January / February, 2016 Edition
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'Community & Economic Development Matters' Newsletter


Greetings and welcome to the first Newsletter for 2016!  Wow what a year ahead for innovation and learning in community and local economy building. We hope you will take time to peruse the amazing stories and examples of, and resources related to, people centred development and the skill development opportunities available in 2016 that we have stumbled upon. Enjoy the read!
Firstly, we want to acknowledge our most recent recipient of the Global Community Builder Giraffe Award – the amazing Vicki Buck from Christchurch, New Zealand. Vicki has a long history of providing the leadership to making Christchurch a more caring, strong and sustainable community. She was first elected to Christchurch City Council in 1975 at the age of 19, which made her the youngest city councillor in New Zealand at the time. Vicki became the city's first woman mayor in 1989 and is widely acknowledged with leading the economic and social revitalisation of Christchurch as a city. After three successful terms as Mayor, Vicki retired and became involved in a range of environmental and educational passions including –

  • Member of the New Zealand government's Science and Innovation Advisory Council.
  • Chair of the NZ Learning Discovery Trust, which in turn has set up Discovery 1 and Unlimited state schools in central Christchurch which are based on the student being central in their own individual learning.
  • Initiated the LIFT Trust with five schools in Linwood to create free tertiary education for students who may otherwise not enjoy this because of the fees barrier.
  • Director and co-founder of Aquaflow Bionomic Corporation, a bio-fuel company using wild algae, and cleaning dirty and contaminated water.
  • Director and co-founder of, a website for business and community groups which is based on the premise that Governments are not acting quickly enough on climate change and it will be up to all of us to act.
  • Director and co-founder of Carbonscape, aimed at sequestering carbon from waste biomass through microwave technology.
In 2008, she was nominated by a panel commissioned by The Guardian newspaper as one of 50 people internationally that could reverse the effects of climate change. In 2013, Vicki came out of retirement and stood again for Christchurch local government and was returned with the highest number of votes of any of the council candidates across the city. She was then elected Deputy Mayor by her colleagues.
Vicki Buck, you have been a consistent hero to the BOI and many others! Keep inspiring!

Secondly, we want to share a number of very exciting 2016/17 initiatives that BOI will join others in helping deliver including –
  • a 10 Year Community Plan for NGOs in the Pilbara;
  • a Network of ABCD Community Building Learning Sites across Australia;
  • the annual Power to the People Conference – 14/15 September 2016; and
  • the Second International ABCD Festival in Goa, India – January, 2017

See below for details of, and opportunities for engagement with all these initiatives.
Finally, the BOI would like to celebrate the lives of two amazing Community Builders from our home community of Kalamunda who passed away in the last two months. Firstly, Barrie Oldfield, whose contribution to the environment, nature and local community and his challenging of orthodoxy, especially through his filmmaking, are legendary.  Click here to read his Obituary that appeared in The West Australian or click here to read an article from out local newspaper The Kalamunda Reporter.
Secondly, is Dr Francis Quadros, an amazing soul whose contribution to community health in Northern and Outback Australia was incredible; and who personified the qualities of generosity and altruism.  We will miss the selfless actions of both of these remarkable human beings. Thank you for the inspiration you left. They simply lived out the challenge of former US President Woodrow Wilson – “You are not here merely to make a living. You are here in order to enable the world to live more amply, with greater vision, with a finer spirit of hope and achievement. You are here to enrich the world.”

Enjoy the read!

Go well,
Peter Kenyon  (Director)                    
Maria D'Souza (Executive Officer)


Vicki Buck, recent Global Community Builder Giraffe Award recipient.


Barrie Oldfield
Photo courtesy 


Dr Francis Quadros


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

Sustainable Living Festival: Accelerating the Great Transition: February, 2016 – Melbourne

The challenge of our time is to change the direction of the developed world so that we actually become ecologically sustainable. The changes are so profound that a whole system change to a life-sustaining society is required. This presentation will introduce a straightforward strategy for engaging thousands of organisations in seeding an understanding of systemic change into public consciousness.  It will also introduce innovative communication tools that help people think through what is involved in large-scale transformative change, and how they can contribute to it. Book here.

