience. An upgrade to the toilets with the addition of an electric hand dryer has not only contributed to this aim but also made the role of volunteers much easier!

Each of these projects may not, on the surface, appear to be a typical ‘Arts’ project. However, the collective investment in activities and equipment has helped to create and sustain a vibrant community. The Art Resides Here project will give the Rupanyup community the opportunity to reflect on their experiences and share their stories with others.

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