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Welcome to the May / June, 2019 Edition of the 'Community & Economic Development Matters' Newsletter.


As always, we endeavour to compile a variety of interesting, innovative and practical stories of community development and citizen driven initiatives and activities that can, and are changing the world we live in for the better. 
There are a couple of important events we wish to highlight - 
  • The Power to the People Conference: Building Citizen Driven Communities National Community Engagement Conference is being run in Canberra from 15-16 August, 2019 in partnership with the dynamic Canberra based NGO Communities@Work. This is shaping up to be an amazing event with now over 80 registered and the final program released. 
  • Re-Connecting Lives: Exploring the Innovative Ways Communities are Addressing Loneliness is planned for 22 October, 2019 in Perth, Western Australia. BOI, in partnership with Inclusion Solutions and Befriend are organising a full day event that focuses on what communities are doing to combat that growing social epidemic - loneliness.  If you have an initiative or project to share, please contact Maria D'Souza at You can visit the Bank of I.D.E.A.S. website over the coming week to find out more details and to register. 
Finally, it is with great joy and honour that we announce our very own Peter Kenyon, whose dedication and commitment to communities around Australia (and the world), particularly in rural and regional Australia; was acknowledged at the recent Queens Birthday celebrations with an Order of Australia Medal on the 10th June, 2019!  Click here and here to read more. Peter - a very heartfelt congratulations from BOI and all those who have had the privileged and pleasure of working with you; along with the many communities across Australia who have benefited from your wisdom and passion! BOI would especially like to thank our friends at RDA Pilbara for instigating the process of nomination. 
Enjoy and learn. 

Maria D'Souza (Executive Officer)
Congratulations Peter Kenyon O.A.M. !!

Don't want to wait two months between hearing from us? We are now social. 



'Change is the end result of all true learning.'
(Leo Buscaglia)

"We have not come here to beg world leaders to care. You have ignored us in the past, and you will ignore us again.
We have run out of excuses, and we are running out of time.
We have come here to let you know that change is coming,
whether you like it or not.
The real power belongs to the people."
(Greta Thunberg)

Power to the People Conference: Building Citizen Driven Communities, 15-16 August, 2019

This pivotal community building event is returning in 2019. The theme of the Power to the People Conference this year is 'social capital'. The dates are 15-16 August, 2019 and the location is Canberra. An exciting range of presenters and workshop  facilitators has been assembled. The Conference will be preceded by optional Masterclasses on the 14th August, 2019. Partnering with the Bank of I.D.E.A.S. to make the event happen is the innovative Canberra based NGO - Communities@Work.

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View Conference Program

Return visit of Cormac Russell, 16-27 September, 2019

Asset Based Community Development (ABCD) global practitioner and Managing Director of Nurture Development, Cormac Russell, will be returning to Australia in September, 2019.  If interested in utilising Cormac's services for training / workshop opportunities within your organisation, please contact Maria D'Souza (m: 0404 957 780 or e: Click here for a summary of services offered by Cormac. 

Asset Based Community Development (ABCD) Masterclass, 23 July, 2019

Are you passionate about asset based community development, story-telling, community arts, social change? Join Peter Kenyon from Bank of I.D.E.A.S. and Dimitrios Papalexis in Sydney this July for a 3h Masterclass to explore the power of Asset Based Community Development (ABCD) & Community Arts. The Masterclass will include an experiential activity and culminate into a Q&A session where you will have the opportunity to ask questions about your community engagement and initiatives. 

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Inclusion Solutions Social Inclusion Forum, 7 August, 2019

As a result of the success of the previous Social Inclusion ForumsInclusion Solutions is proud to be hosting the next Forum in August 2019 to promote the development of inclusive communities across WA. The Social Inclusion Forums are an opportunity to engage with like-minded people and ignite change within our communities.
This forum will include presentations from industry professionals and community representatives who are passionate about social inclusion.
Guest speakers

  • Jennifer Irvine, Research Consultant, Kalamunda Learning Centre
  • Paul Holliday, Founder, The Human Excellence Project
  • Brad Scott, Australian Paralympian, Australian Pararoo and Community Capacity Builder, APM Communities
  • Sain Dzemail, Managing Director, Insain

Suitable for both professionals and volunteers in recreation and community development, the forum will include practical tips & advice that you can implement in your community.

