RBN: growth is grey matter
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.”