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Engaging Communities program review launch

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Mayor Samantha McIntosh and Cr Grant Tillett at the Lucas Community Hub last week.

A review document was launched last Thursday to outline the achievements of the City of Ballarat’s Engaging Communities program over the past six years.

The review document is the first formal work undertaken to assess, improve and provide direction for the program.

The launch event acknowledged the review document, as well as the community input, engagement, and capacity building that has occurred through the Engaging Communities Program since 2012.

The Engaging Communities Program has been implemented across nine locations.

It started in 2012 with townships of Learmonth, Miners Rest and Buninyong.

In 2014, it was expanded to Brown Hill, Sebastopol and Cardigan Village.

In 2017 and early 2018 the program has been launched in Wendouree, Mount Pleasant and Lucas.

Since the program’s introduction, City of Ballarat has invested $1.2 million into projects selected by communities at each of the six sites, with a further $3 million leveraged in state and federal government grants and from private and community sources.

City of Ballarat Mayor Cr Samantha McIntosh said that over the past six years a lot of work has been done in these communities.

“In the first phase the program was focused on strengthening links between the City of Ballarat and our rural communities,” Cr McIntosh said.

“There have been many conversations over time and people saying they feel left out by ‘living in the sticks’ and we want to make sure that everyone in our community, in every part of our community is included, is part of the conversation, is part of the planning – that everyone has the ability to contribute to plans, be part of the process, to be a voice and in many cases to be leaders.”

The highlights of the Engaging Communities Program are:

Buninyong (population 7,153)– Village Square Project, re-establishing the Buninyong & District Community Newsletter, Avenue of Honour Restoration Project and enhancing the existing skate facility and basketball area at the Youth Space.

Miners Rest (population 14,633) – Town Entrance Signage, the Revitalisation of the Miners Rest Community Park and the construction of a BMX Bike Pump Track in the park.

Learmonth (population 438) The Learmonth Pathway to Growth which included an art installation on the Lake Learmonth Foreshore ‘The Flock’.

Cardigan Village (population 667) – Refurbishment of the Cradigan Village Community Centre.

Sebastopol (population 10,032) – Enterprising Community. Using the Ballarat South Community Hub commercial kitchen and the long-term unemployed, the project creates food products for the Phoenix Secondary College canteen; habitat restoration of the natural bush land on M.R.Power Reserve.

Brown Hill (population 3,592) – Online Community Hub – development of a website to enable the community to learn about upcoming community events.

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