What is the Berringa Peninsula Community Network?
The Berringa Peninsula Community Network (BPCN) is a committee of volunteers that formed following the drought and bushfires experienced in our area during the summer of 2019-20. Under the guidance of Bushfire Recovery Victoria, the communities of Bellbridge, Bethanga, Granya and Talgarno initiated the network to strengthen community resilience and wellbeing and create a shared identity.
The role of the Network is to give a voice to the broad views and aspirations of the Berringa Peninsula community members and liaise between the community, governments, community service organisations and other agencies to address and pursue advancement and resilience for our communities.
The committee is relatively new. But, in the space of just one year, we have been quietly working away in the background, identifying needs within our communities and finding ways to meet those needs. You can read about our work below.
Chair and Communications Officer
Deputy Chair/Website Admin
Assistant Secretary/Website admin
Jim De Hennin
Emma Wilson Nichol
Understanding and Fulfilling Community Needs
The BPCN recognises that the residents of the Peninsula are best placed to know what they need to feel safer in an emergency situation. Over the past 12 months, the BPCN has been working to understand what the community needs during a bushfire and looking for ways it can influence change to fulfil those needs. The process of that project is highlighted below.
Timeline item 1 - complete
Survey of community needs
A survey was sent out to properties across the Peninsula as well as being made available online
Timeline item 2 - complete
Survey results were collated and analysed and needs of the community were identified
Timeline item 3 - complete
Top 10 needs identified
The needs identified from the survey were taken back out to communities to be ranked in order of importance
Timeline item 4 - complete
A report of the results of the community survey were collated in a report that can be found here
Timeline item 5 - complete
Target need identified
Places of refuge were deemed to be something the BPCN could assist with
Timeline item 6 - active
Collaboration with Community Halls
BPCN worked with local hall committees to meet a common need being the repair of halls for possible use as places of refuge during emergencies
Timeline item 7 - complete
BPCN used its connection to Bushfire Recovery Victoria to source a grant writer free of charge to submit a joint application on behalf of Bethanga, Talgarno and Granya halls. Bethanga Landcare came on board to auspice the application
Timeline item 8 - complete
Awaiting results of funding application
We are currently waiting on the outcome of the grant application (due to be announced in December)
Timeline item 9 - complete
Our submission for funding was successful, with a total of $546,851 being awarded to the 3 halls project.
Timeline item 10 - active
Joint oversight committee formed
Representatives of Berringa Peninsula Community Network, Bethanga Landcare (auspicing organisation), Talgarno, Granya and Bethanga Hall committees have formed a joint oversight committee to see the project through to completion.
The BPCN has also collaborated with Council on the planting of native plants for some of the wayside stops on the Great River Road. A sub-committee was formed to ensure the most appropriate plants were selected. These hardworking committee members sourced plants that were either native or indigenous to the area, and then proceeded to plant them. Thanks to their efforts, the wayside stops will be pleasant places to be enjoyed by locals and visitors alike for years to come.
BPCN was able to use its connections to find a source of funding that could assist Talgarno Primary School with before and after school care. This will enable many families to continue to work in Albury-Wodonga without the worry of how they will balance work and care arrangements. It also ensure the future of enrolments at the school.
In November, BPCN hosted a local business Meet and Greet night. The event allowed local business to make connections with other businesses, opening the door to future collaborations. You can read more about the event here
With the help of funding from Bushfire Recovery Victoria, the BPCN was able to build and host this website. The website is hoped to be a place of engagement and dissemination of information for the Peninsula communities for years to come.