May / June, 2018 Edition
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'Community & Economic Development Matters' Newsletter


This Introduction is being penned as I take time out to be recharged with a dose of innovation in community building. I am travelling from British Columbia, Canada down to New Mexico, USA and interacting with some amazing community members and initiatives. I have been particularly helped by introductions by three great friends and colleagues of the Bank of I.D.E.A.S; namely Gordon Borgstrom of BC Rural Centre, Jim Diers of Neighbor Power and Ron Dwyer-Voss of Pacific Community Solutions. This Newsletter incorporates a sample of the richness of learning that I have been privileged to experience.
British Columbia is a wonderful treasure trove of community creativity. The BC Centre provides an incredible data base of this experience.  ‘INSPIRE -SHARE TOOLS-CULTIVATE CAPACITY-FACILITATE ACTION” are the words that best summarise the purpose of the BC Centre. Make sure you sign up for their E-Newsletter.   In particular, small town community builders will be fascinated by a campaign coordinated by the BC Rural Centre “Escape the City” to attract new residents to small towns.
Jim Diers is an active resident in his community - Vashon Island. Vashon Island is a 20-minute ferry ride from Seattle. Wow, what a destination for community action!! See below a pile of Vashon Island examples for connecting community. Seattle as a city has always inspired us, and particularly neighbourhood initiatives under the leadership of Jim as the former Director of the Department of Neighborhoods at the City of Seattle. One Seattle Project worth checking out is 'Rachel the Piggy Bank’ of the Pike Place Market Foundation as a fundraising initiative for local vulnerable residents (see below in the ‘Social Responsibility’ section of this Edition).
Time with Ron Dwyer-Voss in Sacramento was equally inspiring. Ron is central to the ABCD Movement in the USA and certainly personally lives the philosophy. Check the “Little Library” he and wife Sue have set up at the front of the house. Also active with his faith community, Ron and Sue have instigated a ‘Church in the Pub” model (see the story and photos below in the ‘Community Building’ section of this Edition).

Finally, it is wonderful news to see that Tom O’Toole, the Beechworth Baker was recognised in the Queen’s Honours with an Order of Australia. No one has contributed so much to the belief of, and support for small business development in rural Australia than Tom. The Beechworth Bakery is such an inspirational small town business achievement, which he and his team have replicated in 6 other country towns. Above all, Tom has encouraged and  supported so many other aspiring and active rural entrepreneurs. For those not familiar with the Beechworth Bakery story check their website and also Tom O'Toole's website. Congratulations Tom - you certainly are a most deserving recipient of an Order of Australia.
Hope all the community stories below also stimulate your creative juices.
Go well.

Peter Kenyon     
Maria D’Souza    
Ali Kenyon
Little libraries are such a simple way to share and build community. Love the initiative of Sue and Ron Dwyer-Voss to create one out the front of their own house – what a community meeting and sharing space it has become.
Imagine one in every street.
Tom O'Toole - the Beechworth Baker

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



“The wisest mind has something to learn.”
(George Santayana)

Visit by Jim Diers – August, 2018

Unleash the power of community with Jim Diers of Neighbor Power, returning to Australia 30 July – 15 August, 2018.

For more information on Jim’s presentation / workshop themes and pricing please email .

Visit by Ron Dwyer-Voss – November, 2018

Explore Asset Based Community Development (ABCD) With Ron Dwyer-Voss of Pacific Community Solutions returning to Australia 5-15 November, 2018.

For more information on Ron’s presentation / workshop themes and pricing please email  


Peter Kenyon in Canada

Peter has recently been asked to present in Canada in early October (2018) and late January (2019). If any other group would be interested in exploring the use of Peter in a presentation and/or workshop facilitation role, please contact Peter at

To view services offered by Peter Kenyon, as well as his bio data click here

Second International ABCD Festival: 14-18 January, 2019 – Goa, India

Have you ever aspired to visit and discover India? Well this is the ultimate low cost opportunity, with the bonus of gathering with others passionate about Asset Based Community Development. The Bank of I.D.E.A.S. with a range of other international community development groups are planning this learning and exchange experience in the beautiful Indian state of Goa – a place where East and West have been meeting for over 500 years. This will be an amazing event, and very low cost. Plan now to be there and think how you may want to formally contribute through a presentation / workshop / cultural performance.  For more details or to register, please visit
Check out the venue, the International Centre Goa
If you would like to present or facilitate a session, please contact
“If I was asked under what sky the human mind has most fully developed some of its choicest gifts, has pondered on the greatest problems of life, and has found solutions, I should point to India.”
(Max Mueller)


SEGRA Conference: October, 2018 – Queensland

The 2018 National Sustainable Economic Growth for Regional Australia (SEGRA) Conference, which will be held in Mackay, QLD from 22 October - 25 October later this year. The theme for this year's conference is Beyond the Boom: opportunities for growth and vitality. Explore more

