Our Town finalists announced

The Our Town team are delighted to officially announce the South Australian communities that will continue the Our Town journey this month.

After a fascinating journey through 9 diverse communities, the six towns and regions that have been chosen to continue their explorations of mental health as part of the Our Town initiative are Berri, Ceduna, Cummins, Kangaroo Island, Kimba and the Mid Murray region.

As an addition to this, and as a result of the toll the bushfires took on many communities a decision was made to provide an additional 10-year package of funding and specialist support directly to Kangaroo Island. The remaining five towns and regions are a step closer to receiving the original two long-term funding and support packages. In 2020 we will join our project funders Fay Fuller Foundation and partners Clear Horizon and FRRR to work with these communities to begin to unlock community potential to meet the mental health challenges they are facing.

 

The thing that struck me during our town visits was the diversity of places and leaders we will be working with. From Ceduna a hub of Aboriginal culture and a diverse group of industries, to Kimba and Cummins very small towns with very limited outside support, Berri a service hub, Kangaroo Island now recovering from fire and the Mid Murray a large area that is sparsely populated. So much to learn.

Kate Simpson, Lead: Our Town

Working with and alongside communities you realise that all the strength and resilience is there, it exists already, in spades. What appears to be a common barrier are opportunities to connect around subjects like connection, wellbeing and trauma. Ingrained mindsets about 'what help looks like', 'where it comes from' and 'fear of doing the wrong thing’ can stop us from seeing how our role as individuals directly shapes the eco-system we live in.

Euan Black, Senior Social Innovator: Our Town
Our Town group

Moving into the next phase Fay Fuller Foundation Chief Executive Officer Niall Fay commented on what was a difficult selection process saying that it quickly became apparent that all nine communities on the shortlist for funding had a need for the assistance, and were ready for the challenge.

‘All nine communities that we visited last year ‘turned up’ and had prepared very thoroughly for our time with them – the selection process was very difficult.’

Niall Fay, CEO Fay Fuller Foundation

He says the foundation also wanted to ensure that the three towns that did not proceed to the next stage did not go away empty-handed.

‘We have always been committed to leaving good behind at every stage of Our Town,’ Niall says. He says the foundation has opened up discussions about trying to find additional sources of funding to enable towns to build on what they have started.  ‘I’m confident that we will find something and these towns will also remain part of our thinking and engagement in the broader Our Town initiative.’

Jetty

Our Town expanded to provide long-term help to Kangaroo Island

Like many of you, we watched the unfolding bushfire disaster in Kangaroo Island recently with heavy hearts and dismay. Wanting to provide meaningful assistance to this community, Fay Fuller made the decision to expand the Our Town mental health funding initiative to create a third 10-year package of long-term funding and on-ground support. This will be provided directly to Kangaroo Islandto assist with the long-term mental health challenges that often follow these types of tragic events.

As this is a community in crisis and mourning, local people will be the focus to advise on the best way to move forward over the coming months. During 2020 Kangaroo Island has the opportunity to work with the Our Town team and the other five towns and regions that have entered this next stage of Our Town.

The Our Town team feel honoured to be able to join with Fay Fuller Foundation, FRRR and Clear Horizon to walk alongside this community as they enter this long-term recovery process.

Darren Keenan part of the Kangaroo Island team that will be working with the team on Our Town said the funding could not have come at a better time for his community.

The support of this program will help to build the capacity of our community to support ourselves, to strengthen our resilience and to ensure our ongoing wellbeing, long after the fires are put out and the spotlight moves away from Kangaroo Island.

Darren Keenan