On the surface, Outside the Square is a series of events that consist of speakers and
discussion around a particular community challenge. The two hour event
is hosted in an engaging and relaxing community space. The evening is
buzzing with energy and full of people keen to make a difference in
It is specifically designed to encourage
peer to peer sharing and learning. People come away with new
inspiration, new connections and practical pathways to join with others
and take action on addressing the particular challenge being discussed.
But delve deeper and you will find that not only does Outside the Square
generate an amazing evening for the participants with next steps
created, it also provides a deeper community development element with
long term benefits for the community.
Make a Change’s recent survey supports the amazing social value of events such as Outside the Square; “The best aspects of Make a Change are the networking and support opportunities available, it can be the difference between success and failure.” (Make a Change Australia Participant Feedback Survey Report December 2014 Wiseworld Solutions).
“Outside the Square was a fantastic launch for Kitchen Table Conversations for Change.” says Ann Lansberry of Bendigo Kitchen Tables. “We were able to get an idea off the ground, attract new committee members and gone on to host a number of conversations.”
Steve Abbott Coordinator Planning and Policy with the City of Greater Bendigo shares the impact; “Outside the Square enabled the culmination of various groups and individuals with ideas, enthusiasm and motivation for Bendigo to become bicycle friendly. On a cold, wet winters night in 2014, 100 people came together for Outside the Square and resulted in the creation of Bike Bendigo Inc, a new not for profit community organisation. Bike Bendigo Inc vision is to get more people on bikes and coordinate events, advocacy and ideas to see Bendigo become the bicycle capital of regional Australi.”
We are planning some very exciting
topics for our Outside the Square Bendigo series this year. We are
aiming to address some key challenges in Bendigo, we want to bring
people together interested in taking action in these challenges and we
want to activate community involvement.
These are the topics we have come up with based on many discussions amongst community leaders and members.
Activating Spaces – from old churches to parks, laneways and public spaces, how do we get started, build momentum, encourage people to get active and out there enjoying what we have?
Communities – there is so much creativity in our region you will be
blown away when you tune into it. But how do we connect in with what’s
happening, how do we build our region as the creative center of
Australia? How do we educate the majority of people who aren’t even
aware of this so they can buy works from our local creative community?
Housing Revolution – from tiny houses to shared backyards, smart
design and inclusive, connected neighbourhoods, there’s no longer a need
for the cookie cutter approach to housing. How do we build awareness
about this in Bendigo and encourage more people to think differently
Young People are Amazing – young people are
awesome and have a lot to offer. Yet there seems to be a lot of
negativity around them. How can we shift this thinking and empower young
people to get in and take up the opportunities around them? Let’s get
young people on board and hear what they have to say.
for Contribution – it’s easy to put a box around people with support
needs such as a disability or mental illness, but people with these
needs are valued members of the community. How can we connect in with
them and create opportunities for them to contribute that cater for
their needs too?
So these are our top 5 topics and we’ll be
choosing three. We’d love to hear your thoughts too. Tell us what
challenge you would like to see addressed in Bendigo and what you know
is already happening in this space.
If you are not from
Bendigo but you are interested in seeing an Outside the Square series in
your community, please contact us because we’d love to see how we can
help make this happen.
We are currently
seeking partners to help make this series happen. If you are an
innovative business that wants to contribute to these challenges please
contact us to see how you can be involved.