Strength in numbers for resilience forum in Bendigo

A COMMUNITY’S ability to respond to and recover from difficulties is developed long before challenges arise.

“Building resilience can simply be about building good healthy connections,” said Karen Corr, of Make A Change Australia. 

“It’s so important, but we don’t often focus on the positive ripple effect of this in our communities.”

Building resilience is at the core of a free public event Ms Corr has organised for next week at the Engine Room at Bendigo.

Her intention is to bring all sectors of the community together to connect and share ideas.

The program features a number of speakers, and is part of a broader initiative encouraging the city’s residents to think outside the square. 

Keith Sutherland, who helped raise more than $400,000 for the Bendigo bushfire recovery group following the Black Saturday fires of 2009, will be the event’s master of ceremonies. 

“Bendigo has become a more resilient city over the last 20 years because there is a more coordinated approach to all sorts of issues,” Mr Sutherland said. 

Janet Phillips, of the Foundation for Rural and Regional Renewal, concurred.

She said community organisations working together was vital, not only in case of disaster, but in everyday life.

“We want to be ready for anything that happens,” Ms Phillips said.

The Foundation for Rural and Regional Renewal is a not-for-profit granting body, which aims to connect or re-connect sectors of the community.

In his work with Golden City Support Services, Ian McLean said there was a focus on the individual. 

The organisation helps people to develop their own resources to be able to handle the unexpected, to attempt new things and seek new experiences. 

“It takes a certain bit of resilience to give things a go,” Mr McLean said. 

He made the observation that confidence and resilience go hand-in-hand.

With every successful new experience, Mr McLean said people gained confidence.

In challenging times, he said it was important people received encouragement. 

“Often any of us, with just a little bit of support, can go through new and sometimes hard experiences better than we can on our own,” Mr McLean said. 

Ramp Up Resilience is the first of three Outside the Square events, as part of a city-wide initiative to foster positive change.

The session is scheduled from 6.30pm - 9.30pm on April 27 at 58 View Street, Bendigo. 

Registrations are essential, and can be made at

Open dialogue key to progress

RESILIENCE, to Ruby Mae Baker, means getting up and starting again, even if you feel like there’s not much left to do or you don’t have any energy left. 

“It’s about the hope of what things can be,” the Bendigo resident said. 

The 19-year-old devotes much of her time to the Bendigo community, and is particularly involved in youth initiatives. 

She is a member of the FReeZA committee, Yo Bendigo, the City of Greater Bendigo Youth Action Group, and the 45 Mundy Youth Reference Group. 

Through her involvement in community broadcaster Phoenix FM’s The Gay Agenda program, and the newly launched Ambedo Magazine, she hopes to promote conversation about issues pertinent to the Bendigo community. 

Miss Baker believes open communication is critical to building a community’s capacity to respond positively to change and challenges.  

“It’s about listening to the other person, way before you start speaking,” she said.