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Change campaigners enrich communities

FIVE finalists have been announced in a new Wesley Mission Brisbane initiative, Campaign for Change, designed to support those in need through enriching Brisbane communities.

The winner, to be announced in February, will receive $30 000 and valuable support and expert mentoring from Wesley Mission Brisbane to establish their own community support program.

The other four finalists will each receive $5000 and a mentoring workshop.

Wesley Mission Brisbane Executive Director, Geoff Batkin, says the organisation saw an opportunity to further support Brisbane communities by pulling in external resources to facilitate this initiative.

"We have been very fortunate to secure the financial support of PBS Building and, combined with the beneficial expertise we have in community services, we are hoping to initiate not just one but several much needed additional and alternative support mechanisms for the people of Brisbane," he says.

With nearly half a million Queenslanders now living below the poverty line, Michelle Skinner, Wesley Mission Brisbane Director of Community Service, says Campaign for Change is a brilliant opportunity both for the people who want to start a community initiative and those who will benefit from it.

"Through our work in the community, we are constantly coming across people who either know of, or have themselves a great idea for a community initiative that could really make a difference, but they simply don't know where to start or don't have the funds to get it up and operational," says Ms Skinner.

The five finalists – Serge Loode, Katherine Coory, Miranda Mason, Lucy Lott, and Evie Ryder – have a range of innovative ideas.

Mr Loode has been working on a project called Community Cafe that aims to connect people from minority communities in the greater Brisbane area.

Ms Coory wants to set up a weekend respite service for children living with a disability. Ms Mason's idea is for a Community Nonnas Program.

She wants to support families by matching local retirees and isolated women to new mothers for regular support at home during the early years with new children.

Ms Lott wants to create an inclusive youth theatre company with a focus on youth who may be isolated, at risk or living with a disability.

Ms Ryder wants to create a peer support service run by volunteers who have been through a transgender process and are trained to offer support to people new to the process.

Ms Skinner says tapping into this wealth of ideas and helping people get their projects up and running is at the heart of the campaign.

"Not only will the Campaign for Change finalists and the community they are supporting benefit from this campaign, but we also anticipate it will alleviate some of the pressure on government bodies by providing additional avenues for those requiring support," she says.

For more information visit wmb.org.au/campaignforchange