Festival of Daring Possibilities asks – What if? Big picture thinking in Bega.

Cayce Hill
Cayce Hill

The ‘Festival of Daring Possibilities’ at the Funhouse in Bega has asked people to think big and solicited ideas that lead to new solutions and attitudes.

In stimulating the discussion, Funhouse founder, Cayce Hill said, “It’s the people not like us that make us grow.”

Cayce urging her audience of 30 people or more to inspire each other with their differences and unique perspectives.

“We’ve stopped telling the story of who we are and why, our identity gets weaker,” Cayce said.

The Festival was held as part of first birthday celebrations for the Funhouse, which over the last 12 months has become a hub for a range of artistic, sporting, social, and youth interests.

This old video shop come ‘community centre’ is itself a result of the big picture thinking the ‘Festival of Daring Possibilities’ looks to encourage.

“I started this place looking for a community, creating a space where not only I felt comfortable but also a place that welcomes and values strangers,” Cayce said.

Bega Valley Shire Councillor, Jo Dodds was also one of those planting seeds in the discussion.

“I love that random encounter and the challenge of finding common ground,” she said.

“We need to help the people in our community who are scared or afraid of difference.”

Offering an indigenous insight was Djiringanj and Ngarigo women, Tamika Townsend, who grew up in the Bega Valley but now works in Canberra across Aboriginal employment initiatives and more broadly – reconciliation.

“What if we could just start again?” Tamika pondered.

“What if the Djiringanj culture was more visible in this community?”

Tamika Townsend
Tamika Townsend

With family adding weight to Tamika’s message, Aunty Colleen Dixon spoke with strength to a captivated room about her experience growing up in Bega.

She spoke of not feeling welcome in town and an ever present racist attitude across every aspect of life.

“I was the eldest, and I remember walking along the river at Jellet one night with my brothers and sisters and bullets flying over our head, I just told them to get down,” Aunty Colleen said.

“There is a lot of trauma in this community,” Tamika said.

“Our history is very recent, there are people still traumatised.”

When asked to answer the question – What if? Aunty Colleen responded, “What if we had a cultural centre?”

The Djiringanj Elder suggesting such a space would bring all cultures together and create opportunities for connection and understanding, and build pride and purpose in her people.

Two more nights of discussion will roll out as part of the Festival of Daring Possibilities at the Funhouse – August 18 and September 15.

With a dinner of curry and spices infused in the air last Saturday night, festival goers were asked to add ideas to a wall of what if’s?

Click on each photo for a bigger view, and feel free to add your own ‘What if?’ in the comments box below…

Thanks to About Regional members Phil Martin, Gabrielle Powell, and Deborah Dixon for empowering local stories.





About Regional – the podcast, episode five, December 14 2016

About Regional – the podcast, episode five, December 14 2016

Dr Matthew Nott, founder of Clean Energy for Eternity. By Bega District News
Dr Matthew Nott, founder of Clean Energy for Eternity. By Bega District News

About Regional – a new place for the people and stories of South East NSW.

The last program for 2016:

*The Funhouse crowdfunding campaign succeeds; Bega gets a youth and community centre in 2017! Read more HERE.

*Dr Matthew Nott, the founder of Clean Energy for Eternity says households in the region need to rethink the way they use their rooftop solar panels. Read more HERE.

*The Tour de France comes to the Snowy Mountains, some advice from a local personal trainer that will get you ready for round two of L’Etape Australia. Fresh from this year’s ride, Adrian Day from the School of Strength says it’s all about doing the k’s.

*We chat to a hairdresser whose career has taken her around the world, including on tour with The Village People. Jo Greenwood is now keen to give young people in the region the same opportunities.

Stonewave Taiko by Ben Marden
Stonewave Taiko by Ben Marden

*The Bega Valley’s Stonewave Taiko have been booked for their biggest gig yet.

Find your preferred listening option below to learn more.

Feedback, story ideas and advertising opportunities are always welcome, we can connect via hello@aboutregional.com.au

More via the About Regional Facebook page.

Have a great summer, thanks for tuning in.


Listening options:

Click here to listen here via AudioBoom

Coming soon to iTunes!

About Regional – the podcast, episode three, November 6 2016

Tim Elliott and Ian Campbell
Tim Elliott and Ian Campbell

About Regional – the podcast, episode 3, November 6 2016

Thanks for clicking on, in this week’s program:

  • A lesson in youth engagement from Cayce Hill from the Funhouse in Bega and a pitch for their Pozible campaign. They are chasing a year’s rent to expand on their dynamic program in 2017. Read more here.
  • A snap from a literary lunch at Bermagui featuring author Tim Elliott and his memoir ‘Farewell to the Father’, part of a joint effort during Mental Health Month by Candelo Books, Il Passaggio and About Regional
  • The morning after an exclusive 10 course truffle dinner, Executive Chef Patrick Reubinson from Stroudover Cottage at Bemboka speaks of his passion for truffles.
  • Last season’s capsicums brought back to life by Tanja Permaculturalist Kathleen McCann. Read more here.

