It all started in September 2021, when Margaret Berman called her friend Salome Swan, a community support worker in mental health and family wellbeing, for help in filling out a grant application. Salome casually mentioned that she would love to visit the facility at Ivory’s Rock ‘one day’.
Margaret invited Salome to come out for a tour of the property. Salome asked if she could bring some colleagues from other support agencies, who then invited some more, and before we knew it, we were hosting 12 representatives from seven different care agencies. Here we all are (see photo above) in the courtyard at Daya’s after a couple of inspiring hours of conversation and networking, topped off by a delicious lunch prepared by Michael and Magali.
It was a great day! Being in a room full of dedicated professionals from different support fields with one thing in common – helping people in need. Our guests could see the potential of collaborations of this kind, and encouraged us to do it again, as they wanted to invite more people from within their community service networks.
Salome described Ivory’s Rock as a little known “hidden jewel” that would be ideal for workshops and wellbeing retreats. So we set a date for the follow-up on Monday 29 November at the conference hall, and information was distributed throughout the community support agency networks in Ipswich.
In the meantime, Andrew Cummings, the Principal of Peak Crossing State School (a passionate supporter of the local community) got wind of it and said he would love to take part. So we offered him the job of MC, and a colourful MC he was! Andrew also secured the services (pro bono) of Tricia Stinson, a colleague and professional leadership coach, to facilitate the program.
Guests were graciously welcomed on the verandah of the conference hall by our own Lee Barnasson and Paul Symons, and ushered in by our happy troupe of volunteers.
Joy Winnel (IRF Board chair) spoke about the evolution of Ivory’s Rock from cattle and pig farms to a world class conference facility and our multiple community initiatives and events, closing with a brief outline of the Peace Education Program (PEP) as a potential resource for organisations who might be interested. Kitty attended the PEP table after the event, and had a number of interested enquiries.
Viviam Aliaga-Castro touchingly recounted her journey, coming to Australia as a refugee from Chile, with an irresistible desire to help others, and her realisation of this through her not-for-profit organisation “Creative Living Supports”. Viviam went on to obtain her Facilitator’s licence for the Peace Education Program.
Jenny Bevan from 'Recovery Plus Support' embraced the spirit of the day and took it upon herself to arrange the 'Xmas Giving Tree', raffles to support the 'Ipswich Food Barn' (see below), a 'Dignity Plus' collection of personal items for homeless women, a lucky door prize, numerous raffles, and a collection point for people to bring items for people in need.
The collection point was overflowing by the end! Woolworths Supermarkets donated hundreds of dollars’ worth of food to St Vincent de Paul, plus vouchers for the raffle prizes. Peak Organics donated a box of organic goodies as a raffle prize.
In all, we hosted forty guests from twenty organisations including home nursing, youth support, suicide prevention, emergency housing, indigenous justice support, disability services, parenting, family support, refugee advocacy and mental health services.
The discovery, through Tricia’s skilled facilitation, of individual reasons for working towards our goals each day, was revealing. It was a dynamic and productive morning, with much sharing of information and ideas on how we could use our collective energies to better help each other and our communities. Feedback forms indicated much enthusiasm for continuing to build on what was started.
The spectacular spread from local caterer 'Lovett' at Kalbar finished the day, much of which was donated to a local homeless charity event being held in Ipswich that night.
Later, it was on to the 'Ipswich Food Barn' to deliver $408 in cash raised in the raffles. The Food Barn (a not-for-profit organisation) provides food for 9,500 low income and homeless people every week.
Needless to say, the welcome donation and the giving gesture itself, created a fitting end to a meeting of the hearts and minds of inspired people wanting to make a small difference in the world.
Stay tuned for our next adventures in 2022!