If the past couple of years have taught us anything, it’s that community means everything, whether on a personal level or in the wider fabric of society – and fostering vibrant, connected communities is essential to daily life for just about everyone!
This was the ethos behind Perth-based initiative, Town Team Movement, a non-profit organisation that empowers communities to create better places to live, work and connect and make positive change in their neighbourhoods. Any member of the community can establish their own Town Team in their local town or suburb and act to regenerate the fabric of their neighbourhoods, in the process creating better places where we live, and encourage community-led placemaking.
Since 2019, RAC has been the Principal Partner of Town Team Movement, and through the Connecting Communities Fund, RAC has supported more than 40 individual Town Teams with over$230,000 of funding committed.
With over 80 Town Teams now in WA, these groups are made up of local people and businesses with a shared mindset to create a better vision for their community through enhancing public spaces and hosting local community events. It was part of RAC’s Regional Development Pilot, assisting wheatbelt and south-west regions to revitalise spaces to help connect communities, which has so far supported eight Town Teams in these regions.
Perth Is OK! had the opportunity to experience community-led placemaking at its best and witness the Ignite Wicky’s Town Team (pictured below) first community project come to life at the inaugural Wickepin Harvest festival. It was the first event of its kind in the Wheatbelt town Wickepin, since town shows occurred over 30 years ago. The event saw almost one thousand locals and visitors from neighbouring towns enjoy a celebration of the regions rich history and culture.
The day was packed to the rafters with fun for kids both big and small, including an art competition, sheaf and boot tossing , blade sheep shearing, market stalls, blow-up castles, animal petting zoos, live music, vintage car shows, second hand clothing sales, food trucks, a couple of small bars, and our (weirdly) personal favourite – antique rope making:
It’s pretty special to see remote, smaller communities come together on larger scale events like this, and just walking around seeing smiling faces, and having a few yarns with proud locals is a good day out anyway you look at it. It couldn’t have happened without a host of local volunteers bringing the festival to life, in the process boosting local pride and most importantly, establishing better connections for the community.
If you’re interested in starting a Town Team or keen to join a local group, head to the Town Team Movement Website where you’ll find teams as far north as Broome, south around Esperance and Albany, and throughout the Perth metro.