Conducting Kitchen Table Conversations workshop: February, 2016 – Melbourne

This training will equip one to conduct powerful conversations that inform and inspire people about transitioning to a life-sustaining society. Conducting Kitchen Table Conversations is a fresh way to turn your concern about environmental destruction into a new order of citizen activism. It is part of a global initiative called Inspiring Transition. Click here to find out more information and to book. 

The Ten Year Community Plan for NGOs in the Pilbara – Workshop Roadshow: February/March, 2016

Over the last four months, the Bank of I.D.E.A.S has been working with Regional Development Australia Pilbara and the Pilbara Development Commission on facilitating conversations around the contribution and sustainability of the NGO sector in the Pilbara region over the coming decade. So many interesting insights and ideas have been shared, and there is the opportunity for community residents, NGO practitioners and stakeholder groups to hear about these inputs and further contribute. Click here and here to see the flyers that share workshop outline, dates, times and venues.
The Art of Creating Resilient Local Communities and Economies: March, 2016 – Melbourne
Strong local economies are more resilient to external factors, build local ownership and pride, create more jobs, retain local dollars and have a higher rate of community wellbeing and satisfaction. This one-day conference will explore tools to inspire and support local economies and community-led developments. The conference will explore – the DNA of successful re-localised and resilient communities; new models for local investment and local economic development; authentic engagement and governance models; how to support and facilitate town centre renewal and re-localisation; and movement and parking strategies that support local economies. Click here for more information and to register.

The National Volunteering Conference: April, 2016 – Canberra

This event is being held from 6 – 8 April 2016 at the National Convention Centre Canberra. The Conference is the principal Australian forum for not for profit leaders, volunteer managers and policy contributors to come together and build knowledge, innovation, networks and leadership to advance volunteering. Delegates can expect to gain new skills, learn about innovative programs, and connect with subject experts in an engaging and relevant program.  Conference content focuses on current and emerging trends in a positive, solution-driven environment. Click here for more information.

Global Health & Innovation Conference: April, 2016 – Yale, USA

The Global Health & Innovation Conference at Yale planned for April 16-17, 2016, is the world's leading and largest global health conference as well as the largest social entrepreneurship conference. An estimated 2,200 professionals and students from all 50 states and more than 55 countries are expected. This thought-leading conference convenes leaders, changemakers, professionals and students from all sectors of global health, international development, and social entrepreneurship.
Click here to register. 

Collaboration for Impact Conference: May, 2016 – Melbourne

This is a unique opportunity, 4-5 May, 2016 to develop your skills in an active learning space and to connect with a network of peers advancing new approaches to collaboration in Australia. Click here for more information. 

The Future of Communities: People to the People Conference: September, 2016 – Melbourne

This event will be held 14-15 September, 2016 in Melbourne. Mark the dates of this popular annual Conference, jointly organised by the Municipal Association of Victoria and the Bank of I.D.E.A.S. For more details contact Peter Kenyon or John Hennessy

Australian Visits by Cormac Russell and Jim Diers – May and October/November 2016

So many Australian communities have benefitted greatly from the unique experiences and knowledge of two of the most outstanding communicators and facilitators in Asset Based Community Development, namely Cormac Russell from Nuture Development (UK and Ireland) and Jim Diers (Neighbor Power, USA). Both will be here in May, and Jim again in the October, 2016 periods.To book either for a presentation, workshops and/or consultancy, contact Maria D'Souza
To experience a unique joint one day “Facilitating Asset Based Community Development” Masterclass, plan to be in Melbourne, 18th May 2016, lead jointly by Jim Diers, Cormac Russell and Peter Kenyon. Details will be circulated shortly.     

Vision: June, 2016 – London, UK

Vision is the new event looking at the future of the built environment. Vision takes place on 7-8 June 2016 at Olympia, London. Vision is the annual event for architects, specifiers, and suppliers across these connected disciplines. Held annually, Vision is the place where these communities come together to discuss, debate and showcase the latest innovations and developments in architecture, design and the built environment.
Click here to visit the website. 

