Large windfall for Nambucca Valley goes 'hand in hand' with harnessing community spirit

Trudi Hayes, Paul Sekfy, Teresa Boorer.
Trudi Hayes, Paul Sekfy, Teresa Boorer.

On Tuesday word came through that the Nambucca Valley has been chosen as one of three New South Wales communities to participate in the Investing in Rural Community Futures (IRCF) program, which focuses on strengthening local not-for-profits, and in turn, rural communities.

Community groups in Nambucca Valley will, in addition to being able to access a range of support to increase the capacity of local not-for-profits, be able to apply for $950,000 in grants.

"It's a victory for the Nambucca Valley and some very welcome news," one of the application's drivers, Paul Sekfy said.

It's a victory for the Nambucca Valley and some very welcome news.

Paul Sekfy

IRCF is a joint initiative of the Foundation for Rural & Regional Renewal (FRRR) and the Vincent Fairfax Family Foundation. It is a funding initiative that takes a place-based approach to granting and encourages the not-for-profit sector to work collaboratively within the community for impact.

"Lifetime Connect took the lead on the community's application, and they had whole of community development in mind with the support of many not-for-profit community leaders in the Valley," IRCF Program Manager, Alli Mudford said.

"The not-for-profit groups in the Nambucca Valley have momentum and want to see a change. IRCF is a catalyst for this to happen. It's an absolute tragedy that recent bushfires have hit; it really has brought to light the vital role that not-for-profit community groups can play in pulling everyone together.

Paul said he was astounded at the community's proactive response to the fires and would love to be able to continue harnessing that 'togetherness'.

"IRCF will provide an opportunity to work together after the fires, bring the Valley together as one, and underpin the foundations for whole of community capacity building." - Paul Sekfy

Over the coming six months, FRRR will work closely with Nambucca Valley not-for-profits to support them to develop a capacity plan unique to their situation, to allocate resources, and to learn and share what makes communities thrive and how locally-led solutions are applied.

"I know we are ready to reach our full potential as a community and I want to be part of this amazing opportunity to build the capacity of this Valley for the journey there. It first comes with believing we all can get there together!" another of the application's protagonists, Trudi Hayes, said.

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