Nic is a graduate of the 2014 Fellowship program and is currently NSW Community Coordinator with Lock the Gate Alliance.
Why are you passionate about Community Organising? Why is organising an important part of the solution in your community?
One of the great things about being part of Lock the Gate is working directly with mining-affected communities. I am lucky to have formed friendships and connection with people working to protect farmland, water, health, heritage and culture. I’m now spoilt for choice when it comes to dropping in for a cuppa and a fresh anecdote in regional NSW (my family stopped for the night recently on a farm near Lismore to hear some classic stories from the Bentley Blockade and to check out a garage full of hand-built drag racing cars).
Affected communities, working together to protect their patch can be powerful. If you have been lucky enough to see The Bentley Effect doco, you’ll know what extraordinary power the NSW Northern Rivers community generated to win their campaign against Metgasco. If you’ve visited Gloucester, you might have met some of the people who organised themselves to triumph over AGL’s plans to turn their area into a gasfield. If you’ve been to Bulga, you’ll be familiar with the epic and ground-breaking battle fought by local residents against the Warkworth mine. If you’ve spent time in the Southern Highlands, you’ll know that locals have declared their towns coal-free and are working hard to protect the Highlands and Sydney’s drinking water from Hume Coal’s proposed mine. These communities are smart, generous, strategic and building power. Community engagement is a crucial ingredient.
How has the Community Organising Fellowship impacted on your current work?
The Fellowship has been a rock for me. I am part of a great network of people who are unfailingly generous in sharing their time, skills and experience. I have access to resources and templates that I often share with community groups and new campaigners. And I have confidence, skills and experience from the immersive Fellowship training.
We have a saying at Lock the Gate: ‘our job is to help people find the thing they can do’ to make a difference. The Fellowship helped me find the thing I can do!
For more information about Lock the Gate’s approach to community engagement, check out this great blog post from Annie Kia: Grow your movement by working with complexity: Lessons from Gasfield Free Northern Rivers.