Congratulations to the 2020 Victorian AgriFutures™ Rural Women’s Award winner Kelly Barnes (above far right). Kelly is expected to head to Canberra with six other state and territory finalists for the national award ceremony later this year. Good luck Kelly!
As the 2020 Victorian winner, Kelly aims to implement her project idea of a small group Working Dog Training School. Kelly lives in Dunkeld in South West Victoria and knows only too well the benefits working dogs bring to your life, not just as a tool of the trade, but as a companion. She believes working dogs are a great way to bring like-minded people together to improve their dog handling skills, break down social isolation and build resilience.
“I genuinely believe that given a broad range of tools, rural communities can increase resilience and work together to support each other and greatly improve mental wellbeing,” says Kelly.
Each state and territory winner receives a $10,000 Westpac bursary for innovative ideas and projects, access to professional development opportunities and alumni networks.
Three other fantastic women were narrowly pipped at the post to be this year’s Victorian winner. They will all continue to pursue their projects and we wish them the best! They are:
Katrina van Eyk from Pyramid Hill who wants to expand on an affordable eight-week summer ‘Learn-to-Swim’ program in regional communities that makes the most of under-utilised community pools and boosts physical and mental health.
Jackie Elliott from Byaduk who wants to create a toolkit for other regional communities to host their own International Rural Women’s Day celebrations to connect rural women and address isolation. Jackie hosted a very successful event in Western Victoria in October 2019, providing networking and development opportunities to women in her region.
Kerryn Wildenburg from Kyneton, who wants to create a permaculture ‘Food Forest’ to provide vulnerable community members with a place where they can learn to grow and cook nutritious food. Kerryn’s project will also make a valuable contribution to the community food bank.
The AgriFuturesTM Rural Women’s Award acknowledges the significant role women play in agriculture and rural communities. The award is supported in Victoria by Agriculture Victoria and is sponsored nationally by AgriFuturesTM and Westpac.
More at AgriFuturesTM website: agrifutures.com.au/people-leadership/rural-womens-award/
Pictured above: AgriFutures™ Victorian Rural Women’s Award 2020 finalists (from L-R) Jackie Elliott (Byaduk), Kerryn Wildenburg (Kyneton), Katrina van Eyk (Pyramid Hill) and winner Kelly Barnes (Dunkeld)