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Liveable Cities Conference, 12-13 Aug, 2019

The 2019 Liveable Cities Conference theme will be 2020 and Beyond –Leadership in healthy and connected global communities and regions and will be exploring the progress and implementation of the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals, leadership from all sectors that contribute to vibrant, inclusive and well appointed cities and towns.

This annual conference will provide a two day educational program to facilitate presentations and conversations on the liveability indicators, managing and guiding change, happiness, health and wellbeing, strategies for the plan and design of people within regional and urban communities and the benefits of effective leadership.

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SEGRA Conference, 20-22 Aug, 2019

SEGRA is recognised as Australia’s most credible independent voice on issues affecting regional Australia. The SEGRA conference is your opportunity to take an active role in advancing regional, rural and remote Australia. SEGRA, now in its 23rd year, is committed to enabling regional, rural and remote Australia to source and identify the knowledge, practices and skills regions require to achieve successful economic growth and development. This year the SEGRA Conference will be held in Barooga, NSW. 

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8th National Men's Shed Gathering, 10-12 Sept, 2019

The 8th National Men’s Shed Gathering will be held at Morphettville Racecourse, SA from 10 -12 September 2019.

Delegates will come from a broad spectrum of backgrounds, including ‘shedder’s’, shed coordinators, health and aged care providers, educators and policy makers. The 2019 Gathering, themed Our Community, will include traditional content such as information on Men’s Shed operations, however, there will be a strong focus on acknowledging and celebrating the community of Men’s Sheds and the impact they have on community capacity building. Men’s Sheds are not isolated, stand alone community facilities but rather an activity that is well enmeshed into their community network. 

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World Art Deco Congress in South America, October - November, 2019

Taking part in three phases, click here for a schedule.

Tonic Conference, 7-8 November, 2019, Auckland, New Zealand

Looking for a conference that offers practical workshops and engaging speakers without all the 'fluff and jargon'?

Want to get ideas, information and advice about all the aspects of running a non-profit - not just one or two? 

Tonic Conference is definitely the event for you! Now in it's 11th year, Tonic Conference is one of New Zealand's most vibrant, best value events for the community sector. It covers all the aspects of running a non-profit organisation including fundraising, marketing, management, governance and volunteer issues. 


'In small towns, news travels at the speed of boredom.'
(Carlos Ruiz Zafon)

'God made the country, and man made the town. '
(William Cowper)

Vanfest: How the NSW town of Forbes is attracting internationally renowned bands to its doorstep

The central western New South Wales town of Forbes will run its annual music festival - Vanfest - for the fifth time this year.  The event has attracted around 8000 festival goers - as much as the towns population. It is hoped that the event will lift local spirits and the economy as one of the worst droughts in living memory effects much of the state. 
(Photo courtesy ABC Central West by Donal Sheil)

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Small Town Coffee Shop Ideas ...

Becky McCray of shares these ideas for small town coffee shops collected from ideas that the audience shared at the Main Street Now Conference. These ideas could also be used alongside other businesses - 

  • Hold trivia nights or allow groups to meet in your space to drive more business
  • Start a book club in your place
  • Tell your story online. How were you founded? What is your history?
  • Leverage your relationships with other businesses to put together a tour of businesses, or an experience that includes more than just your business
  • Host readings, where customers can come in and share their writings
  • Host adult coloring groups or game nights to bring in more evening customers
  • Find out more about the people who work from your space, the people who bring in their laptops and work. What is their business? Is there potential to connect with them?
  • Display coffee mugs from all the different businesses in town
  • Provide vegetarian and vegan choices on the menu
  • Support local causes and share about them
  • Promote the chance to make friends, especially for new residents
  • Reach out to new residents to make them aware of your place (You can find them through real estate agents.)
  • Promote how people can connect with people not necessarily like them, how you play a role in strengthening community ties across groups in town.
Click here to view Small Biz Survival - An excellent regular blog and resources on small business ideas that emanates from Oklahoma, USA

Imagination, cooperation help secure future in Atlantic Canada's small towns

Another inspiring small town survival story, this time from Atlantic Canada where imagination, cooperation and 'luck and pluck' have become the ingredients for small town survival as the local fishing industry has died.   
(Photo courtesy Journal Pioneer)

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Yaraka, Queensland

Want to see an amazing promotional 2 minute video of a gutsy small, remote town that highlights their assets and appeal, click here to learn more about the wonderful community of Yaraka.

