AS the Community Development Officer for Ecco Ripley and the Ripley Town Centre it is satisfying to see the community grow not just in population numbers, but in the number of quality engagements I am witnessing throughout this beautiful region.
We are currently experiencing an abundance of events and activities organised by key regional stakeholders all with a similar goal in mind; to support community connection and cohesion in Ripley.
Localised events and activities that are designed for the community in mind encourage genuine dialogue, meaningful relationships, and a shared responsibility for the community and each other.
Across Ripley an array of initiatives, events and activities organised by developers, local government, educational institutions, charities and churches are enticing community to participate and experience with neighbours, similar or like-minded goals and interests.
Parents of young children have been catered for with the Ripley Town Centre hosting the Queensland State Library's First Five Forever Program; a fun and interactive early literacy program for pre-school aged children and their caregivers. In addition to meeting other caregivers and sharing in the enjoyment of their children engaging with songs and stories, the program also added a unique behind the scenes tours of the Ripley vet, dentist and Coles - introducing caregivers to a more intimate experience of their local shopping centre.
The nationally renowned parenting support program, Triple P, also launched to Ripley at the Ripley Town Centre, by the University of Queensland Parenting and Family support Centre team, saw caregivers sharing their experiences with others and seeking out support for common parental experiences. Attendee Roxy Bianca Yeomans discussed with me finding the workshop a tremendous support in realising that other parents were experiencing similar frustrations, but also that she and her husband were on the right track with most of their current parenting practices.
The Ipswich City Council Works, Parks and Recreation team were busy over the school holidays ensuring school aged children were catered for during their September school holidays with a free Active Breaks program of soccer, yoga and bootcamp. The sessions were held for the first time in the newly opened Ecco Ripley Faye Carr park, and were so popular they were booked out within a few days.
Whilst the kids were busy getting on with the important business of playing and making new friends, their caregivers were on the sidelines chatting and getting to know one another.
The neighbouring Pebbles Park also hosted the pilot school holiday program Bike 4 life, a collaborative project between the Ipswich Hospital Foundation, Sekisui House and 99 Bikes, who provided hands-on, instructor led, safe bicycle riding education for school aged children.
A local parent whose children attended said "my kids had so much fun and learnt so much. Hopefully they can do more of these, so more kids can learn”.
The local communities within Ripley, such as Ecco Ripley and Providence, are also becoming a driving force in community connection with local resident groups banding together to bring about local events, planned, implemented and managed by the community, for the community.
The Heart and Soul Festival, now in its third year, will be held on November 24 at South Ripley. It is also created, designed and delivered by the community at Providence. This year's special guests Luke and Cody from House Rules will be showing people how to make their own planter pots, and there will be gardening and lifestyle workshops, kids rides and plenty of entertainment to keep the family amused.
Forming relationships happens most effectively through face-to-face interactions and thankfully there are plenty of opportunities currently taking place and planned for Ripley that will facilitate that.
When you participate in the next local Ripley event, be assured that you are contributing to supporting the development your community and a connected Ripley.