Community Change Festival: October 1-4, 2018 – Canada

Tamarack is hosting the Community Change Festival in Toronto, Canada, to connect changemakers from across North America and to highlight five interconnected practices essential for moving from idea, to practice, to impact:
  • Collective Impact
  • Community Engagement
  • Community Innovation
  • Collaborative Leadership
  • Evaluating Impact

No matter what issue you're focused on - affordable housing, mental health, food security, reconciliation, environmental sustainability, youth engagement - a strong understanding of each idea above and how they intersect will give you the foundation you need to see real impact in your community work.  Taking place October 1-4, the Community Change Festival is a unique opportunity to learn from over 250 changemakers, 10 immersive city experiences, and 8 provocateurs, and to bring some of the best tools, thinking, and practices from the field back to your own initiatives.

September and October 2018 – Sydney

International Association for Public Participation (IAP2) through UTS Location - Ultimo Sydney. 

The UTS Institute for Public Policy and Governance (encompassing the Centre for Local Government), hosts this course that has been the industry standard in Australia for over 20 years.  This is the internationally recognised IAP2 course for community engagement professionals. Practitioners from around the world contribute to ongoing course development. The frameworks for this training such as the IAP2 spectrum are widely used by government and statutory authorities. 

The course includes current topical key elements such as online engagement and deliberative processes. Explore more

Spark of Life International Master Course: Saturday 27th October - Friday 16th November 2018 – Perth, Western Australia

The Spark of Life International Master Course goes beyond giving knowledge and understanding about dementia. When it comes to enriching the culture of an organisation, this course adds the missing element of how to facilitate a lasting shift in attitudes through the Spark of Life Whole System. The Master Course is for leaders from organisations in health care and social justice around the world who wish to bring the Spark of Life Philosophy into their organisation to enrich and elevate the emotional culture of care.  The Spark of Life Master Course gives these leaders a system of education and implementation that is both pioneering and has stood the test of time. There is an application process for this course contact for more information. Download the course flyer here

 Rural & Small Town Development 

When I... moved to the country, I felt as if I could finally exhale that little bit of breath I'd been unconsciously holding in my lungs. Time is not so relentless when it is possible to watch the sun make an uninhibited arc across the day, when the stars take up more of the night's space than the darkness, when a footprint lives for days in its moist soil bed, when the only motor to be heard is the occasional tractor several miles away.
(Cecily Schmidt)
God made the country, and man made the town. 
(William Cowper)


The AgriFutures™ Rural Women’s Award is Australia’s leading award acknowledging and supporting the essential role women play in rural industries, businesses and communities. The Award provides a platform to inspire and support Australian women to use and develop their skills to benefit their industries and communities. Online applications for the 2019 AgriFutures™ Rural Women’s Award open Monday, 3 September, 2018. Explore more

Derby, Tasmania: How mountain biking helped save a tiny Tasmanian Town

Great story of small town revitalisation. Derby in Tasmania has come back to life and is now a mountain bike mecca, rated as having some of the top trails in the world. Explore more

York farmers to re-open hotel

Another great story of a proactive response from small town locals to save a historical asset and help revitalise a Wheatbelt town – "The new owners, mostly local sheep and crop farmers, bought the hotel last year partly out of a desire to bring something new to the town and partly out of concern the historic site be preserved." Explore more

Gulargambone Sculptures

Drawing on history as an asset, two artists are using their talent to brighten up Gulargambone, and attract more tourists to the town. Alison Dent and Brian Campbell have created a massive installation that will take your breath away. Explore more

Also worth reading is the article 'Country towns preserve history and embrace art in long-term commercial strategy' which highlights other towns that have realised that their stories are some of their best assets and the best way of sharing them is through art.  


 Community Building 

"Community happens when people talk to each other."
(Becky McCray, Oklahoma)
‘Now is the time for a bold new era of people-centred action where communities position as powerhouses of innovation, entrepreneurship and futures thinking focusing on the crucial relationship between culture-led economic and community development, unprecedented turbulent times, energy, climate and the environment.’
(David Wilson)

To Thrive, We Must Be in Touch with Each Other

When we live connected to a community, we are more likely to become champions for one another, not just for ourselves. This article is a great reminder that when we get to know someone on a deeper and personal level we drop the labels. Click here to read.

Smashing It

Read about a former pub in Leeds has been transformed into a busy hub, tackling loneliness by bringing young and old together. Explore more

Quirky Bookshop Connecting Community

‘Logical Unsanity and Miscellaneous Phantasmagoria’ is the name of a quirky little bookshop in inner-city Brisbane. The bookshop is open 24 hours and customers pay what they can, or borrow. It has become a refuge for people suffering from late night anxiety. Explore more

Wagga Residents Bin Sculpture Protest

Wagga residents frustrated with local council for failing to pick up old bins after transitioning to a new waste collection system have found a creative way to collectively display their frustration. Explore more

Church in Non-Traditional Spaces - Even Bars!