Walhalla - Innovative Fundraising

Click here to read about a fascinating fundraising  story from the small Central Gippsland town of Walhalla (population – 17), where they have yarn bombed their locomotive as a catalyst to raise $230,000 to extend their rail tourism initiative.  

Railton hopes to top topiary with a mountain-bike led revival

The Tasmanian town of Railton has been know as the home of topiary.  The town now wishes to craete a new name for itself as a mountain biking mecca.  
(Photo courtesy ABC News Jessica Moran)

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‘Great cities don’t just happen. They are the product of imagination, leadership, hard work and constant adjustment.’   
(Clover Moore)

Helping Hands Cross the Nullabor to Lift Spirits in Drought Gilgandra

We are constantly inspired by the contribution that the 321 Bendigo Community Banks have made to their local communities since their introduction just 20 years ago. The BOI is very proud of the contribution that our local branch - the Forrestfields and Districts Community Bank –  has made to our local communities in the City of Kalamunda - over $2 million in community grants. However, one of their latest giving acts needs truly applauding. It gave $120,000 to the community of Gilgandra, NSW who is experiencing the horrific drought. The funding has three components -

  • $25,000 for mental health support activities;
  • $75,000 for a  Cooee Gift Card initiative to support struggling families, and to be spent in local businesses; and
  • $20,000 for a  School project.

The words of Phil Mutter, Chairperson of the Forrestfields and Districts Community Bank summed up the motivation and the action - 
"We are all part of a community and all part of the broader Australian community. As a former farmer myself, it's fantastic to be able to have our Community Bank extend the hand of friendship across the Nullarbor and help local people, schools and businesses get through this drought. The money we have been able to donate has been made possible by people doing their banking with us at their local Community Bank in the West. We hope that the Gilgandra community can really get behind their local branch here - so that one day, they'll be able to assist our rural communities in WA during drought or in the aftermath of bushfires, floods and other natural disasters".
For more details, contact Phil Mutter

Midlands Game Changers

In Midland WA, a mother and son team are working together to build community and make a difference.  After enduring personal hardship through illness, Belinda and Matt Biggs realised the importance of 'giving back' and have created the Making A Difference (MAD) hub on The Crescent, a collaborative space showcasing social enterprise products and projects that give back to communities.
(Photo courtesy The Echo News and Claire Ottaviano)

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Community Cookbooks

Liz Harfull tells the story of community cookbooks as part of her latest book, 'Tried Tested and True', which celebrates Australian community cookbooks and the volunteers who compiled them. Community cookbooks have been used to raise funds and build community across Australia for over 100 years. This is a great little article. 

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Great ABCD Resource

A must read -  'The four essential elements of an Asset-Based Community Development Approach' has been written by Cormac Russell of Nuture Development and John McKnight, co founder of the ABCD methodology and ABCD Institute.

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ABCDE Learning Sites

The ABCDE (Asset Based Community Driven Efforts) Learning Sites model is an initiative of the Bank of I.D.E.A.S. developed in partnership with Nurture Development, The Municipal Association of Victoria and a host of communities across Australia.  With the pilot phase of the project now complete, the model has been revamped. ABCDE Learning Sites provides both a framework to guide the implementation of ABCD initiatives and, a tangible model to seek support and funding to implement community building and strengthening initiatives within any community.

ABCDE Learning Sites website
Introduction to ABCDE Learning Sites 
ABCDE Learning Sites: What is in it for us as a community?


'I love those connections that make this big old world feel like a little village.'
(Gina Bellman)

Why creating community-led project spaces can ease social isolation

Every One, Every Day is a project of the Participatory City Foundation. As the name suggests, it supports genuine participation and peer-to-peer collaborations between local residents in some of London's most socially disadvantaged boroughs. It seeks to broaden participation beyond those already rich in social and financial capital by removing obstacles and supporting the residents of communities who face much greater challenges. It is a brilliant example of a Foundation supporting Asset Based Community Development in communities that do not at first glance appear to be asset rich at all. 

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52 Ways to Connect with your Neighbours

This fabulous list has been compiled by the City of Kwinana in Western Australia from a range of sources.

