Our IAGM was held last month and for those of you who missed it (and those who want to recall the key points), here’s a snapshot of the main news:
The following people were elected to roles on the Executive Committee:
- Guy Luscombe – President
- Keryn Curtis – Vice President
- Roger Hamilton – Public Officer
- Susan Hamilton – Treasurer
- David Scandol – Secretary
- Margot Woods – Committee Member
Unfortunately we had to say goodbye to a founding committee member, Caroline Homer, who has so spectacularly kept us both focused and grounded over our first 18 months; not to mention her fabulous MCing roles at each of our three public meetings. Caroline remains a committed member and supporter of the project, but has increasingly onerous time constraints that make it impossible for her to keep up the committee work.
We still have one position vacant on the Executive Committee. We are going to look at what skill we might require and then put the word out to members to see if anyone might be able to fill that role.
We now have nearly 50 paid up members with around $500 cash in the bank.
We had various presentations on our achievements for the year but more importantly what we hope to achieve next year. We have broken our goals down into four broad areas of work (we’re calling them pillars) and have formed a sub-committee to take charge of each area. These areas are building and development; advocacy and education; the Village Hub; and membership and management.
Some people signed up to participate in one or more committees but all the committees are still looking for potential members with relevant skills and interests. The nature and role of each committee and the committee member who is taking the lead on each are listed below.
Committee leaders will update details on the website as they become available.
- Building & development committee
Leader: Guy Luscombe
The building and development committee’s role is to focus on the ‘housing’ component of the project. It will focus on sites of interest, designs and logistics and aims to start developing potential projects, including working towards the concept of a co-housing development at White Bay. In addition, this committee will look at how we want to live together and what the rules might be. Keep an eye out for workshops early next year. Guy is an architect and experienced in this role.
- Education and advocacy committee
Leader: Keryn Curtis
Because there’s no road map for developing cohousing projects in Australia (barely a dirt track) – and there are lots of myths and misinformation about – there’s a big job in education and advocacy. The education and advocacy committee will work to provide clear and accurate information, promote positive understanding and foster support wherever it is needed (communities, government, politicians, businesses, media) to smooth the way and build that roadmap needed to enable cohousing to happen. Keryn’s background is in journalism, communication and policy and advocacy work.
- Membership and management committee
Leader: Susan Hamilton
As our project progresses, it is becoming increasingly important that we have robust systems for managing the membership and general management of our organisation. Susan’s background in business management and marketing in both the corporate and small business sectors means we can be confident that our house is kept in excellent order!
- Village hub committee
Leader: Margot Woods
The village hub concept is a new addition to The AGEncy Project concept. The village hub concept is based on a ‘virtual village’ model that began in Boston in the US in 2002 (the Beacon Hill Village) and has become a successful movement throughout the US. Here in Australia, we have Sydney’s Waverton Hub, based on the same model. Sharron Olivier from the Waverton Hub gave a wonderful presentation about how it works.
Essentially the ‘hub’ is a local group or network for older people living independently to meet and support one another. By pooling yearly membership fees, members of the village can access discounted activities and services and generally be supported as they ‘age in place’. We think it’s a perfect complement to our bricks and mortar plans so the creation of a village hub will be an important part of our vision too. This project will strengthen our links with the local community and also provide us with a larger demographic for membership and resources. Dr Margot Woods, a well known local general practitioner, is passionate about the role of strong support networks within communities in enabling people to live and age well. She is taking the lead on developing the hub model in our community.
We are aiming to have another public meeting around May; but before that, we hope to have at least one design workshop for members to roll up our sleeves and make some decisions about the features and design elements we would like to have in our cohousing development. Stay tuned for an update on that and other news.
Thanks for your interest and support.