Muswellbrook Shire Council is one of the six councils awarded a share of more than $400,000 through the inaugural round of the NSW Government’s Social Cohesion Grants to support projects aimed at rebuilding, reconnecting and strengthening communities.
Council has received almost $60,000 to implement a joint project with Wanaruah Local Aboriginal Land Council – Building Community Cohesion by Connecting to Local Aboriginal Languages – to be hosted by Aunty Sharon Edgar-Jones.
Aunty Jean Hands, Chairperson of Wanaruah Local Aboriginal Land Council said the land council are very pleased to be a partner in a project which will have a positive impact on the community across the whole Upper Hunter.
Aunty Sharon said that the people who take part in the classes will be looking to restore their sense of identity and belonging and strengthen and continue the cultural connection to each other and country.
“I’m hoping that each participant will develop the confidence to step into the language sharing space, either at home or in public, and start using the language at every opportunity. It would be deadly to hear it every day – even if it just folks spontaneously greeting each other as they walk down the street with “anyiku ngaa – what’s up”” Aunty Sharon said.
In announcing the grants, Minister for Local Government Wendy Tuckerman said councils were best placed to deliver social cohesion projects as they are the level of government most involved in grassroots community issues.
“Local councils are well placed to design and implement initiatives that build stronger, more resilient, and cohesive communities. Councils can embed principles of social cohesion across various areas – from strategy and planning to civic engagement, tracking and monitoring”, she said.
Through the new grants, the NSW Government aims to support local groups and the wider community to emerge from recent challenges, by delivering direct support to build a brighter, more connected future
“The grant recipients have targeted programs that are designed to support people, to connect with each other, and to build resilience so that closer-knit communities can endure any future challenges they may encounter,” Mrs Tuckerman said.
Minister for Multiculturalism and Minister for Seniors Mark Coure said when governments work collaboratively with councils, they can achieve greater community outcomes.
“These six councils will deliver programs with organisations that strengthen bonds between people, reduce social isolation, tackle racism and build community resilience,” Mr Coure said.
“Each community is unique and made up of people from all walks of life, and local organisations and councils understand the needs of these people best.”
Media release courtesy of Muswellbrook Shire Council.
Image: Reconciliation Mural, Muswellbrook, designed by George Anderson. George was lead artist with Les Elvin, Brad Franks and John Neville assisting artists. Photo Anna Rankmore.