Feedback, story ideas, and sponsorship options to hello@aboutregional.com.au

Still working out a few little production hiccups, hope you can forgive them.



To listen and subscribe:

Click here to listen via Aubioboom

Click here to listen via Stitcher

Coming soon to iTunes!

Bega asked to invest in a Funhouse future – $20,000 to go

Funhouse fun and games
Funhouse fun and games

The push is on to secure the closest thing Bega might have ever had to a youth and community centre.

The Funhouse on Hill Street has been operating for just a handful of months but in that time it has become a big feature in the lives of the growing community of people around it and a ‘go to’ resource for a range of ideas and initiatives.

Thirty-one-year-old Cayce Hill is the force behind it.

Cayce moved to the Bega Valley two years ago having spent the five years prior in Melbourne, a long way from her hometown of Claremont, about 50km east of Los Angeles.

“A lot of my city friends said to me ‘you are going to be bored’ (in Bega) but the reality is so different,” Cayce says.

“There’s a lot of motivated, wonderful, creative energy flowing and Funhouse is starting to be the gravitational pull.”

Over the next 24 days, Cayce is hoping to raise a further $20,000 to keep the Funhouse going as it is now into 2017. A little over $9,000 has already been pledged via a crowdfunding  ‘Pozible’ campaign.

Longtime Bega businessman Peter Turner owns the building which until recently housed his long-running video hire business.

Funhouse gigs draw a crowd
Funhouse gigs draw a crowd

Cayce credits Peter with contributing to the early success of Funhouse by agreeing to a lesser rent for the three-level property. The aim now is to wipe that pressure for a whole year and raise the $29,000 needed.

Most of the money to get Funhouse to this point has come from Cayce’s on-site dance classes.

“I have fifty plus students and all the money they give me goes straight into Funhouse,” she says.

“But now that we are starting to get enough members using the space, Funhouse will be able to sustain itself more that way.”

Since the end of July, an eclectic mix of users has been booking space regularly within these brown brick walls just back from Bega’s main street.

Meditation, martial arts, board games, theatre , flamenco lessons, language classes, ballet, yoga, maths tutoring, men’s singing and more are part of the Funhouse program. Each session pays its way and the people connected to those varied interests become part of a community, something Cayce hopes is the start of a viable future.

While Funhouse is and will continue to be used by a wide range of ages, the needs of youth are at the heart of the next step.

“Bega desperately needs a place where young people can go,” Cayce says

“I can’t think of any place that a young person can go in Bega on a Friday night – to just hang out.”

There's always a place to crash at Funhouse
There’s always a place to crash at Funhouse

First though, breathing space is what Cayce is hoping to buy through the Pozible campaign; rent in 2017 covered so that a more strategic approach towards youth and community programs can be developed without worrying about $600 rent each week.

“From that vantage point I can see all the things that I have been keeping on the back burner,” Cayce says.

“Business incubation, youth programs, a drop-in space, really being strategic about what we as a collective, as a cooperative want to achieve.”

Before the work of her journalist partner brought her to the Bega Valley, Cayce worked with the not-for-profit youth performing arts organisation ‘Outer Urban Projects‘.

“That alone was really inspirational, but I also had friends who owned bars who were putting on hip-hop workshops, there was so much happening in Melbourne,” Cayce says.

“When I came to the area (the Bega Valley) I think I was really thirsty for that.”

Cayce says she was also surprised to learn that many locals saw Bega as a town to pass through, on your way to somewhere else – somewhere better.

“I just thought, I reckon I can change that,” Cayce says.

Cayce Hill
Cayce Hill

“If there was a space where people could stop in and they knew that their friends would maybe be there or they knew that some kind of project or energy was happening, people might be more likely to spend a bit more time in Bega.”

Rather than have the Funhouse tied to a government agency or semi-corporate entity, Cayce sees greater strength in the community taking ownership of it.

The Funhouse of the future will be shaped by the people that step up to take in on.

Governance structures around a cooperative model are being built and would be developed further as financial security is deepened.

While money is in short supply, trust has been the key Funhouse commodity.

“It’s amazed me, everyone comes and is so loving and nurturing, and happy and expressive, there’s not been one bad egg,” Cayce says.

Similar values are at play in shaping what happens within the space. The steady stream of high schoolers making the Funhouse their own is a testament to that.

A lesson in youth engagement from Cayce Hill – from the About Regional podcast

At a time when many well-meaning organisations are scratching their head, pondering how to engage with youth, Funhouse has nailed it, something groups like the PCYC have acknowledged and are tapping into.

“The secret is just asking them (youth) and consulting with them,” Cayce says.

“I’ve been doing quite a bit of listening and I think that has created an atmosphere where rather than me pushing my agenda, I’ve allowed for a larger youth voice.”

It’s a philosophy that informs a simple business plan for the future, one that starts with a community need or interest and then goes about developing an appropriate level of response based on what the community can afford or accommodate.

The Pozible pitch to cover next year’s rent is the first test of that, and the Funhouse of 2017 will be shaped by it.