Community place building at its finest

There are some pretty amazing nature play spaces cropping up around Western Australia, but many come with a huge price tag stretching into the hundreds of thousands of dollars. 

While this type of resourcing makes for some brilliant designs, it is not financially viable for many schools and community groups operating on a shoestring budget.  Enter the Friends of Webber Reserve who have pulled off the incredible feat of creating a nature-based adventure park on a budget of under $15,000 plus donations and over 500 volunteer man hours.

Webber naturescape, WillageeLocated at Webber Reserve in Willagee, the Friends have delivered a family-friendly space where kids can explore, imagine, play and be active.  This capacity is especially important in an area where over fifty per cent of households have kids and about thirty percent of these are living off incomes lees than $31,000 per year.

Who can we point a finger at for this resounding success?  That would be Kate Reid, a local mum who - in between work, raising kids and studying for a university degree - has been the driving force and mastermind behind this community-led project.  She is overflowing with positivity and can-do attitude.  You get the sense the word 'problem' is not in her vocabulary.  She talks instead in terms of 'learning experiences'.  Of course Kate is quick to push aside the kudos and shift the spotlight to the many people who tirelessly gave of their time, energy and enthusiasm.  

As she points out, it is not just the community effort behind this success. It couldn't have been done without the support of the City of Melville through their innovative funding pilot program, 'Project Robin Hood'.  It is an initiative that allowed Melville residents to apply for grants of up to $20,000 to help make their community more vibrant and connected, then the community voted on which projects would be  supported. The strategy was led by visionary Mayor Russel Aubrey and is the first of its kind in Western Australia.  I'll do a follow on this soon, so watch this space.

Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it's the only thing that ever has.
Margaret Mead


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