Our Town Funding Announcement
Posted 15 December 2020
When the Our Town initiative began over two years ago the intention was to provide long term funding and wrap around support to two regional/rural communities to develop community led responses to mental health.
Our Town was envisaged to be a demonstration of what can happen when people are given the resources they need, both financial and otherwise, to overcome a challenge that is meaningful to them, rather than responding to a challenge defined by the funder. Good mental health and the things that can impact this is a complex web, and we wanted to show what could be achieved when people were given the time, support and agency to develop solutions that work for them
– Stacey Thomas, Former CEO Fay Fuller Foundation
What happened was so much bigger than that. Over the past year we have seen all of the communities that make up Our Town, Berri, Ceduna/ Far West, Cummins, Kangaroo Island, Kimba and the Mid Murray Region embark on a journey of discovery. As they created safe spaces for honest and open discussions about mental health and wellbeing these towns began to reflect on what were the true, underlying challenges facing their communities. Supported by their Town Coaches (from The Australian Centre for Social Innovation), towns used these insights to create tailored responses to strengthen community and create regenerative responses to mental health.
Building the capability of people in each of the communities ensures those skills now remain in the community. Learning by doing over eight months served to really embed that knowledge and it shows in the plans that have been produced
– Euan Black, Senior Social Innovator TACSI
The plans produced by the towns were of such high calibre that the Fay Fuller Foundation Board made the decision to go as far as they could, providing funding for an extra community for the ten-years in addition to bridging support funding for Berri and the Mid Murray region. This bridging funding will continue the momentum in these towns as we seek funding partners to assist them in realising their vision for mental health and wellbeing for their communities. To learn more about all of the Towns and the Our Town initiative visit the Our Town website.
Next year will kick off the ten-year partnership where the towns will design, develop and implement community determined responses to mental health. The ten-year promise guarantees towns the time to take on the big challenges and risks, by testing novel ideas with their communities, reflecting, learning and growing together.
This funding is really important for our community because it gives us the opportunity to make change at our own pace. There is nothing else like Our Town – it allows our community the time and space to heal, find their voice and move forward
– Sandra Taylor, Lead, Our Town Ceduna/ Far West