The story behind the Inspiration Cafe

The story behind the Inspiration Cafe

Inspiration Café – join the celebration!


Have you ever wondered how many people in our region are making positive change in the community? If we actually counted the number of people in Bendigo and surrounding region involved in some way or another with an initiative that is making a difference in our community, we would probably have at least half the population put their hand up. There is so much positive change happening in Bendigo and region it is mind blowing once you tune into it. The problem is we don’t tune in and we don’t have a clue what fantastic initiatives are taking place collectively in our own town.


As a start, have you ever thought about the number of fundraisers for a cause in Bendigo of late? World’s Biggest Bloke’s lunch, Bendigo for Homeless Youth, Bendigo Health Foundation Fun Run, Blue Ball Foundation, Vision Australia Art Exhibition just to name a few. Then there’s the amazing number of community sustainability initiatives like the Bendigo Sustainability Group, Towards Zero Waste Action Group, Edible Eaglehawk, Bendigo Community Farmer’s Market, and Plan B – Latrobe Universities Planning students club. Not forgetting the pioneers of community contribution like the Rotary Clubs, Lions Clubs and Y-Service clubs or the organisations assisting low income and our most vulnerable people like Haven, St Luke’s Anglicare and Food Bank Bendigo or the social enterprises like Future Employment Opportunites and Bendigo Access Employment. And what about the various youth initiatives like Students for Sustainability Conference, the Foundation for Young Australian’s Change it Up weekend and Oz Green’s Youth Leading the World event.


It’s not all volunteers and charitable organisations either. Then there’s the business. There are many many businesses doing great things in our region such as the businesses that donate funds to the Central Victorian Community Foundation so they can distribute much needed grants to charitable organisations, or other businesses that have their own foundations or funds to donate to community groups. Businesses aren’t just contributing money either. Some provide in-kind services for not-for-profit organisations or opportunities for young people to get experience on their board or donations of gifts. Others have started up their own initiatives that of course make a big difference to their own bottom line and in addition lead the way for the rest of their sector. Great examples of this are Indulge Café and Keech Castings steel manufacturing. Both organisations have made huge changes to their energy use through the implementation of various initiatives and both organisations are leading the way within their industry.


The organisations and initiatives mentioned hare is really just the start. I don’t think I’ve even touched the surface yet on what’s out there in our region but you probably get the idea. There is so much happening in our region it’s really really inspiring. But how often do we actually get together and have a yarn about our work and even acknowledge our work? My guess is we don’t and even if we do it’s unlikely to be enough.


All of the above gives you a little incite into why the Inspiration Café was created and why it was a success the first time. All of the initiatives all come about because of the passionate committed people behind them. These people whether volunteer, business leader, board member, student, mother, young person or any other sort of hat they wear, may not at first appear to have anything in common because they come from so many different backgrounds. What they do have in common and what is often not recognised is that they are driven by something they feel passionate about, see a need for action and rather than sit back and complain about it or stay dissatisfied about it, make a choice to do something about it and go for it. I call this group of people “changemakers”. Changemakers are the back bone of our society and we don’t even recognise them as a group.


So that’s what the Inspiration Café sets out to do – it’s a rare opportunity for all of these wonderful people from all walks of life and areas of passion, to get together and share, network, celebrate their achievements and be reinvigorated to keep going.

The Inspiration Café provides this opportunity and the next one is on this Thursday 27 March, 6pm to 9pm at the Old Church on the Hill. Everyone is welcome to join the celebration. Entry by donation at the door. Click here for more information and to RSVP.

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