Here’s a good idea worth a mention.
1. Open conference. Brett recently emceed day one of the Interchange Outer East Keeping It Real conference in Melbourne’s leafy Upwey. Interchange Outer East works with young people, people with disabilities and other oft-excluded groups providing respite, social activities and post-school options.
Every two years they shut everything down to gather as a tribe and confab. All staff attend. This alone is a little special but what makes this newsworthy is that Interchange makes it a point to invite clients, carers and volunteers too. Perspective expand, relationships are built. That’s not all – also on the invitation list are other agencies, clubs, service groups, local employers and government folk. Oh; it’s free for all. Even the conference dinner was $15 a pop. People talk “partnerships”, “innovation” and “inclusion” all the time. This is the walk. Kudos Interchange Outer East.
The agenda was far broader than might be expected. Speakers from Streat and The Big Issue covered social enterprises, 2011 Australian of the Year Simon McKeon spoke about philanthropy and the rich, Yooralla’s ComTEC unit presented a cool show-and-tell session and there was a presentation on recruiting CALD volunteers. It was a broad approach to the issues facing Interchange. Impressive stuff.
BTW the Burrinja Conference Centre was excellent – spacious and confortable, better than average disability access, catering, parking, audio-visual set-up and staff service ethic. Remarkable back stage facilities too. Highly recommended if you are in that part of town.