Four Victorian women have been nominated for the 2020 AgriFutures Rural Women’s Award to be announced in March in recognition of their innovative ideas to support Australia’s rural and regional communities.
The award encourages Australian women to develop their skills to benefit their industries and communities, including Victoria’s $14.9 billion agriculture sector.
“Victoria’s resilient and innovative rural women are at the forefront of driving change across Australia – I congratulate our four finalists who will do our state proud” said Minister for Agriculture, Jaclyn Symes.
This years finalists are Jackie Elliot, Katrina van Eyk, Kelly Barnes and Kerryn Wildenburg.
“We are proud to support the AgriFutures Rural Women’s Award, and to acknowledge and support the essential role women play in rural and regional industries, businesses and communities.”
The Minister will announce the Victorian winner on 25 March 2020. The winner will receive a $10,000 Westpac bursary to implement her project and will become one of the seven state and territory winners in line for the title of National Winner, which will will be announced at a gala dinner in Canberra on 15 September.
Jackie is from Byaduk in Western Victoria. She is dedicated to connecting and sharing with women in her community and knows how important it is to close the isolation gap for rural and regional women.
In 2019, Jackie ran a successful International Rural Women’s Day celebration event which addressed a community need with 140 attendees.
Jackie wants to use the Westpac bursary to create a toolkit for other communities across Australia to host their own International Rural Women’s Day celebrations.
Katrina van Eyk
Katrina is an experienced swimming coach from Pyramid Hill. She is passionate about teaching safe swimming practices and is currently running an affordable 8-week summer Learn-to-Swim program.
Katrina will use the Westpac bursary to expand on this program across regional communities that make use of under-utilised community pools. This program has benefits beyond water safety, including community connection and community pools becoming a local meeting place, improved physical and mental health, and upskilling of locals to be qualified swim teachers.
Kelly lives in Dunkeld and is dedicated to providing ways for rural people to build resilience and connectedness in their communities.
Kelly will use the Westpac bursary to establish a Working Dog Training School consisting of six one-day sessions over a 12-month period for small groups. The training school will provide practical skills in a training environment that supports social interaction and networking with like-minded people. Kelly will begin her project by establishing a pilot Working Dog Training School for eight local participants.
Kerryn, a Kyneton local, is passionate about creating resilient food sources. She has worked for Kyneton Caring Community Inc for the past two years and it has given her great experience in managing people and change and enhanced her skills of persuasion and influence.
Kerryn will use the Westpac bursary to create a permaculture ‘Food Forest’ which will provide vulnerable community members with a place where they can learn to grow and cook nutritious food. Not only will the project support the local community food bank, it will also be an opportunity to educate and empower her community.
Brooke Croft, AgriFutures Australia, Manager, Communications & Capacity Building
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