Strengthening connections in communities builds resilience. It is a critical ingredient for communities to effectively grow, respond, and recover in times of hardship.

We were recently asked to assist St Matthews Church in strengthening connections for the Bendigo suburb of Long Gully, a suburb impacted by the 2009 Black Saturday bushfires.

Partnering with St Matts we created an effective community engagement program, followed by a tailored/facilitated community gathering called Connecting Long Gully.

In the lead up to the event we engaged with key groups and community leaders to get the ball rolling, invite them to contribute to the discussion at hand and to the possibility of shaping their future outcomes. We also ensured they received a personal and direct invitation to attend the event (as an important ingredient for real inclusion).

The gathering then brought together 40+ people who reside or work in Long Gully, representing many different backgrounds and organisations. This included the local primary school, neighbourhood house, post office, and more. Interest groups such as the local wood turners attended.

The event facilitated many new connections, great ideas and the sharing of updates on current local projects. Themes covered included community wellbeing, active living, accessibility, support for children’s education, the environment and more!

A key outcome was giving those in attendance the opportunity to actively participate and support connectivity within Long Gully, now and in the future. In addition the local post office recently
opened a cafe within their premises to support community conversations and connections. This
was a project they identified and generated support for at the event.

Connecting Long Gully is just one of many Make a Change initiatives created to support communities in addressing local challenges. Contact us to find out more about the work of Make a Change and how we can support your community too.