Developing Northern Australia Conference: June, 2016 – Darwin

This event is being held in Darwin from 20-22 June, 2016. The Developing Northern Australia Conference  has the theme – “Above the Line – unleashing the North’s potential”  continues the dialogue started in 2015, following the release of the Australian Government’s White Paper on Developing Northern Australia. Underpinned by the Government’s Top Actions Summary that was  identified in the White Paper,  the Conference will explore how industry, business, Government and agribusiness are embracing the opportunities for sustainable growth into the next decade. Click here for more information.

Global Social Economy Forum: September, 2016 – Canada

The 2016 Global Social Economy Forum is being held in Montreal from 7-9 September, 2016 under the theme – “Allies for the Intelligent and Sustainable Development of Cities.”  The goal of GSEF2016 is to "facilitate collaboration among public administrators and SSE actors by presenting best practices, whether they be processes, tools, or innovative results emerging from co-constructed public policies. These best practices will be presented mainly by SSE and local government actors, though innovative citizen initiatives and private sector projects developed with the SSE will also be brought to the fore.” Event organisers have issued a call for proposals to showcase existing projects that represent the best practices of collaboration between public authorities and social economy organizations. Click here for more details.

SEGRA Conference: October, 2016 – Western Australia

This event will be held from 26-28 October, 2016 in Albany, Western Australia. SEGRA is the premier Regional Development Conference in Australia and will be celebrating its 20th Anniversary in 2016.  There will be opportunities for speakers, both local and WA, as well as national and international to participate in the program.  You can keep up to date on the SEGRA website, Facebook or Linkedin Pages. Click here to view the flyer. 

Second International ABCD Festival: 15-20 January, 2017 – 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. Check out the venue, the International Centre Goa.  This will be an amazing event, and very low cost - a Conference fee with all meals less than AUD$350, accommodation below AUD$40 a night and a time of the year with low cost fares and charter flights from many parts of the world. More details will be sent to all subscribers within the month. But plan now to be there and think how you may want to formally contribute through a presentation/workshop/Open Space hosting/cultural performance.  For more details or register interest, contact Peter Kenyon
Photo courtesy

“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) 

 Rural & Small Town  Development 

“The influence of a beautiful, helpful character is contagious, and may revolutionize a whole town.”
(Collier Graham)

Artist Paints Silos in Brim, Wimmera

Famous artist Guido van Helten has breathed new life into the small rural town of Brim in the Wimmera region of Victoria by painting some disused silo’s with a 30m by 30m artwork.  Tourists are coming from all over to view the artwork and Brim residents are delighted to be put on the map. Click here to view a report from Seven News. Click here to read an article from the ABC News.
(Photo courtesy

The Economic Contribution of Regions to Australia’s Prosperity

Click here to access this Report released by Regional Australia Institute which discusses the importance of the contribution regional Australia has made and will continue to make to the Australian economy. “Our regions’ workforce accounts for one third of employment in Australia, and regional Australia is at the forefront of output per worker in over a third of industries.  Most remarkably, since 2001, regional Australia has gained ground on metro area in productivity terms in every industry except mining. The importance of regional Australia to the national economy means that realising the potential of our regions remains critical to securing future prosperity for all Australians. Understanding the scale of this opportunity will be critical for getting things right for Australia as a whole.”

Back Roads: vanilla slice legend creates boom in Victorian town of Birchip

Click here to read the story of legendary baker Kevin Sharp. Kevin is a baker in the small Victorian town of Birchip and is defending his title as winner of last year’s Australia's Vanilla Slice Triumph. Kevin has won the title three times, and his famous vanilla slice brings connoisseurs to Birchip in their droves. It is that classic rural tale that proves people will travel anywhere if it is worth the while. Thanks to Peter Palmer for sharing.
Photo: Kevin and Gail Sharp delivering his special vanilla slice (courtesy ABC News)

Farming Families Splitting Up to Give Children Better Chance at Schooling in Regional Centres

Click here to read an article on the plight facing rural families who want to give their children a good education.  With little assistance for the high cost of boarding schools, families are being forced to split up so the children can have a better education.

