Grass roots governance

Skills, Training, Engagement & Practical Support
Murrindindi, Vic - $8,000

Governance in community groups requires dedication and often calls for up-skilling and constant learning and development. The boards of many grass-roots community groups in the Shires of Murrindindi are now better placed to understand their governance responsibilities and accountabilities, and to make real differences in their communities with this newly acquired knowledge.

The Continuing Education and Arts Centre of Alexandra (CEACA) was awarded funding through the STEPS program to deliver training and support sessions for 60 community members, representing at least 13 different community groups.

The sessions were delivered by Megan Buntine at MJB Consulting, and formed Stage 1 of the ‘Grass Roots Governance’ program. A great variety of groups were represented, from Progress Associations to Childcare Centres, an Olive Grower’s Association, an Aquatic Centre, a Men’s Shed, a Rotary Club and more. To increase the reach of the training and ensure value for money, smaller groups were paired up for some sessions, and some were open to any community groups in the community, which had the added benefit of creating new connections between groups.

The participants agreed that the sessions were well organised and that they gained a lot from attending.

“It made us more aware of the Rules and Regulations and our various obligations to the Association,” said Willie Cureton, Secretary of the Buxton Progress Association.

“The importance of planning was emphasised as well as the flow on to good governance practice, compliance, and risk management."

Kevin Whithear, President of the Goulburn Strathbogie Olive Growers Association Inc., stated that, "The session provided good interactivity with the facilitator so that each of us was involved and able to contribute our own experiences in ‘brain-storming’ sessions on key elements of governance.” 

Kinglake Ranges Children's Centre Board of Management said that the participants from their organisation found the ‘unpacking’ of the term governance very advantageous to their understanding of the various ‘parts’ involved in obtaining good governance. 

Steve Joblin, President of the King Parrot Creek Environment Group, said they are now taking steps to address the areas they need to focus on as they build their identity within the Flowerdale region. “The session was very informative and adaptive to our needs, and although we all thought we had done well in setting up our particular group, we came away with some very clear tasks to attend to.”

As a result of the training, community groups in the Shire will be strengthened and more confident in their governance roles, and a larger pool of community members will have the skills required to develop and participate in community activities and projects.