GIVING a voice to the community is a key issue for Nambucca Labor Advisor Susan Jenvey, who is running for mayor and councilor in the upcoming local elections on December 4.
This can be supported, Cr Jenvey said, by re-establishing a neighborhood center in Nambucca and placing more emphasis on community development.
“I understand that neighborhood centers are an easy entry point for people to access information and community services.
“These are places where people, who have been hurt by a system that can be harsh, find a way to achieve better results for themselves by connecting with others who have also experienced similar difficulties.
“There is support and healing about it.
“The value of neighborhood centers lies in the fact that they are based on concepts of social justice and equality.
“These include aspects of social life related to gender, race, environment; and situations where relationships are unequal between individuals, groups and organizations.
Cr Jenvey said that neighborhood centers can be a place of acceptance within the community.
“Since we don’t all have what we need to live well, maybe these are places where people can realize what it means to distribute electricity more equitably, even if it does. it is simply access to free bread, the use of a laptop, seeing that someone is okay, or a domestic violence referral.
“Restoring a neighborhood center is important in the Nambucca region. “
Despite rising house prices and changing demographics, Cr Jenvey said that there are still significant and persistent levels of disadvantage in the community of Nambucca.
“Having a grassroots organization like a neighborhood center means you can try to find solutions to your own problems.
“It’s real community development. “
Cr Jenvey said there were examples across the neighboring LGAs of neighborhood centers being used effectively to support the community.
“If we look at our neighboring regional councils, we see that the Bellingen council has established district centers on land owned by the council in Bellingen and Urunga.
“In Coffs Harbor, the entire community village is on council land.
“So the connection to the Council is a starting point to re-establish a neighborhood center. “
Cr Jenvey also advocates the reestablishment of a community development officer position for the region.
“On other community policies, against my strong opposition, the last Council cut resources from the post.
“The board should restore this position, as they have a leadership role to play among NGOs in the community sector, as well as fueling the chain to lobby on behalf of these organizations for strategic planning and government funding.
“Loneliness is also a pandemic costing all communities billions of dollars.
“Often the most advantaged are funded for the best connections, rather than funding the most disadvantaged.
“If we want to grow and continue to focus on real estate, we need neighborhood centers to make sure people don’t miss a thing.
“The council has an important role to play in the well-being of the community and it is an inclusive program that I am happy to continue.”
By Andrea FERRARI