Check the photo below of a Lutheran Church in Sacramento, USA using a new traditional space - a local brewing company. This particular one is the creation of Sue and Ron Dwyer-Voss. To check out the non conventionalism of some faith communities, read more here

Community Building Resource: New Paper: An Overview of Community Innovation Trends - Part 1: Design-Based Approaches

By: Galen MacLusky, Consulting Director for Community Innovation at Tamarack
In this first of a series of papers on Community Innovation, Galen mMacLusky explores two approaches that have their roots in the practice and rigour of design: Design Thinking and Social Labs. These approaches draw heavily on Community Engagement, iterative and experimental processes, and creative collaboration as pathways to effect change. Read the paper here

Citizen Engagement, Carmel (USA)

Great to see in Carmel, USA citizen engagement and passion being publicly acknowledged.

Ageing Safely and Well at Home: The Village Movement

The Village Movement in the USA is probably a wonderful model for wrapping community around community members, as opposed to the concept that people need a nursing home. Explore more


 Localism & Social Connection 

“Social capital is a shorthand term for describing how we
connect as social beings”

(Eva Cox)

Brining Community to Your Doorstep

This short article is a reminder of the positive effect that street events can have in connecting community. Explore more


With the UK Government just recently creating a Minister for Loneliness, and up to 25% of Australians expressing that they regularly feel lonely, this is an issue requiring community response - not more services and programs!!

Check the Press club address of Ken Wyatt who highlighted the issue so well with a claim that 40% of people in a nursing home “never receive a visitor”. Also check out the wonderful initiative by the theatre company - “The Rabble”” who involved 11 children aged 8-11 to share their thoughts on loneliness in a one-on-one theatre experience called Lone. Explore more

Finally check out the health consequences and some answers of loneliness by Swinburne University. Explore more

Yard Signs for Neighbourliness

Here are 7 daily excuses for practicing neighbourliness centered around food and fun.

Memory Café

An initiative for people living with dementia, their family members and carers to relax and connect with community.

Vashon Island, USA: Organising Fun
Some inspiration for connecting with community from Vashon Island...

Whenever the local lake freezes over (not every year), locals organise their own skating rink. one local family has collected a huge number of old skates, and these are then produced out of storage. Amazing community spirit. 
How simple – a group of locals donated exercise bikes at a popular tourist lookout, so that people could exercise together and take in the beautiful views.  

The John Deere Pond lit for Christmas. 
Volunteer training for emergency response. 200 neighbourhood groups have self-organized to plan for earthquakes, power outages and other emergencies. 
Fix-it Cafés are popping up everywhere – even on Vashon Island. 
Harvest for Vashon – three volunteer programs designed to decrease food waste and increase access to local produce. 



 Local Economic Development 

"A business has to be evolving, it has to be fun and it has to increase your creative instincts."
(Richard Branson)

‘The death of enterprise is solitude’.
(Ernesto Sirolli)

Proud statement by a community Cooperative in Fremont, Seattle…

Vashon Bookshop – Why Shop Here?

We loved this poster on counter in a bookshop on Vashon Island, Washington State in USA
  • You keep $$$ in the local community
  • You embrace what makes us unique
  • You create local jobs
  • You help the environment
  • You nurture community
  • You make us a destination
  • You create more choice
  • You take advantage of our expertise
  • You invest in entrepreneurship 


Ashland Food Co-op (AFC)

This is a most inspiring example of a community owned and socially responsible business – check out their Mission Statement (pictured above).
Explore more

‘Being Dog Friendly - Love the initiative of the Ashland Food Cooperative’


Revitalising Town Centres: a handbook for council leadership

This resource is produced by the Local Government Association (UK) and provides guidance on navigating the emerging trends that threaten successful trade in town centres. Click here to download.

The Power of Cooperatives in the Social Care Sector

Read an interview with Robyn Kaczmarek, the founder and managing director of The Co-operative Life, Australia’s first worker-owned cooperative in social care services. Explore more
(Thanks to Alan Greig for sharing)

Engaging Children in Retail

Great example of a store -Trader Joes - in Monterey, USA responding to the importance of children in retail engagement.


