A group of 15 ABC Trailblazers from around regional Australia met at Parliament House in Canberra on Wednesday to present their ideas for improving life in regional Australia.
Trailblazers was developed by ABC Heywire for young, regional change makers to have their stories heard on the ABC Network.
The stories are are inspired by the achievements and failures experienced by the participants. Their stories tackle issues such as racism, mental health and living life out on remote cattle stations.
Their ideas stood out in a nationwide search, and this week they spent time developing their ideas at the Heywire Summit in Canberra before presenting them to members of parliament, senators and community leaders at Parliament House.
Sally Downie from Jemalong, NSW started an initiative called Grassroots Blueprint.
The project aims to improve the networks and wellbeing of farmers in rural NSW by linking them with local businesses and health services at informal events.
It brings together disparate parts of the local economy to encourage collaboration through personal and professional connections, increasing mental wellbeing and promoting upskilling.
“It’s got a really strong focus on mental health so helping people understand mental health, break the stigma, and get the services to the areas that need it,” Sally said.
It’s also about promoting agriculture so the general public can understand it, and sharing farmers’ stories so consumers can support them.
Emma Moss shared her experience of living on a cattle station in Southbrook, Queensland, through her Instagram account, which exceeds 17,000 followers.
She is using this experience to start another page aimed at celebrating Australian agriculture, educating people through pictures.
“There’s a very large gap between city and rural communities at the moment and i think there’s lack of understanding on both sides,” Emma said.
The gap is a hard cycle to break, but I think social media is a great platform that acts as a middle ground between us.
For the stories of other inspiring Trailblazers CLICK HERE.
Applications for 2019 Trailblazers open in June. ABC Heywire are looking for individuals and groups of up to three people who are aged 18-28 and working on projects to make regional Australia a better place.
Successful applicants receive an incredible package of support, including media, networking and mentorship opportunities to help them share the story of their work with the nation. They also receive an all-expenses-paid trip to the Trailblazers Lab in Canberra.