warrnambool foreshore boardwalk.jpg
Friday, 13 March 2015 13:11

Region vies for $1m national prize

Regional leaders will travel to Sydney next week in the hope of returning $1 million richer.

Members of the Great South Coast Beyond the Bell initiative will attend a ceremony at Kirribilli House on Wednesday during which the Governor General will announce the winner of a philanthropic fund valued at up to $1 million.

Beyond the Bell – a community-wide effort to boost the region's below par education attainment rates – is one of 11 finalists from across Australia vying for the $1 million 'The Search' fund.

Great South Coast Executive Officer Karen Foster and South West LLEN Chair Mike Holland will attend the Sydney event on behalf of the region.

Mike Holland said the Beyond the Bell initiative was a revolutionary approach to solving a very complex social problem.

"Unfortunately, for a variety of complex social and cultural reasons, our young people are missing out," Mr Holland said.

"The Beyond the Bell project brings our entire community to work together over many years to achieve inter-generational change."

The Search initiative is convened by the Centre for Social Impact, which aims to develop the capacity of communities in the early stages of implementing the "Collective Impact" framework.

This framework is an innovative approach to tackling complex social challenges, including such issues as education attainment, multi-generational unemployment, homelessness, crime and poverty.

Centre for Social Impact CEO Andrew Young said The Search initiative was driven by the failure of current approaches to achieve significant social change in Australia.

"Tackling complex social problems requires a fundamental mindset shift and collective impact requires an absolute commitment to doing things different through strategic and disciplined collaboration across all parts of the community," Dr Young said.

"The 11 shortlisted communities exemplify this way of thinking and leading."

The Search, which was launched in June 2014, attracted 49 Expressions of Interest from communities across Australia.

It is supported by the Westpac Foundation, Results Leadership Group (Australia and USA), Social Solutions Group (USA), Blackbaud Pacific, Social Ventures Australia, Australian Communities foundation and the Centre ofr Social Impact.

If successful, Ms Foster said the Great South Coast Group would use the funds to deliver six Local Action Plans – one for each of the Great South Coast member municipalities – and one overarching regional strategy.

"Our team of passionate volunteers has been toiling on this for nearly three years," Ms Foster said.

"We are at the point where local communities have each identified issues and actions specific to them.

"Our next step is to find the resources to enable us to roll up our sleeves and get stuck into the 'doing'.

"To be selected for The Search fund would be an enormous boost for our region and would help lay the foundations for a better future for our young people."

The Search winner will be announced at Kirribilli House in Sydney on Wednesday afternoon.



Media information:

Beyond the Bell interim Chair Vicky Mason, 0466 778 070
Great South Coast Executive Officer Karen Foster, 0407 312 836

eNewsletter Signup

Sign up to receive our monthly email newsletter, In Focus.

supporterlogo 01 supporterlogo 03 supporterlogo 05 supporterlogo 07 supporterlogo 09 supporterlogo 11