Small Mining Town Looks to a Greener Future

Hats off to the town of Collie in Western Australia who are starting to envision a future without its traditional coal mining. Click here to read their story from the ABC.

“There is a beautiful village in every country.” 

(Lailah Gifty Akita)

 Community Building 

‘Every community that is getting stronger has at its centre an effort to build up a wider circle of people who choose to take action for the common good.’
(Mike Green)
‘Community happens when people talk to each other.’
(Becky McCray, Oklahoma)

A Network of ABCD Community Building Learning Sites across Australia

Over the last three years, Nurture Development has supported the establishment and development of 12 local government ABCD Learning Sites across the UK, with the expressed intent of creating at the neighbourhood level, exemplary projects that promote rural and urban asset based community building practice and revitalisation efforts. Based on the success of this ‘bottom up, inside out’ approach, a number of local governments and NGOs in Australia have expressed interest in a similar national approach. Nurture Development, the Municipal Association of Victoria and the Bank of I.D.E.A.S. have partnered to create a supportive framework. Click here to view the Discussion paper and learn more. 

The Storefront

The East Scarborough Storefront (The Storefront) uses the power of collaboration to support people and build community in the inner suburban neighbourhood of Kingston Galloway/ Orton Park, Ontario, Canada. During the 1990’s, this neighbourhood was being used to house vast numbers of refugees, but without adequate services.  This is how The Storefront was born. Based on the belief that it takes collective community responses to address complex community and social issues, the Storefront is a fantastic practical example of how collective impact can be used to build community. Click here to find out more.  Thanks to Yvonne Jennings for sharing. 

Some Great Offline Ideas for to Compliment Online Community Engagement

Andrew Coulson has had a long and passionate involvement in community engagement,  initially in the UK and now South Australia. He has produced some wonderful blogs related to enhancing community engagement. Click here to check out this one – 5 Offline Ways to Complement Online Community Engagement.

The Four Components of Collective Impact

Click here to access a useful article by author and Results Leadership Group Senior Consultant, Dan Duncan, on the essential components of successful collective impact initiatives. 

Metaphors Ink - Russell Deal

Innovative Resources, the publishing arm of St Luke’s Anglicare, for over 25 years has built a world-wide reputation for creating unique ‘conversation-building tools’. Following the forced merger of St Luke’s with Anglicare Victoria in 2014, Innovative Resources is no longer considered to be core business. It’s Founder and former Creative Director, Russell Deal, is still passionate about the power of visual imagery and metaphor to bring important conversations alive. Metaphors Ink, Russell’s new freelance consultancy is now up and running and open for business. Russell is known for his highly interactive workshops and is keen to support both individuals and organisations who have an idea they hope to publish. And expect to see more hands-on tools for community building. Click here to visit their website. 

The 7 Day Makeover

This is a fantastic community building and place-making initiative that delivers results.  Developed by Creative Communities, The 7 Day Makeover helps ordinary people work together to deliver extraordinary places, in just seven days, without endless talk, and
using only the available resources. Creative Communities have developed an innovative program that – prevents projects from becoming bogged down in endless talk; gives local people the knowledge and skills to go on implementing agile place making projects; delivers places with a point of difference; builds civic pride; and gives people the tools to be more effective agents of change. Click here to learn more.
Photo: The first 7 Day Makeover in Paihia, New Zealand, 2011 (courtesy The 7 Day Makeover website)

 Localism & Social  Connection 

“The community you want starts at your front door.”   
(Relationships Australia)

No ordinary road: Melbourne laneway painted yellow in road safety initiative

This is a fantastic initiative from Yarra City Council that proves safety need not be boring, but has the potential to be friendly and inviting. By painting the road in bright colours, the Council have succeeded in not only warning people that this is no ordinary road, but have also attracted people to the area bringing a touch of aesthetic enhancement and vibrancy. Click here to read the article from The Age.
Photo: A boy scoots along Walnut Street in Cremorne this week (Courtesy: Paul Jeffers and The Age)

How to Build a Better Neighborhood

Some very simple advice in this article on how you can build the kind of neighbourhood we all dream of – where people know each, connect in meaningful ways and thrive. Click here to read. 

