Cre­at­ing a stronger voice

The Weekly Advertiser Horsham - - News - BY COLIN MACGILLIVR­AY

The Wim­mera Pride Project is search­ing for vol­un­teers to join its newly formed com­mit­tee as it ex­pands in 2019.

The project was started in 2015 to give a voice to the Wim­mera’s les­bian, gay, bi­sex­ual, trans­gen­der, in­ter­sex, queer and gen­der non-bi­nary – LGBTI – com­mu­nity.

It was founded and run by Hor­sham’s Maddi Ostapiw and Lou­cas Vet­tos, who are look­ing to ex­pand its oper­a­tions to in­clude more peo­ple.

Ms Ostapiw said peo­ple with a range of skills and life ex­pe­ri­ences were en­cour­aged to con­sider join­ing.

“What we want are peo­ple who have a pas­sion for LGBTI ac­cep­tance and will be able to come on board and help us work out what we’ll be do­ing in the fu­ture,” she said.

“We’d love to have peo­ple with pro­fes­sional skills like me­dia, fi­nan­cial or ad­min­is­tra­tion knowl­edge, but what we re­ally want is the lived ex­pe­ri­ence of be­ing part of the LGBTI com­mu­nity or sup­port­ing it.

“In or­der to be to­tally rep­re­sen­ta­tive we need the voices of trans­gen­der peo­ple, gay men, les­bian women, par­ents who have sup­ported their chil­dren through com­ing out, Abo­rig­i­nal and Tor­res Straight Is­lander peo­ple.

“If we get more peo­ple on board who have dif­fer­ing opin­ions, who have dif­fer­ent skills, who are a dif­fer­ent cross-sec­tion of the LGBTI com­mu­nity or the ally com­mu­nity, they’re re­ally go­ing to make us a strong voice for progress within the Wim­mera.”

Ms Ostapiw said she and Mr Vet­tos were proud of the work they had done es­tab­lish­ing the Wim­mera Pride Project, but were equally ex­cited to ex­pand it. She said the or­gan­i­sa­tion cur­rently had an in­terim com­mit­tee of about six peo­ple.

“We have a lot of amaz­ing projects on the way,” she said.

“We have a con­sul­tant on board who is go­ing to help us work out the di­rec­tion of our new com­mit­tee, so it’s quite an ex­cit­ing time.”

Ms Ostapiw en­cour­aged peo­ple who were pas­sion­ate about LGBTI is­sues to con­sider vol­un­teer­ing to join the com­mit­tee.

“We want to be a com­mu­nity group that rep­re­sents our com­mu­nity and puts us in a place where we can truly make a dif­fer­ence in the fu­ture,” she said.

“At the mo­ment we would be happy for any­body in­ter­ested in be­ing part of the com­mit­tee to con­tact us and sit in on our com­mit­tee meet­ings as a guest so that they can get an idea about how it works and gauge their in­ter­est.

“Com­mit­tees can be some ef­fort, par­tic­u­larly when you’re try­ing to get some­thing off the ground and build it as we are at the mo­ment.

“We’ve also got some money from grants right now, so if peo­ple don’t nec­es­sar­ily have the skills to fit into a cer­tain role, we can put some train­ing into help­ing them gain skills.”

Some skills the Wim­mera Pride Project is look­ing for are: pho­tog­ra­phy and edit­ing; ad­min­is­tra­tion; fi­nance and fundrais­ing; grant writ­ing; event plan­ning; and ad­vo­cacy.

Peo­ple want­ing more in­for­ma­tion or in­ter­ested in join­ing the com­mit­tee can call Ms Ostapiw on 0437 244 468 or visit Face­book page The Wim­mera Pride Project.

CALL FOR VOL­UN­TEERS: Vol­un­teer Pa­trick Quaine, left, and Wim­mera Pride Project joint-founder Lou­cas Vet­tos are invit­ing peo­ple to take own­er­ship of the project. Pic­ture: PAUL CARRACHER

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