Community groups play an important role in ensuring rural communities stay vibrant and strong and are self-sustaining into the future. They often fill the gaps that are not able to be accommodated by Government support. Perhaps there is concern about local safety or a need for a local youth group in the evenings. Maybe someone wants to support their child’s school or the hospital where a family member was treated. It could be that an informal group of people have begun a project and want to create a structured group to seek funding. Although it may appear daunting, all that is needed to set up a community group is patience, common sense and a willingness to make use of the available sources of advice.
Cath Carter & Glenda McCue from Crookwell, are two such people who were able to set up their own ‘community trust’ to provide support for local projects. On moving out of drought the two ladies began looking at ways the small dynamic Upper Lachlan community could secure a sustainable future within the region and not have to rely on support from government. With the help of a NSW DPI Rural Support Worker and a group of volunteers who’d worked together as part of the ‘Look After Your Mates’ network, they decided to develop ways they could build on this experience.
Cath and Glenda became known as the ‘2020 Group’ and held a meeting discuss ideas. Youth leadership and climate variability were two areas the two wanted to pursue but they soon realised their ideas required significant funding.
Cath and Glenda decided to establish a ‘community trust’ to create a locally managed process that captured and provided funding for local projects. The 2020 Group evolved into the Upper Lachlan Foundation (ULF) Steering Committee and after a series of community meetings the ULF now has 130 members and over $50 000 in capital funds invested to be used on local projects. The first ULF Board was elected in February 2012 and aims to raise $2 million by 2013. Volunteers have assisted with all types of in-kind support such as the creation of the ULF logo and marketing banner.
The ULF is only possible because we have volunteer energy from people who want our small rural community to be resilient and thrive. We want to be self-sustaining into the future and are happy to share our learning with others.
For more information see: http://ulf.org.au or email: firstname.lastname@example.org