Planning the Red Earth Community Leadership Program, at back, from left, Tina Torrens, Georgie Somerset, Carl Rackemann, Louise Judge and Nina Temperton; at front; Heather Ellis and Pam McAllister from Vision 21

December 3, 2013

A partnership between Vision 21 and the Red Earth Community Foundation (RECF) is aiming to strengthen community leadership in the South Burnett.

The organisations are planning to offer a leadership training program, designed for the South Burnett and delivered locally, in 2014.

Red Earth Community Foundation chair Georgie Somerset said support was being sought from businesses, prospective participants and community groups.

“We have fantastic community leaders in the South Burnett, which is one of the reasons our region has been able to manage through difficult periods over the past 10 years,” Mrs Somerset said.

“Recovery experts have identified that communities who have a leadership program in place are more likely to recover quickly from disaster events and to have a stronger economic base.

“To build upon this, we have developed a leadership program designed to assist anyone involved in their local community, their industry or the region to improve their effectiveness in their current roles and to potentially take on a leadership role if they are not doing this already.”

Vision 21 is made up of graduates of the State Government’s former Building Rural Leaders (BRL) program which ceased in 2008.

Vision 21 President Heather Ellis is a former primary producer in the South Burnett and is keen to give back to the region which she believes has great potential.

“The Building Rural Leaders Program gave our members the skills and confidence to make big improvements in our lives,” Ms Ellis said.

“It is our passion to make similar opportunities available to people in regional Queensland, starting with the South Burnett.

“This proposed program is based upon the values of BRL, keeping key elements that made it so powerful.

“People will learn how to be effective in a practical way while building working relationships that can lead to building a stronger region for us all over the long term.”

Ms Ellis said the program was about helping people to gain increased skills and confidence, increase their awareness of the region and its resources, and to provide participants with an effective network and access to community leaders.

“Vision 21 is offering to subsidise several participants to attend the 2014 program and encourages others to join in sponsoring worthy participants, who may be cash-strapped, to attend the program,” she said.

Mrs Somerset said the program’s details were being developed by community members and it would be delivered in the Bunya Mountains.

“Research shows the benefit of providing a residential environment and enabling people to focus on the program, the other participants and their own skills development,” she said.

“We are aiming for a series of scholarships for the program and we will be ensuring we have a wide cross section of our diverse region is represented.”

She said there were many ways a business or organisation could be involved, including:

  • Nominating a participant,
  • Offering speakers who can present on topics relevant to the program,
  • Providing a scholarship for a participant, or
  • Providing in-kind donations,eg, contribute to program costs, sponsor accommodation or catering, administration or publications.

An information session will be held on Wednesday, December 11, from 5:00pm at the South Burnett Enterprise Centre, 6 Cornish Street, Kingaroy.

  • For more information, contact Georgie Somerset by email, visit the Red Earth Community Foundation website or phone (07) 4168-0246.

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