Community Circles Wingecarribee gets underway

27 April, 2023Posted in: Community

People sitting around fire pit in rural setting at dusk

New in town? Feeling left out and disconnected? Or would you just like to build a supportive local network?  Find endless possibilities for making meaningful connections through Community Circles Wingecarribee. Check the daily Facebook feed for circles near you, from catching up for a few laughs pub-singing, to finding solace at a Death Café.

Local resident Rose is coordinating the new initiative to strengthen local community connections, with the support of Council. “A community circle can come together around any common interest,” Rose says. “By taking part, you can find a deep sense of belonging and live a richer life.”

As the Community Circles Connector, Rose keeps in touch with what people in the community need and turns what’s missing into something with meaning and purpose they can be part of. The idea can be simple and the circle can be small. It’s the inclusivity that counts. “Whatever we do, we make sure it’s accessible for everyone to join in,” Rose says. One of her first shout-outs was for anyone keen for a few laughs, singing at the pub. “200 people said ‘I’m in’ so now we’ll keep that group going with a local songwriter and musician.”

Locals from all walks of life have been eager to do their part to help connect their community. From retired professionals to mental health support workers, Council workers and stay-at-home mums, the initiative has a range of volunteers involved.

“Once they’ve undertaken Community Circles training, their involvement is so valuable,” Rose says. “We have a lawyer wanting to volunteer advice, a local Dad is co-facilitating a Disability Supported social group, and at the Death Café gathering a grief counsellor comes along to chat about ways of dealing with grief through art. People appreciate the opportunity to connect over a cuppa and talk openly about preparing for dying or dealing with loss and how to get on with the rest of their lives, in a safe, supportive space.”

WSC is the first Council to have backed the Community Circles pilot within its LGA, with an investment of $20,000. This amount has been matched by the Touched by Olivia charity, dedicated to bridging the gaps and breaking down barriers to connection in our communities. “We’ve been working very closely with our villages and share in the priority they place on creating ways to strengthen community circles,” says Council’s Coordinator Community Development, Corinne Buxton. “Together with the NSW State Government and Touched by Olivia team, we want to help local communities build capacity for staying connected in inclusive ways, through this simple initiative.”

Organisations such as Creative Space, Meals on Wheels, Pop-In, and Wingecarribee Aboriginal Community Centre, Highlands Community Centre are also involved.

Packed with activities run by locals, for locals, the Community Circles Wingecarribee Facebook also posts practical free services such as men’s health checks, stress and trauma clinics, and more. Whatever connecting looks like for you, Community Circles Wingecarribee can open the door. Find out what’s on near you by checking in regularly with Community Circles Wingecarribee on Facebook.

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