Community Builders Program

2 min
11 July 2023

Over 7 weeks, a number of Aura residents, business owners and school students came together for a Community Builders course. Facilitated by Community Praxis Co-op, Baringa Community Centre and Sunshine Coast Council, the meaning of “community” was explored and specifically how to build that sense of belonging.

The group then formed 3 projects they would like to develop, recognising the uniqueness of Aura, the needs of families and people of differing demographics. Students at Baringa State Secondary College and their teachers identified they would like to explore ways that students can volunteer in the community but not always knowing how to do this. Others identified the increasing impact of cost of living, not knowing where, how or what services and activities exist.

From these conversations the idea of Aura Meal Exchange came to be in participant and business owner Murray Boyton’s mind. With a growing Facebook following of over 200, you will find the community meal exchange on every Thursday 5.30pm – 7:00pm at Fig Tree Park (corner Kate Crescent and Annalise Circuit). Other organisations have jumped on board with support, such as GoodStart Early Learning Baringa donating sausages, a bakery donating bread and others providing pantry items.

The unintended result of the Aura Meal Exchange is it has now created an opportunity for the Baringa State Secondary College students to volunteer; helping with meals, handing out bread, cooking sausages & taking free coffee orders, the students are now fulfilling their plan to give back to community, and dispel the sometimes-negative stigma attached to being a young person.

It has connected people to knowledge, friendships, and purpose. It is a place where people have learned how to navigate difficult experiences, celebrate milestones, and even find employment opportunities. All over a shared meal.