Building social resilience in Ballina

Michelle Teece and Dave Harmon. Photo supplied.

A unique partnership to address important social issues in Ballina has formed with local community service provider Momentum Collective becoming a business partner with the Rotary Club of Ballina-on-Richmond.

The partnership took shape during last year’s ‘Say No to Domestic Violence Walk’ in Ballina.

Dave Harmon, Ballina-on-Richmond Rotary President, says his club has a long-standing commitment to education and awareness-raising on domestic and family violence.

A good fit

‘In the lead up to last year’s event calling for an end to domestic violence, I became aware of the work being done in Ballina by Momentum Collective. Our Rotary club donated funding to the Ballina women’s refuge and Momentum is now operating the refuge so it is a good fit,’ said Dave.

‘Domestic violence is our main project but we are also keen to focus on mental health and other important social issues. A proposal I recently submitted for our district, which runs from the Gold Coast to Goondiwindi, to focus on domestic violence has been approved. We hope to have over 60 clubs participating in the “Say no to violence” walks next year.’

A collaboration to pay it forward

Michelle Teece is Momentum Collective’s Community Support Manager in Ballina. Michelle says the partnership with Rotary also includes a collaboration to ‘pay it forward’ in 2020 with meals being supplied to over 1500 individuals and families in need in the local community.

‘We kept in contact after the walk last year and we have since partnered on a project working with a local restaurant to make sure people in the community who might be struggling could access a meal,’ Michelle says.

‘We have a strong connection because we all want to see an end to domestic and family violence and the damage it does in our community. We are both also committed to supporting people in Ballina who experience hardship. That is why we looked at Momentum becoming a Rotary business partner.’

Dave says Rotary is in a good position to take up social issues with a wide cross-section of the community involved in the Club. ‘A lot of networking happens across the community through Rotary. We are involved in projects like drought relief and homelessness,’ he said.

A really good barometer

‘Rotary is a really good barometer for all of these social issues. Our Club really tries to get a feel for what is happening in town and response to those needs.’

Partnerships between community organisations help build long term resilience in local communities according to Michelle. ‘Having a connection to your local community is one of the most important things you can do to make sure you are addressing the issues impacting people on the ground. This is something we have in common with the Ballina-on-Richmond Rotary Club – they are forward-thinking and well connected.’

Increased Club membership

Speaking out on social issues has raised the profile of the Club in Ballina and increased membership. ‘Since we took on domestic and family violence as a major project about 18 months ago it has affected our club’s profile,’ said Dave. ‘We are now more connected with other community groups and several people have joined because of what we are doing on social issues.

‘Momentum Collective is a great fit with our club because we are in there for the same reasons. We can work together to make a difference and that is what it is all about. If we can join forces to bring about change that is a good thing.’

Rotary connects people to come together and do good in their community Ballina on Richmond meets first three Monday evenings of the month, 6 pm at the Ballina RSL. 

Contact Dave Harmon President on 0401 956 996 for any enquiries.

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