GroundBreakers Northern Beaches - First Community Meeting!


Sydney's Northern Beaches is the pilot community for the National Compassionate Communities Forum. Initiated by Community Care Northern Beaches (CCNB), they had their first community meeting to introduce the concept of ComCom and to get together and discuss the ways this movement could benefit the northern beaches.
There was a real energy throughout the gathering, people were ready to listen and ready to share with each other.
There was over 100 people there and Marika from CCNB asked the crowd "Why are you here?". These were some of the responses:
"It's my calling." 
"I want to have the right conversation with my folks."
"I know the ins and outs of the journey and I want to share." 
"Our culture is in denial."
"To connect with others who care."
"To get insight."
"To help my family grieve."
"Because there was no support group when my son died."

CCNB had asked a variety of speakers and they all offered different perspectives and a great balance of topics; Dr Frank Brennan shared stories of being human with patients at end of life, Holly and Jessie talked about what is happening with the ComCom movement around the world, Dr Stephen Ginsborg talked about care vs compassion and Peter Shenstone shared with us his compassionate community in Blackheath and the creative way he captures the varied aspects on paper. Clown Doctor Jean Paul Bell was an excellent MC and kept us laughing throughout the day.

Discussion broke out and Marika encouraged everyone to share what they heard, what they understood, what they felt. Some words that were shared included; humanity, kindness, balance of perspectives, we need to connect with the well of emotion around end-of-life that is with us all the time, highlighted loneliness - who are my people, importance of building connections.

CCNB announced further support for individual citizens to up-skill and be empowered to further this movement in the Northern Beaches such as attend training and conferences and connect with other opportunities. 
This is a fantastic start of something in the Northern Beaches and such an exciting start to the National Compassionate Communities Forum.

A beautiful quote expressed by Peter Shenstone to finish off the day, 
"The compassion will come, when you know each others story."

Holly Smith