‘Travel far enough, you meet yourself.’  
(David Mitchell)

Bulahdelah Aboriginal Place drawcard for tourists

This is a unique Aboriginal educational and tourism initiative. Check it out

Festival of Cultures

Palmerston North, NZ, has recently celebrated its first Festival of Cultures – and it’s been a big hit with the community. Over 60 stalls selling foods, crafts and art from cultures across the globe, live music and dance, and a lantern festival to kick it all off. Read More

 Youth Empowerment & Participation  

'We do not inherit our world from our parents, we borrow if from our young people'
(Old Native American statement)
‘We believe the children are the future…
Teach them well and let them lead the way…
Show them all the beauty they possess inside…
Give them a sense of pride…
Let the children’s laughter remind us how we used to be’

(Song by George Benson)


High Schoolers Bring Their Love of Culinary Arts to Feed Local Homeless

This is an inspiring story about a group of high school students who started out with an idea to feed the homeless. Their efforts soon grew into an initiative that is tackling systemic problems with solutions offered by the people who are experiencing them. Explore more

Community Minded Kids

“Community Minded Kids is a program of Community Minds Inc. that designs and develops programs that empower and educate communities and help create a platform for young people to be included in community building.” – Community Minded Kids Brief. Read the rest HERE or contact the Founder and Director of Community Minds (CM) Incorporated at for more information.

Local Parks Community Sports Festival

Great idea for a community youth event that also reveals the  organisational assets of the local community.

Prepare Produce Provide

This not-for-profit organisation was established in 2013 by a group of passionate home economics teachers in Western Australia who sought to train and assist young people to develop career pathways in the education, food and hospitality industries. They have a range of really interesting programs and initiatives worth checking out. Explore more

Colouring in Container in South Invercargill

A South Invercargill business has added a splash of colour to its neighbourhood, with the help of local schoolkids – "It's about getting the community together to colour it in and have fun". Explore more



 Food & Community Agriculture 

“A garden is a lovesome thing.”

(Thomas E. Brown)

Harvest Helpers

Read about a group of Tasmanian volunteers that pick the fruit from people’s backyards to save it from going to waste.  Some of the fruit is distributed fresh whilst the remainder is canned or preserved and distributed to those in need.  Combating waste and ensuring food security for the most vulnerable members of is the main aim for these volunteers. Explore more

Grow Free Movement

Based on a movement founded in Adelaide, Grow Free encourages neighbours to share food whilst also giving access to food for people who are less advantaged. Explore more

Seed Libraries

Well done to the Shire of Mundaring - as part of their normal library services, they have started a seed library.

Council Opens Up Public Parks to Resident Food Planting

Read about a Perth council that has cut red tape to allow residents to plant fruit and veg in public parks – it is believed to be the first initiative of its kind in Australia. Explore more

 Sustainable Development  

‘There is something fundamentally wrong with treating the Earth as if it is a business in liquidation.’
(Herman Daly)
‘Here we are, the cleverest species ever to have lived. So how is it we can destroy the only planet we have.’

(Jane Goodall)

Wash Up Station

What a great idea from residents in Margaret River passionate with saving the planet. Volunteers provide real crockery and cutlery at community events eliminating plastic. They wash it up afterwards.

Mission Litter Pickup

This little initiative is an easy way to make a difference to the planet and connect with community. Explore more

Kamikatsu: The Japanese town aiming for zero waste

The locals of this village understand that good recycling begins with separation at source – they have to sort their trash into 45 separate bins! It is all necessary if the town is to achieve their ambitious goal of achieving zero waste by 2020. Explore more

Garbage City

These women in 'garbage city', Cairo, Egypt are turning trash into treasure. Explore more

 Social Responsibility   

Did You Know?
About 80 million tonnes of plastic is discarded into the world's oceans each year, and that is expected to almost triple to 220 million tonnes by 2025.

Ignite Store

Social enterprise helping the less advantaged and combating food waste.

Privilege Explained

Show this video to anyone who doesn't understand privilege. Explore more

Leeton – A Caring Community

Great to see such signs!

Rachel the Piggy Bank - Pike Place Markets

Pike Place Markets in Seattle is one of the oldest and most famous Markets in the world. They have created their own Foundation to support local causes. Pike Place Market Foundation decided a piggy bank was just what was needed to help raise funds to support housing and services for low-income neighbours. Read about the story of Rachel the Piggy Bank here

Inspirational People and Stories

Biblioburro: The amazing donkey libraries of Colombia

Luis Soriano, a Spanish teacher, adapted the packsaddles of his two donkeys from carrying water to carrying books. For the last 20 years, he has been bringing books to children who would otherwise have no access to reading materials. Explore more

Tathra Bushfire: A former firefighter brings hope to young musicians who lost everything

Great story about one person’s response to help after a crisis like bushfire. it is also a reminder that we all have gifts to give. A former firefighter medically retired with PTSD still finds a way to give back. Explore more


‘Laughter is the language that everyone understands’   
Peter Kenyon

Toilet humour from Cheviot, New Zealand  

Humour from a Butcher’s shop

Humour from Carmel, USA

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