This week, Grampians Central West Waste & Resource Recovery Group ran its first Can Do Communities workshop at Sovereign Hill’s Narmbool, near Ballarat.
The group has been working with Corina and Jo from Good for the Hood – they created the War on Waste toolkit for the ABC’s War on Waste – to help community groups to achieve their goals and build their capacity for change through the prism of waste and recycling.
This workshop was a first for the group and it hopes to run more of these across the Grampians region in the future. About 70 enthusiastic community members and groups attended the first workshop.
The group welcomed a special guest as MC for the day – good friend Costa Georgiadis from ABC’s Gardening Australia – who added a bit of spark and boundless energy to the proceedings.
So, why do a workshop like this? The reality is that, as a small organisation, Grampians Central West Waste & Resource Recovery Group cannot do everything across, what is, a very large region.
That means it needs its amazing communities to get involved – and some of them are already doing just that – but they may need a bit of help.
The group is aiming to:
- Empower the community with tools and skills to effectively drive community waste management projects
- Inspire and reinvigorate existing community groups
- Facilitate collaboration across the groups
- Encourage the development of new campaigns across the region
Challenges that community groups face include how to create a cut-through message in a world where there is so much going on.
Importantly, groups need to be engaging and – because we are talking waste and possibly some other sustainability issues – need to have a hook that will get others in their community involved.
How can community groups continue to make these activities fun and engaging, without burning out the volunteers needed to keep things going? After all, these people are our champions in the community.
Participants also spent time on social media, learning how it can be an effective tool for keeping the community engaged. The group is also keen to see community groups keep in touch with each other and share their experiences, good and bad. To help with this, there is now a Can Do Communities Facebook page.
The group also wants to be able to measure some of the fantastic work that communities and volunteers do in the waste space – whether volunteering at op shops, picking up litter, composting in a community garden or picking up newspapers. This all adds up and is an important part of our waste and recycling system.