RBN: growth is grey mat­ter

Campaspe News - - FRONT PAGE - By LANA MUR­PHY

ROCHESTER Busi­ness Net­work has a huge few years ahead and the per­fect team to get things done, ac­cord­ing to sec­re­tary Alan Dar­byshire.

The net­work is boom­ing with 56 busi­nesses now part of the or­gan­i­sa­tion, while nine vol­un­teer groups are work­ing to­gether to achieve bet­ter busi­ness out­comes for the whole com­mu­nity.

At its an­nual gen­eral meet­ing ear­lier this month, the board of di­rec­tors nut­ted out three key fo­cuses for the fu­ture – im­ple­ment­ing buy lo­cal gift cards, cam­paign­ing for a grey no­mads space in Rochester and a re­tire­ment vil­lage.

Mr Dar­byshire said a Rochester­based gift card would roll out in com­ing weeks which could be bought through the RBN to use only in lo­cal, par­tic­i­pat­ing stores.

“That way we can en­sure funds are be­ing in­jected into the town, peo­ple can fo­cus their spend­ing where we need it and sup­port the place we live in,” he said.

But Mr Dar­byshire said the key goal for the RBN was to es­tab­lish a grey no­mads’ fa­cil­ity in town which would bring a ma­jor fi­nan­cial ben­e­fit to the re­gion.

The long-run­ning cam­paign has been slowed be­cause of dif­fer­ing views be­tween Rochester res­i­dents and a lack­lus­tre re­sponse from Cam­paspe Shire.

For now it is try­ing to gar­ner sup­port for a one-night-only space where trav­ellers can rest and en­joy what Rochester has to of­fer for a day, free-of-charge.

But they were “slowly work­ing to­wards that aim but we need to demon­strate that it is what the lo­cals and the vis­i­tors want”, Mr Dar­byshire said.

“And that no other busi­nesses or town folk are dis­ad­van­taged.

“Hope­fully with the shire’s sup­port the RBN will be able to es­tab­lish a small overnight park­ing fa­cil­ity in the near fu­ture and from that eval­u­ate fu­ture plans.”

Speak­ing of grey, the RBN also iden­ti­fied as long-term res­i­dents age, they no longer wish to have homes with large main­te­nance com­mit­ments.

He said many el­derly peo­ple in the re­gion had grown up here and did not want to leave, but of­ten had no choice.

“Many would like to have a mod­ern small, se­cure, no-main­te­nance res­i­dence prefer­ably with a fa­cil­ity for a van,” Mr Dar­byshire said.

“It is sad that at present these peo­ple need to move to Shep­par­ton or Bendigo to achieve this, Rochester needs a life­style vil­lage and the RBN will be look­ing at this as a longer-term goal.

“If we keep the se­niors in the town we ben­e­fit not only from them, but also the kids and grand­chil­dren who visit them.”

With its grow­ing net­work of busi­nesses, RBN can con­tinue to sup­port events such as last Sun­day’s Dairy Farm­ers Big Day Out.

“We must all work to­gether, then we can achieve the un­achiev­able, if we can sup­port each other, and that is the pri­or­ity of the RBN for 2016-2017, we can make huge changes,” Mr Dar­byshire added.

At the meet­ing the RBN also elected its board for the next fi­nan­cial year, with Glenda Ni­chol elected as pres­i­dent, Brad Ma­jor vice pres­i­dent, Mr Dar­byshire sec­re­tary and Beck Wolfe trea­surer. He­len Moroney, Justin Cleary, Mea­gan Keat­ing, Ma­ree Macague, Damien McInnes, Brett Phillips, Sam Wil­son, Tra­cie Kyne and Clive Usher com­plete the com­mit­tee.

The net­work cel­e­brated the past 12 months of work, which in­cluded a visit from for­mer sex­ual of­fences and child abuse de­tec­tive with Bendigo po­lice, Narelle Fraser and Age travel and food guru Richard Cor­nish.

With the sup­port of the Cam­paspe Shire and the en­thu­si­asm of peo­ple such as Mea­gan Keat­ing, a Two Hours of Power night work­shop was also hosted by the RBN – ig­nit­ing a wave of ideas from mem­bers to take into the fu­ture.

It also hosted its fourth an­nual town garage sale (the fifth is just around the cor­ner) and con­tin­ued its on­go­ing sup­port for busi­nesses and or­gan­i­sa­tions in Rochester.

To be an RBN mem­ber you need to have an ABN.

“We have 58 busi­nesses as mem­bers but we should have another 42,” he said.

“So please join and have a voice in the fu­ture of Rochester.”

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