Eight Principles for Creating Thriving Public Streets

A great article sharing eight key factors for effective place making. Click here to read. 

Lucinda Hartley - Redesigning Design for Positive Social Impact

Trained as a landscape architect, Lucinda Hartley, spent two years working in slum communities in Vietnam and Cambodia before launching Community Oriented Design -- [co]design studio. Selected as a 2010 Youth Action Net Global Fellow, Lucinda has been focusing on how young people can be engaged and mobilised to improve cities and space through community oriented design. Click here to view a fantastic TED talk by Lucinda. 

 Local Economic  Development 

“Cooperatives are a reminder to the international community that it is possible to pursue both economic viability
and social responsibility.”
(Ban Ki-Moon, UN Secretary General)

Seven Paths to Development That Bring Neighborhoods Wealth, Not Gentrification

This article asks and then answers the question – Can we create an economic system—beginning at the local level—that builds the wealth and prosperity of everyone? The article was adapted from Cities Building Community Wealth, a project of The Democracy Collaborative, for New Economy Week. It recognises that community wealth building is not just a label, but is also a framework, which has multiple drivers that work together to create a system that delivers the outcome of creating an inclusive, sustainable community economy where all can prosper—particularly those normally excluded. This system can be defined as having seven key drivers – place, ownership, multipliers, collaboration, inclusion, workforce and system. Click here to read more. 

Great Resource – Take Back the Economy: An Ethical Guide for Transforming our Communities

This is a fantastic book and website which gives individuals and groups practical advice and tools to make ethical and meaningful choices in the wake of economic and planetary crisis. Two great Youtube videos based on material from the book and worth viewing are Negotiating and Cooperating in Food Cooperatives and New Forms of 'Commoning' in a Post-Quake City.

Thanks to Jenny Cameron for sharing. 

Social Enterprise Finds Jobs Where the Market Fails

This is a great article from Social Traders that provides practical information and statistics on the impact that social enterprises currently have in terms of providing employment and building the capacity of young Australians for the labour market, especially those most disadvantaged. In the face of growing unemployment, the role of social enterprises is significant. Click here to read.

Key Studies: Why Local Matters

This is a fantastic collection of information and resources from The Institute for Local Self-Reliance. “Typically, policy has privileged the biggest corporations. Yet a growing body of research is proving something that many citizens already know: small-scale, locally owned businesses create communities that are more prosperous, entrepreneurial, connected and generally better off across a wide range of metrics.” To that end, this collection of resources supports the above statement and also provides useful information on how everyday individuals and businesses can generate change.  
Click here to access. 


“We travel to see the beauty of souls in new landscapes.”
(Lailah Gifley Akita)

Share Economy Camping

This is a great article from James Woodford on the inspiration for his share-economy camping website – essentially it is ‘Uber’ for the camping world.  He also shares his suggestions for some amazing camping spots in across Australia. Click here to read. 

Coast-to-coast, by Canoe

Click here to read about a new coast-to-coast canoe route from Liverpool to the Humber that offers tourists a fresh way too see northern England and take in some beautiful scenery whilst discovering the regions industrial heritage.  
(Photo: courtesy Kevin Rushby for The Guardian)

 Youth Empowerment & Participation  

We call upon our youth to produce, create and make mistakes.” 
(Sheikh Bin Rashid Al Maktoum)

One Girl's Quest to Become the First Hijabi Ballerina in the World

Click here to read the story of Stephanie Kurlow, a young 14 year old girl from Sydney who has launched a crowd sourcing campaign to be able to attend a Performing Arts Academy that caters to students from differing religions races and backgrounds.  By attending the Academy, Stephanie will be able to realise her dream of becoming the first hijabi ballerina in the world. 

The Five Biggest Tech Trends for Millennials in 2016

Some major leaps forward in terms of technology are expected in 2016. Click here to find out how news, video games, virtual reality and streamlining services are about to further transform our lives. 

