Thursday, 14 December 2017

Edition 31 – August September October

Community

My Community – Upwey

By Sue Williams

Having been involved in community most of my life in one form or another, I have recently had the opportunity to contemplate what it really means to be involved in a community and how incredibly valuable that is for so many reasons. Firstly what is a community? The definition varies only slightly depending on the source, but in general it is:

A collection of members of an intentional group that typically hold a common social, political or spiritual vision and share responsibilities and resources. I believe with community our lives are a little less lonely, a little richer, more interactive and certainly a whole lot more fun. We are, after all, humans needing to have that human interaction and experience.

Upwey is one of the most beautiful rural places in Melbourne. It has a thriving community with a wealthy and diverse economy. There are plenty of outdoor opportunities, including wonderful bush walks, culture on tap at the Burrinja Cultural centre, a huge array of businesses, and an accessible shopping complex, complete with supermarket, bank, post office, newsagent and an abundance of fabulous eating places, and a bonus - it’s right on the train line, making it an ideal place for anyone to be.

Let me introduce a part of my community that I’m very proud of and one of the important community groups that operate in the community of Upwey – Project Upwey.

From its inception, around 2 ½ years ago, a community group by the name of Project Upwey was created to be the voice of the people in this thriving town - with the one motive of improving the township of Upwey, in the foothills of the Dandenong Ranges.

The first meeting saw over 170 people have their say and give their thoughts and suggestions about what they would like to see happen in Upwey. One thought was unanimous - we have an incredible community with a huge array of talent and strengths and certainly lots of ideas. The dedicated group of Project Upwey evolved and incorporated from that meeting and is now driven solely by volunteers - harnessing great experience and knowledge and motivated by the one goal – to make Upwey the best it can be.

These dedicated women and men who decided to be a part of this steering committee, generously give their time and expertise to help and benefit our community each year. This has seen many significant changes and improvements to our town including the painting of many shop fronts in Upwey, revamping the bus stops, planting beautiful gardens in and around the retail area of our village, even the regular clean-up of our main street, to name but a few! They have knocked down and removed an unsafe and dilapidated building, cleaned gutters, had new rubbish bins installed, worked hard on the graffiti in conjunction with Upwey Township Group, and have painted our railway bridge barriers, and so on and so on - needless to say, our main street has seen a major overhaul and is a substantially changed town without doubt!

The business group – Businesses of Upwey - was created under the banner of Project Upwey and consists of local shop keepers and business owners banding together to formulate ideas and create productivity around the businesses of Upwey - helping to raise awareness, showcase what they do and create benefits from being in a collaborative group. Any business of Upwey is welcome to join this group and can get in touch via Project Upwey. Over the years, Businesses of Upwey have facilitated the very successful Outdoor Cinema night.

Project Upwey, in conjunction with Yarra Ranges Council and many community consultation meetings, has now developed a significant Community Plan for the long term, which will now become the blue print of the desired development of our fantastic little township - for the future. Should you wish to see this Community Plan, you may do so at the Upwey Community Link Council offices in the Main Street.

Project Upwey is also developing a quality community website/on line hub - "Discover Upwey" – http://discoverupwey.com.au. This will be the modern face of our township, highlighting the depth and strength of existing community assets, and creating a central “go to” for the Upwey community and the broader population. This will hopefully become an easily accessible place to go to find out what’s happening in “Your Town” in all areas, promoting awareness of group and volunteer opportunities and encouraging “Shop Local” to continue enhancing our buoyant and thriving village community. It will involve our local high school students as part of their curriculum. Feedback, photos and general information for this website is always welcomed, including the very valuable history of our town.

There are so many wonderful ways to be involved in your Project Upwey, whether its digging the garden, picking up a paint brush, helping with the website or assisting with the latest project.

If you are a local business in Upwey, tradesman, or hobby business and have some ideas about Upwey and feel you would like to bring them to the table – you are more than welcome. Businesses of Upwey meet on the first Monday of the month for an hour or so.

A volunteer’s role is often an unheralded one; however it is also an extremely personally rewarding one and without it our communities would not be what they are today. I know Project Upwey is always looking for passionate and energetic people to join them.

Thank you for sharing this special part of my community. As a volunteer, you can make new friends and support your community in a very practical way, but also fill that sense of purpose and belonging that we can be known to crave. I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Would you like to be involved in PU or learn more about it? Then go to discoverupwey.com.au/company/project-upwey - or email us on - This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

I look forward to sharing more of my community in the future.

About The Foothills

The Foothills magazine is truly appreciated by the local community. It covers business, community and tourisms news, events, local success stories and more. The site features electronic newsletters, feature stories, recipes, photographs and news, all from the Upper Ferntree Gully, Upwey and Tecoma communities.

From the Editor

Welcome to the first of the digital editions of The Foothills community news. Thanks to our wonderful team of volunteers that has put this edition together. Many are long term volunteers who you will have followed over several years and others are new writers inspired by the opportunities of the new digital edition.

We are keen to grow the Foothills with your contributions. If you have a club, a school or an interest that you’d like to tell us about each quarter then please contact me so we can arrange for your own column. We also welcome photos and quick news stories that we can use to update the Foothills between editions. Send those contributions and messages to thefoothills@coonarahouse.org.au.

Thanks and happy reading.

Regards

The Foothills Editor