Local women are invited to register for the 26th NSW Rural Women’s Gathering, which will be hosted in Merimbula, October 19-21.
Chairwoman of the organising committee April Merrick said they were hoping to have around 250 women attending.
“We want to encourage local women to be part of it; it’s for them too, not just for farmers,” Ms Merrick said.
There are groups of women attending from Wentworth and from Sydney, who, Ms Merrick explained were regular attendees at the annual event.
There are however some women who would like to attend but because they are unable to leave their farms due to the drought or current workload, have donated tickets to help other women attend. In addition some local women have donated tickets to assist those finding it difficult.
The Department of Primary Industries (DPI) has 10 free registration packages that include full registration and an additional $250 towards travel and accommodation, for women affected by the drought.
The drought packages are provided in partnership with DPI’s Rural Resilience Program and the Red Cross ‘Let’s Talk’ program and drought affected women are asked to introduce themselves to the DPI in 250 words or less, and explain why they would like to attend the Merimbula Rural Women’s Gathering.
The annual Rural Women’s Gathering welcomes all rural women from across the state and provides a rare opportunity to network, share experiences and learn new skills in a supportive and informative environment.
Ms Merrick said that the Red Cross had separately donated four tickets.
The women-only event includes a three-day program with workshops, tours, speakers and a gala dinner which Ms Merrick said was proving popular.
Local women can opt to attend just parts of the program or alternatively can be part of the welcome group to assist visitors in finding their way around town and to various meeting points.
Activities include local tours, music and dance lessons, craft skills, personal development and professional growth sessions, and the guest speakers feature NSW rural women who have made their mark on their communities, with some making a national and international impact.
Businesswoman and engineer Jillian Kilby will share her journey from farmer’s daughter in Coonamble to champion of rural start-ups and becoming the recipient of the 2018 NSW-ACT AgriFutures™ Rural Women’s Award.
Other speakers include online fashion entrepreneur Jane Cay, acclaimed crime author Melissa Pouliot, tourism operator Jenny Robb and oyster farmer Sue McIntyre.
Bronnie Taylor MLC will officially open the event and announce the 2018 inductees on the Hidden Treasures Honour Roll. This roll, now in its 9th year, has recognised over 900 rural women volunteers whose passion and commitment continue to strengthen our regional and rural communities.
To apply for the free registrations for drought affected women, email firstname.lastname@example.org by 14 September 2018. Recipients will be notified by 17 September.
More information on the gathering is available at www.sapphirecoastconnections.org. Registrations for the event close on 30 September 2018.