Top Blokes Foundation

Top Blokes Foundation is a youth-led organisation that empowers young men aged 14-24 to ignite their inner-top bloke and reach their full potential via mentoring, training and civic engagement programs. ​ Its founder and CEO, Melissa Abu-Gazaleh started the organisation because as a young female, she recognised that she was invested in by community with opportunities to participate in female only personal development and leadership opportunities, including speaking competitions and mentoring programs, but statistically, young men are highly represented in crime, alcohol-fuelled violence, anti-social and risk-taking behaviours. Unable to find volunteering opportunities with an organisation that tackled these issues, she decided to start her own. Click here to learn more about Top Blokes Foundation.

What does it take for a Community to Change the Trajectory of its Young People

Click here to read and view the wonderful story of the community of Burnie, Tasmania seeking new ways forward for tackling local youth challenges through Collective Impact.

Mobile laundry founders Nic Marchesi and Lucas Patchett named Young Australians of the Year

The two young men named this year’s Young Australians of the Year sought and delivered a service to the homeless that most people take for granted – clean clothes. These young men fitted out a van with washing machines and dryers and followed food vans around Brisbane offering the free service to the homeless.  Within no time they had expanded to Melbourne, Sydney and the Gold Coast.  Click here to read the full story.  
Photo: Orange Sky founders Nic Marchesi and Lucas Patchett. (Courtesy: Kristian Silva and The Brisbane Times)

Shire of Halls Creek
Casual Position Vacant

Applications closing 5.00pm on Friday 26 February 2016 are invited for the position of Remote Youth Development Officer servicing the community of Billiluna in the East Kimberley region.
The position offers full time employment, reporting to the Youth Services Team Leader, the main aim of this rewarding role will be to provide an outreach service to support young people to improve their quality of life, to participate to their maximum potential in social, recreational, educational and vocational activities.
Couples are highly encouraged to apply with a potential job opportunity for your partner.
Prospective applicants should first obtain the information package for the position, which can be obtained by phoning (08) 9168 6007, by calling at the Shire Office, or by downloading from our website at 
The Shire of Halls Creek is an Equal Opportunity Employer and we encourage applications from local applicants

 Food / Community  Agriculture 

"Growing your own food is like printing your own money." 
(Ron Finley, Guerilla Gardener)

Food in Community Engagement

This is the title of another great and practical blog by Andrew Coulson with the neat sub title – ‘If Food is the Tool of the Gods, then Engage On!”

Soul Kitchen

This is a wonderful example of community building through a community restaurant. Their vision is to serve healthy, delicious, and when possible, organic meals. At Soul Kitchen there are no prices on the menu and often people are seated with someone they do not know. Customers pay the minimum donation or volunteer in some way to earn a dining certificate for a meal. They have a great manifesto. Click here to check out their website. 

Ron Finley – A Guerilla Gardener in South Central LA

View this inspiring TED Talk about Ron Finley who is planting vegetable gardens across South Cental LA using abandoned lots, traffic medians and any spare space he can find. Click here to watch. 

Whitehorse greenhouse teams up with local artists, food co-op

Click here to read about a local nursery in Canada that has teamed up with other local businesses and crafts people to diversify product by offering them space to sell their ways.  A great example of how working together can benefit everyone.
Thanks to Local Food News for sharing.           
(Photo courtesy: Kiyoshi MacGuire / CBC News)

Food hubs for 21st century farmers: New centres target local food niche markets

Click here to read about the amazing network of food hubs popping up across Canada. Food Hubs aim to build markets for small- and medium-sized farms by combining orders and delivery to attract volume buyers, essentially “creating the missing piece.” According to the Laurier Centre for Sustainable Food Systems, food hubs can be actual or virtual places where food is collected and resold to processors, retailers, or restaurants but may also provide space for food preparation or processing. 


Click here to read a fantastic article on a Portland based not-for-profit organisation whose mission is to use community enthusiasm and volunteer power to remove pavement, turning it into green public gathering spaces that are more aesthetically appealing and environmentally sound.

