[Image: Biamanga/Mumbulla Mountain | © NSW National Parks Service]
One of the projects that has kept me going through the later stages of the pandemic is some long-term strategy work that I have been helping the Mumbulla Community Foundation with.
Based in the Bega Valley on the stunningly beautiful Far South Coast of New South Wales, the Mumbulla Community Foundation has spent more than two decades helping a broad range of community organisations, groups and individuals improve the quality of life in the region.
In 2021, the Foundation decided to take a step back from its day-to-day activities and explore what kind of impact it could have on the communities of the region over the next 20 years.
To do this, they needed to first take a proper look at the longer-term challenges facing the region – particularly in the aftermath of the Black Summer Fires – whilst also making sure they had as clear an understanding as possible of the myriad of organisations already operating locally. Armed with this knowledge, they then set about identifying where they could have the greatest long-term impact for the community, working in tandem with other like-minded organisations.
This work was both fascinating and challenging. In my chosen line of work I'm privileged to be able to help organisations both large & small, in fact I actively seek out this size discrepancy as I always find ideas that Davids can learn from Goliaths, and vice versa.
With Mumbulla, it struck me once again how those closest to the issue almost always have the greatest insight into what is most likely to work when trying to drive positive change. In this instance, this insight was further amplified by the diverse set of skillsets present on their Board – a diversity that is often forced on regional organisations due to their restricted populations, but more often than not leads to some really powerful collective viewpoints that other less diverse Boards would do well to listen to.
On a personal note, working with the Mumbulla Community Foundation was key to retaining at least some semblance of sanity through the various COVID-enforced lockdowns of the last 18 months.
Whilst completed almost entirely online, diving deep into the challenge of how to support the communities of the Bega Valley allowed me to connect with a broad range of smart, passionate and committed individuals – and stretch the little grey cells outside of the daily Everest that home schooling gradually became!
The work referred to in this blog post was generously funded by the Paul Ramsay Foundation and the Foundation for Rural & Regional Renewal (FRRR). It was also supported by the Bega Valley Shire Council and Community Foundations Australia.