BRINGING people together is one of Sarah Hardie's biggest passions.
She has worked previously in community and client capacity building roles with the State Government, which allowed her to work collaboratively with a range of organisations, groups and businesses to achieve positive outcomes.
It is those skills plus much more she will bring to her new role as Community Development Officer for Ecco Ripley.
Here she explains how she will help build the community into a closer network.
You have just started your new role as Ecco Ripley's Community Development Officer. What does this involve?
I have been employed by Sekisui House to work within its Ecco Ripley community. My role involves fostering residents and the broader community throughout its pivotal growth era. My focus is on building a community that is connected, inclusive and sustainable.
What does the average day at Ecco Ripley look like for you?
It's jam-packed with community consultations.
I am either meeting residents face-to-face or liaising and building relationships with local businesses, surrounding schools and community leaders. My role focuses on facilitating what's important to the residents. This will include a lot of listening and more importantly, putting into action any concerns or needs residents may have. The core of my work will focus on shaping the community over the next 12 to 18 months into one that Ecco Ripley residents are proud to call home.
What is your end goal for Ecco Ripley?
I want to ensure that when Ecco Ripley is fully completed in many years to come the community remains inclusive, connected and vibrant. To do this I will be assisting residents to shape the community in accordance with their needs and wants.
What will the community consultations entail?
Community consultations will be an opportunity for all Ecco Ripley residents to come together, strategise and assist in strengthening this burgeoning neighbourhood. We will be sharing information soon on regular community consultations, but in the meantime the community can feel free to drop by the Ecco Ripley sales and information centre for a chat. I'm really keen to hear from residents first hand because the community voice is very important as Ecco Ripley evolves. The regular community events will also be a great opportunity for residents to come together and socialise.
How do you see the community growing over the next few years?
Ecco Ripley is currently a tight-knit community. I plan to work closely with current and future residents to define and embrace a shared and inclusive identity, particularly with stage one of the Ripley Town Centre set open early next year. The Ripley Town Centre will create an urban presence that will attract residents from neighbouring communities and encourage further inclusive engagement and vibrant activity. The Town Centre will be the heart and commercial hub of the entire Ripley region and Ecco Ripley residents have the chance to be involved in its evolution.
What is your availability?
My set hours are Wednesday, Thursday and Friday each week. However, this is very flexible. I can make myself available on the weekends or whenever I am needed by residents.
What can residents come to you about?
Ecco Ripley residents can tell me about their day, how they're utilising the open space, or chat to me about what we're missing. Are there any facilities they would like to see introduced? Are there any gaps in the community? What service providers would they like to see?
How would you describe the current community at Ecco Ripley?
The Ecco Ripley community is incredibly active, friendly and welcoming. New residents can expect to feel well supported and instantly a part of apart of a community that values knowing ones neighbour and looking out for one another. The community have formed a Community Association which is a great opportunity to stay informed, get involved and meet new friends.
What do you think makes Ecco Ripley unique?
There's so much that makes Ecco Ripley stand out from the rest and a lot of that is tied to Sekisui House's holistic approach to all their masterplanned communities.
As a new employee, I admire Sekisui House's corporate philosophy - the love of humanity. In my role working closely with community members, this really resonates with me and I can see this coming to life at Ecco Ripley. Their vision to create homes and communities that thrive for generations is quite inspiring and seeing this come to fruition is a core focus of my role.
All of Sekisui House's communities are very connected and focused on an urban core. Ecco Ripley is being transformed into the centre of Ripley and it's exciting to watch it all unfold first-hand.
To contact Sarah Hardie, email Sarah.Hardie@sekisuihouse.com.au or visit the Ecco Ripley's sales centre, 582 Ripley Road, Ripley.