16 December 2022

Community leaders build network to combat future challenges in their Eurobodalla home

| Albert McKnight
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Twenty-four current and emerging leaders have joined Regenerate Eurobodalla, with the aim of creating a strong leadership network. Photo: Supplied.

Members of the Eurobodalla who joined a leadership development program are focusing on helping their community collaborate effectively when responding to future challenges and opportunities.

Twenty-four current and emerging leaders were selected to participate in the program, called Regenerate Eurobodalla, which was designed in response to the devastating 2019-2020 Black Summer bushfires.

The aim of the program is to create a strong leadership network committed to collaborating towards a positive future for the shire.

“When future fire emergencies, or opportunities occur, this network will be invaluable,” the Australian Rural Leadership Foundation’s (ARLF) manager of leadership programs Grant Cameron said.

“They won’t be just names to each other, they’ll know and trust each other and be able to work through the challenges in front of them.”

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Eliza Cannon, from Moruya-based small-scale vegetable business Borrowed Ground, said she and her cohort had a shared vision to build a stronger community.

“I can’t think of a better way to make positive change in the Eurobodalla than gathering together local community members who live in, care for, work amongst and hold deep connection to the region, with a collective mission to build a more resilient future,” she said.

Eurobodalla community development officer Gerard Dennis hoped to see a focus on inclusiveness and collaborative community coordination, along with continued support for social wellbeing and developing resilience.

“I truly believe that we need to be on the same page, open, honest and reliable to restrengthen our broken haven,” he said.

The Eurobodalla Shire Council’s Matt Neason was keen for the region’s council to be a part of the collaborative effort.

“I recognise the opportunity that we’ve got with so many emerging leaders from across the community, it was really important that council was part of that collective,” he said.

Moruya local and SAGE volunteer Sandra Makdessi welcomed the program’s connection to the First Nations community.

“The biggest thing is about being more connected with First Nations community members … there’s so many of us who are really open to learning about First Nations and how we can connect and share knowledge, and bring the two together,” she said.

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She said she saw the program as an opportunity to step up and do more to champion issues of concern, with food security, sustainability and housing among them.

Regenerate Eurobodalla is funded by the Australian Government as part of the Black Summer Bushfire Recovery program and delivered by the ARLF in partnership with the South Coast Health and Sustainability Alliance.

The program says as a result of such leadership programs, a community gains a group of courageous and influential people with the skills to gather support from within the community and their new network to put a plan into action.

It is an intensive program that runs for 18 months. For more information on the program, visit its website.

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