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A Neighbourhood Revolution in a Pot of Soup

One resident's foray into 'radical hospitality' to get to know the neighbours sparks a tiny revolution of community connection.

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9 Ways to Reduce Loneliness in your Community

This article provides practical examples anyone can apply to combat loneliness in their community. Some can be done right away, and some require a little bit of planning and neighbourhood involvement. 

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This article shares 10 innovative projects that are reducing loneliness around the world. 

Basketball hoop deemed a hazard on Sunshine Coast suburban footpath

Interesting article... the question here is not only how do we waive the fine, but also, how do we support one family's attempt to create social connection within their street and get kids away from those screens for some much needed outdoor time and social interaction!  Clearly, they enjoyed this 'homemade' facility more than the one provided by the estate. (Photo courtesy ABC News supplied by Trent Robinson).

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Lessons on how to crowd source equity for social enterprises and cooperatives

Two useful resources - 

Click here to view a Youtube video of an excellent interview by Andrew Ward (of and the Crowd Funding Institute of Australia) with Robert Pekin on the ‘how to’ of crowd sourced equity funding and how it is very different to impact investing, especially with regard to the ‘bottom-up’ organising of ‘the crowd’.

Also, check out this article by Andrew Ward (of and the Crowd Funding Institute of Australia) which he posted on Linkedin on the topic of ‘crowd sourced equity raises’ for social enterprises – Lessons From Shebah and Food Connect on Crowd-Enabled Raises

(Thanks to Alan Greig for sharing)

Resource Centre: Cooperative Co-Housing Space

Are you aware of this resource centre in the Cooperative Co-Housing space?
Check out the Cooperative Living Information Website - this website also has a
listing of all the 150 such cohousing/eco-village/intentional communities projects in Australia – both established and forming – many of which are registered as cooperatives click here to view.
(Thanks to Alan Greig for sharing)

Mandurah Micro Shopping Hub

This is an excellent model that allows local small businesses to grow without the usual costly overheads associated with 'setting up shop'. The Mandurah micro shopping hub boasts around 40 stalls from local small businesses and also offers workshops to the local community. 
(Photo courtesy Mandurah Mail and Caitlyn Rintoul)

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'Community Buyouts' of local facilities back on the social enterprise agenda 

With 'community buyouts' of local facilities getting back on to the social enterprise agenda, the best known example of this approach in Australia is the service station in Yackandandah, which has now grown into a community development company.
The community buyout is discussed excellently (including the financing) in this Youtube on the project - Social Enterprise Case Study: Yackandandah Community Development Company
Also, this one on community buyouts of pubs just recently published - 'It's more than a drinking hole': Small community pitch in to buy the only pub in town.
The best 'how to' manual on the subject is "Delivering Employee and Community Buyouts - A Guide to the Succession Process" by Coops UK.

(Thanks to Alan Grieg for sharing)


Nullabor Links - the Worlds Longest Golf Course

The Nullabor Links turns 10 years old and continues to grow as an incredible example of a regional tourist attraction. Click here to read more about this very successful, locally driven tourism initiative. 
(Photo courtesy ABC News supplied by Alf Caputo)


NaturePlay experimental pilot program to encourage 'free range' kids in communities

Did you know just 8 per cent of children play outside each day? Consequently, it is getting harder for young children to make neighbourhood friends. In response to this growing trend, Nature Play has designed and run a pilot program, funded by the Queensland Government, to recreate the sort of childhoods that were enjoyed a generation ago — where kids roamed free. (Photo courtesy ABC News Kym Agius).

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Why 10 is the new 15 for today's young girls

This generation of young people have unwittingly become the 'guinea pigs' for the emotional and psychological effects of social media. It is reassuring to see that efforts to address the harmful effects are being taken more and more seriously ...“Social media has definitely changed things. Girls seem to be using life as theatre, but risk losing sight of who they are along the way.” ... "the way parents and the community allowed girls access to the world through such devices needed to be re-evaluated".

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The Gift of Soil ... How Composting Builds Community 

This is a great story that has a bit of everything - saving waste from landfill to turn it into compost - a process that is supporting local economic development and building community. 
(Photo by Kevin Holtham courtesy Yes! Magazine).

