End of an advocacy era

Harrington Community Action Group secretary Joan Hall and chairman Charlie Sumner with the team of members who have worked to try to improve local, State and federal government service to their community.It was a long lunch at a long table. Harrington Community Action Group members sat together for the last time at Club Harringtonon December 18 to dine and celebratethe friendships formed during 11 years of community advocacy work.
Nanjing Night Net

A few months earlier Allan McLaren attended the August 20 meeting and moved the group be dissolved on September20. It was a milestone moment the members had been preparing to faceand as Bob Smith seconded the motion so began the process of ending one of the most professional action groups in the Manning Valley.Decisions were made as to where to direct resources and money, the letters of thanks that had to be written, the date of their farewell dinnerand the creation of a list of issues that should remain on notice. This list is part of its legacy of community advocacy to local, State and federal government representatives over many years and according to secretary, Joan Hall, “there is work that still needs to be done.”

Harrington has dramatically changed in 11 years; the growth of Harrington Waters, an increasing andageingpopulation,its popularityas a tourist destination and the changing face of the river entrance have all been on the group’s watch and members have been closely monitoring it all. They have played are role in the creation of the Harrington that exists in 2016 and now urge Harrington residents to take an interest in the need for aged care facilities, the feasibility study on the entrance to the Manning River, the Wards Creek opening,a bridge to connect the cycle/gopher way, drainage issues –all localissues and all important to the community, says Joan.

The decision of Joan and her partner, Charlie Sumner, who is also the group chairman, to leave Harrington to live in Worrowing Heights near Jervis Bay was a catalyst for the group to review its capacity to continue.

“A few more members are moving, there are health issues and no-one wanted to take on the work –and there can be a great deal of work.

“It can requirework nearly every day of the week and on weekends, particularly if there are a few issues are running.”

Joan says there is“still so much work that needs to be done” and hopes the Harrington Chamber of Commerce will look to their list and step-upto take on the issues.

Joan was the public face of the group, vocal in the mediaand often the woman crafting correspondence to local, State and federal government representatives and standing beside Charlie at meetings and events to advocate and educate the community on issues.

Renowned for her doggedness and by her own admission she says that on “some issues I had to keep on and on and on them to try to get things done” but stresses that all members played an important role in ensuring the success and effectiveness of the group.

The roll call of membership also includes Bob Smith, Phil Callan, Allan McClaren, Pam Avern, Bert deWright, Max Hockley, John Eldridge, Zena Copeland, Cam Avern, Gordon Bryson and Margaret Ward.

“Most of the members have been involved since 2005 and when I look to them I see a group of wonderful community-minded people who all stepped up to help to try to make things better. It’s been wonderful.”

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.