V4i remains strongly committed to encouraging active participation in our democracy. We ‘Do Politics Differently’ in Indi and the number of people interested in joining this very positive movement continues to grow. The V4i grass roots, community driven model is a respectful, values based approach to politics and a welcome alternative to the negative, adversarial style of politics we commonly see.
So many citizens are rejecting this ‘old power’ and the ‘Indi Connects’ workshop held on the 5 October at the Oxley Shire Hall was a demonstration of ‘new power’ democracy in action.
Indi Connects was a purposeful event, attended by over 120 people who spent the day connecting with others to actively plan ways to take responsibility for the type of communities we live in. V4i is encouraged by the fact that so many participants are openly proud to be involved with this grass roots movement and many expressed a sense that Indi is well on its way to becoming the most politically engaged electorate in Australia.
V4i was very fortunate to have Peter Kenyon travel all the way from Kalamunda in WA to be guest MC for this workshop. Peter describes himself as a ‘social capitalist and community enthusiast’. He is a founder and current director of an organisation called the Bank of Ideas https://bankofideas.com.au/
Peter uses stories from his extensive work around the world where he has assisted communities to identify and build on strengths and assets to create change and renewal. He has followed the story of V4i and said that in his opinion the movement is one of the most exciting and positive examples of participatory democracy that he knows of. Click on this link to view Peter’s talk at the workshop https://youtu.be/4qMFWyChs2M
Three Indi based community groups were showcased on the day. Representatives from these groups each told stories about how their communities had activated/mobilised to solve issues and/or create change.
Norma Pearce, volunteer coordinator of the of Tolmie TOAST program (Tolmie Offers A Seat to Town), spoke about how the inspirational Tolmie community got organised and set up a local car-pooling system to assist residents to get to their nearest town centre, Mansfield. This action was designed to overcome social isolation and a lack of public transport and in their area. Click on this link to view Norma’s talk at the workshop https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wJlK5lTLyF8
Lauriston Muirhead of WATCH (Wodonga Albury Towards Climate Health) spoke to us about their group’s initiatives to raise awareness of our climate crisis. Click on this link to view Lauriston’s talk at the workshop https://youtu.be/ReUPtST6buc
Sally Gamble from Tomorrow Today, Benalla’s own philanthropic foundation, spoke about the PEEP program (Parents Early Education Partnership) PEEP targets Early Childhood and parents as part of the overall Education Benalla initiative Tomorrow Today Foundation works collaboratively across the whole community to improve educational outcomes for Benalla’s young people. Click on this link to view Sally’s talk at the workshop https://youtu.be/zOyxjpazdTE
Federal member for Indi, Helen Haines was the next guest speaker and she outlined the role of her office in supporting community led action. Helen introduced her staff to the community and spoke about the best ways to effectively engage with your local MP’s and some of the mechanisms for change that are available.
Results from Helen’s community consultation throughout the 2019 election campaign, where constituents identified the top ten issues of highest priority, were then used to form the basis of facilitated group discussions to develop action plans. Click on this link to view Helen’s talk at the workshop. https://youtu.be/1LeOWDut5YY
Participants left the day feeling inspired and motivated and with a clearer idea of how they could connect with others to help address these issues and build on what has already been achieved in Indi. By the end of the day, existing connections were built on and strengthened and new ones were developed – people were excited by what was possible through collaboration.
V4i would like to thank all who participated for their ongoing commitment to our local communities and for their willingness to ‘roll their sleeves up’ and respond to individual and collective calls to action and we encourage everyone in Indi to get involved.