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The Plan to put 40,000 tonnes of ACT food waste to good use 

Considering that the average domestic bin contains 60% organic material, with the bulk coming from food (40%) and garden waste (20%) (The Conversation), this proposal by the ACT Greens makes a lot of sense. 

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Regenerative Agriculture for Students Launched in an Australian-first Curriculum

Kate Spry, a science teacher from Tamworth has developed the first curriculum in Australia that explores regenerative agricultural principles and practices. Regenerative agriculture describes land and livestock grazing management techniques that seek to sequester carbon and restore healthy eco-system processes.

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Organic producers create permaculture paradise

Rivers Road Organic Farms is a model that combines permaculture with a purpose built community. It is a hybrid between a farming community and a strata title scheme. The farm operates on organic principles, producing wine grapes, sheep, figs, and olives and its members / inhabitants share company, equipment and expertise. Father-and-son winemakers, Richard and Sam Statham set up the model to share the burdens and joys of managing a property. (Photo courtesy ABC News Orange by Donal Sheil).

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'Surely we have a responsibility to leave for future generations a planet that is healthy and habitable by all species.'
(David Attenborough)

The Green New Deal

Have you heard of the Green New Deal?  Based on the idea that environmentalism can foster job creation and economic growth, the Green New Deal is "a proposed United States economic stimulus package that aims to address climate change and economic inequality. The name refers to the New Deal, a set of social and economic reforms and public works projects undertaken by President Franklin D. Roosevelt in response to the Great Depression". The article discusses The Green New Deal', making the fiscal case for addressing climate change. 

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A new community led clean energy project at the Old Beechworth Gaol ...

Community members, philanthropists and Indigo Power have collaborated to bring renewable energy to Beechworth. Community-owned energy projects allow site owners to access clean energy at reduced rates without having to buy or maintain the infrastructure.
(Photo: ABCD Goulburn Murray: Eliza Beck)

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Here's what you can do with old clothes you can't donate

This article provides some tips on how to dispose of old clothes that are not fit for charity, so they do not end up in landfill. 

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New Tip shop offering free recycled goods

Every waste facility should have one of these. The Mundaring Shire waste facility at Coppin Road will offer free goods that can still be used or repaired, and would otherwise end up in landfill. 
(Photo courtesy Hills Gazette).

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Precious Plastic

Precious Plastic is an innovative enterprise that puts the power of recycling into the hands of the community. Precious Plastic offers an open-source template for constructing micro-plastic factories so people around the world can help clean up local neighborhoods and start their own businesses as plastic crafters. The site has step-by-step videos and technical drawings to guide people through collecting plastic waste, shredding it and refabricating it into useful items.

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Where home ownership starts at $1 per square foot

Nonprofit 'Cass Tiny Home Development' in Detroit helps at risk members of the community to avoid homelessness and build equity.  The housing program targets those who are homeless, people with disabilities, youth aging out of foster care, veterans, or those formerly incarcerated gain new accessibility to home ownership. The second phase of development in the tiny home project will include a commercial strip to provide services and jobs in residents in the neighborhood. (Photo by Spencer Hayes/C&B Scene, courtesy Yes! Magazine).

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The Importance of Ownership in Understanding Social Enterprise

This article discusses how ownership can impact the accountability of social enterprises. The article also provides a great summary of the historical origins and evolution of ownership. (Thanks to Alan Greig for sharing)

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William 'Bill' Ferguson

William 'Bill' Ferguson was an Australian Aboriginal Leader who fought for the rights of his people.  He collapsed after his last speech and died in 1950 at the age of 60 in his home town of Dubbo.   Considered the 'Martin Luther King' of Australia, Ferguson is best known for founding the 'Aboriginal Progressive Association' and organising the 1938 National Day of Mourning protests, which were declared on January 26 and became the precursor to NAIDOC Week. Bill Ferguson has been immortalised with a life sized bronze statue in the main street of Dubbo created by artist Brett Garling. (Photo courtesy ABC Western Plains by Jessie Davies).

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Yvon Chouinard

An inspiring entreprenuer with an inspiring ethos ... “You’ve got to change the consumers first and then the corporations will follow and then government will follow the corporations." - Patagonia founder Yvon Chouinard believes that our best hope for change lies with consumers. Patagonia is also behind the new documentary - 'Artifishal' - The road to extinction is paved with good intentions.

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