Dynamic Regional Network Supports Local Communities

A dynamic group of agency stakeholders gathered in the Western Downs region with the aim of supporting and connecting people and organisations that have an interest and passion for maintaining and/or improving the well being of the people in the Western Downs region.

The Western Downs Communities Network (WDCN) lead network partners include RHealth, Western Downs Regional Council, Department of Communities, Spiritus and Queensland Health.

The Network established in 2009 through funding provided by the Toowoomba & Darling Downs Partnership Council (TaDDPC). This work was undertaken within the existing capacity of partner agencies and local community members.

The Network welcomed Natalie Drake-Brockman who commenced as the part time Western Downs Communities Network Coordinator in August 2010. The Coordinator role was also made possible through the acquisition of further funding from TaDDPC.

The Network believes a multi-strategic approach is required to reduce the incidence of chronic disease. It has been identified through good evidence that a range of interventions are more effective in preventing chronic disease and in promoting health and wellbeing.

The most effective health promotion strategies are those that address the individual, social and environmental determinants of health. This approach incorporates many sections of the community, for example, transport, urban planning, environment, sport and recreation, education, health and welfare.

From l to r: Trish Leddington-Hill (RHealth), Danny Nearhos (Queensland Government - Department of Communities (Sport & Recreation)), Natalie Drake-Brockman (Network Coordinator) & Carollee Murphy (Western Downs Regional Council) Note: not all Network reference group representatives pictured.

The Network has been involved with the following activities to date:

Community Forum

In March 2010, 60 agencies/community members provided input and identified a number of opportunities for action to promote health and wellbeing in the Region. There are now over 150 network members across the whole region on the communications database.

WDCN Meetings

Ongoing coordination of regular regional Network meetings (inviting all 150 network members) to identify local community needs including sector capacity building, infrastructure and services. The Network also aims to have representation at local Interagency meetings.

Community Heart Beat Fund

$25,000 was made available as a part of the TaDDPC funding package. This allowed the Network to develop a funding program for eligible capacity building projects that promote healthy living, well being and community cohesion and could be delivered to their respective communities before 31 May 2011. Submissions closed on Thursday 30 September 2010.

Capacity Building Training

Planning is underway to introduce training for all Not For Profit (NFP) organisations to arm their staff with the tools to successfully attract public and private sector funding and manage community projects.

Community members are encouraged to email Natalie Drake-Brockman, Western Downs Communities Coordinator at [email protected] if they would like to communicate a need in their locality

Natalie Drake-Brockman

Western Downs Communities Network (WDCN) Coordinator

[email protected] Ph 0401 293 841

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