 Leadership & Personal  Development 

“Your life experience is a moving picture of which you are writer, director, performer, producer and critic.”
(T.F. Hodge)


View – Voice, Interests and education of Women is one of Australia’s leading volunteer organisations for women run by The Smith Family. Operating in 400 metropolitan, regional and rural communities across Australia, VIEW women are seriously committed to providing educational opportunities for disadvantaged Australian children and their families, and have great fun while actively contributing in their local communities. Click here to visit the website. 

Eight Types of Leadership

Working out which types of leaders you have on your team can work wonders for your effectiveness as a group.  It helps in recognising how you and your colleagues can individually make their best contributions. This article describes the eight leadership “archetypes”. Click here to read. 

Victoria’s first Ministerial Council for Volunteers Announced

Volunteers are often on the frontline of social issues that affect us. Their opinions and ideas matter and should be considered by policy makers.  The Victorian Government has acknowledged their contribution by creating a Ministerial Council for Volunteers. The Council will advise the Victorian Government on how best to support and strengthen the volunteer sector and oversee a broader program of volunteer recognition. Click here to read the article. 

Sustainable Development 

‘We have forgotten how to be good guests, how to walk lightly on earth as its other creatures do.’  

‘The struggle to save the global environment is in one way much more difficult than the struggle to vanquish Hitler, for this time the war is with ourselves.  We are the enemy, just as we have only ourselves as allies.’
(Al Gore)

Sacramento’s Library of Things Shares More than Books

This brilliant initiative out of Sacramento kills two birds with one stone – it addresses both over consumption issues and the decline of that wonderful civic space – the library. Click here to find out more.
(Photo courtesy of Shareable)

Disturbing Statistic
It is estimated that there are 22.5 million mobiles lying idle in homes around Australia.
Let’s start recycling them! 

Community Energy Projects Small is Beautiful: the community solar projects taking on big energy

Recently, there has been a big increase in the shift towards community energy projects.  Community energy projects allow local people to decide where their energy should come from, whether that be solar, wind, hydro or other forms, and puts any profits generated into local hands, rather than those of energy companies. Click here to read more. 

Five Eco Villages Around the World

Click here to see five inspiring examples of what successful eco villages look like around the world. 

Kids Create Street Art That Generates Solar Power

This inspiring article tells the story of a Pittsburgh project designed to light up a disadvantaged neighbourhood and show an alternative-energy future in a coal state. 20 local students built and designed the public art and solar installation. Click here to read the full story. 

 Social Development  

Disturbing Statistic
It is estimated that on any given night, more than 105,000 Australians will not have a safe and secure place to stay.

Half the World’s Population Make as Much Money as More than Half of the World’s Population

The new Report by Oxfam, An Economy for the 1%, shows the gap between the world’s richest and poorest people has widened in the past year with 62 people now owning as much wealth as half of the global population!! And Australia is not immune to the trend, according to a new report. Oxfam found that in 2015 just 62 individuals had the same wealth as 3.6 billion people – the bottom half of humanity. This figure was down from 388 individuals as recently as 2010.The report also found that the wealth of the richest 62 people had risen by 44 per cent in the five years since 2010 – an increase of more than half a trillion dollars USD (A$542 billion).

Sydney Story Factory

This amazing organisation uses the wonderful art of storytelling to develop the language, literacy and communication skills of marginalised youth in Sydney.  Based in Redfern, the Sydney Story Factory runs programs designed by creative writing and literacy experts for young people aged 7 to 17, in primary and high school, who are at risk of losing confidence in their writing and switching off at school. Young people work with volunteer tutors to write stories of all kinds, which are published in as many ways as possible. Click here to learn more. 

Some Disturbing Facts about Australia
Despite Australia’s high ranking internationally on wealth and standard of living indices, Australia social problems that have become intractable or are worsening, namely:

  • The benefits of a decade of economic growth have not flowed on to a consistent portion of the Australian community (5-8%) who are excluded, under-serviced and unrecognised.
  • The proportion of children living in jobless households in Australia is higher than all but four of the 27 EU states.
  • The number of Australians aged over 65 is projected to more than double by 2055, with 1 in 1,000 people projected to be aged over 100.
  • Ten years of policy focus and investment has barely started to ‘close the gap’ between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians.
  • Homelessness has risen 8% over the past five years despite a national strategy, agreed targets, an increase in Federal and State spending and the ‘significant effort of many social sector organisations’

This information was provided by Collaboration for Impact.

