Every Child Central Queensland is an ambitious initiative seeking to make long term systemic change to a range of complex issues facing the children of Central Queensland.
Rosemary Brown is the Director of Operations at Every Child CQ, and spoke at the QCOSS Changing Lives, Changing Communities event in Rockhampton in August.
Rosemary worked as a Behaviour Change Specialist before moving to Rockhampton in early 2017 to take on the role, and has extensive experience working with individuals, families and communities across New Zealand and Australia.
As a member of the Capricornia Leadership Group, Rosemary spoke to those in attendance about her work in place-based initiatives, and some lessons learnt along the way.
She says place-based approaches present an opportunity for people in a community to get involved in addressing intrinsic local issues. Their passion, experience and different ways of understanding can bring about new approaches to old ideas, and a will to try them out.
“Communities are ready to be involved, not just consulted,” she says.
“Giving power to the community requires a big mind-set shift by both government and service providers. This is not going to happen overnight and will require a level of independent facilitation to ensure protecting against the power imbalance that has existed for many years.”
In order to shift toward stronger and more resilient communities, Rosemary says communities need to take the opportunity to seize this ownership, and begin to do things differently to address some of the ‘wicked’ issues local communities face.
Place-based work sets a stage for government funding to help build stronger and more resilient communities. In moving place-based initiatives forward, a different balance of responsibility for addressing and preventing issues will occur.
“(These) initiatives serve to reduce need and therefore this will support stabilising the government spend on local issues,” she says.
“Government still needs to be responsible for supporting communities needs and there is great opportunity for them to do this in a more community-informed model.”
Being a part of the Capricornia Leadership Group has allowed Rosemary to connect with like-minded people. She says the Strengthening Our Place project bring together different people from different areas to work in a more collaborative way, which is key to her role with Every Child CQ.
“It has also offered opportunity for me to be involved at a local level in the design and planning of a local place based initiative,” she says.
“The environment supporting Strengthening Our Place has cultivated and developed my perceptions and learning regarding the community in which I live and work. Going forward this will be an asset … and will hopefully open doors to further opportunities for collective place-based work.”