Critical Statistic Needing a Response from All of Us

United Nations now estimate that 60 million people are now forcibly displaced globally as refugees, internally displaced persons and asylum seekers fleeing conflict and persecution. The ongoing crisis in Syria has taken a toll on millions of lives, with its effects reverberating around the globe. Thousands have died, and nearly half of the country’s population has been displaced, either internally or to neighbouring countries and beyond. As of December 2015, nearly 4.4 million Syrians had registered as refugees.

Cheers to Charity

Charity Tap is a new Melbourne social enterprise that turns beer into money for charity. Every time you buy a beer from a Charity Tap, between 10c and $1 will be donated to charity. The premium funds a community grants program and is tax deductible for publicans.  The Organisation was founded by two young Victorians who recognised that many people were increasingly choosing to support retailers who in turn supported the disadvantaged and social causes and there was an avenue to explore this option for pubs. Click here to read an article from The Age Newspaper.  

Photo: Charity Tap founders Robbie Gillies (white T-shirt) and Marcus Crook (long beard) with 56 Bricks bar co-owner Chace Harty. Courtesy: Simon Schluter and The Age

The World’s Most Popular Website Makes a Strong Statement this Australia Day

Every 26th January, Australian’s celebrate Australia Day - it marks the anniversary of the 1788 arrival of the First Fleet of British Ships at Port Jackson, New South Wales, and the raising of the Flag of Great Britain at Sydney Cove by Governor Arthur Phillip. For Indigenous Australians it marks the day their land was invaded, subsequently colonised and the start of many atrocities committed against them. This year, Google chose as its ‘Google Doodle’ an art work by a young Australian from Canberra – Ineka Voigt – that commemorates Australia’s First Peoples and seeks to reignite the conversation regarding reconciliation.  Click here to read this amazing story.

 Inspirational People &  Stories 

“’Tell me a story’ still comprise four of the most powerful words in history.” 
(Pat Conroy)

Meet the Spur Family

Click here to read the inspirational story of the Spur family who have created a sustainable lifestyle on rental block in Brisbane. Their path to self-sufficiency includes growing their own food, using resources readily available to them and utilising the urban environment to their benefit. As a result, they have created a more resilient existence. More importantly, living in a block of five units has created a small functional community where sharing and caring is the order of the day.  Sustainable living to the Spurs means an enhancement of life, lowering of living expenses and being environmentally aware, without compromising comfort or incurring extra expenditure. Thanks for sharing your story with us Roman and family!

Australian of the Day

In the lead up to the Australian of the Year Awards, CommBank made an inspiring short film about the everyday Aussies we do not hear about in the news, those making their own contribution to our amazing country. They have dubbed them “the Australians of the Day”. Over the past eight months, CommBank travelled the country and celebrated these people. Click here to view. 


“Humour is by far the most significant activity of the human brain.”
(Edward De Bono)

Some Humour from Insurance Claims
Here are some classic explanation sent to an Insurance Company regarding road accidents -
“An invisible car came out of nowhere, struck my vehicle, and vanished.”
“I was on the way to the doctor with rear-end trouble when my universal joint gave way causing me to have an accident.”
“I collided with a stationary truck coming the other way.”
“I had been shopping for plants and was on my way home. As I reached an intersection, a hedge sprang up, obscuring my vision.”
“I had been driving my car 40 years when I fell asleep at the wheel and had an accident.”
“The other car collided with mine without giving warning of its intentions.”
“I thought my window was down, but I found out it was up when I put my hand through it.”
“My car was legally parked as it backed into the other vehicle.”

"New Years Resolution - to tolerate fools more gladly, provided that does not encourage them to take up more of my time."
(James Agate)

"Laughter is the shortest distance between two people."

(Victor Borge)

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