Slatter up for a major award

By McIvor Times

HEATHCOTE dynamo Sandra Slatter (pictured below) has been nominated for the Victorian Regional Achievement and Community Awards.

Her selection for the Regional Development Victoria Business Achievement category has acknowledged Sandra’s community and business leadership and innovation.

Combining Sandra’s work ethic and her ability and actions to inspire others to “dream more, learn more, do more and become more” combined with her futuristic vision make her stand out as a leader and innovator.

Complemented by her signature selflessness and ability to bring individuals and groups together to share and optimise knowledge and resources are continually displayed throughout all the projects and programs with which she is involved.

Her award summary said a prime example was Heathcote Community Capacity Builders, founded by Sandra. It is a group of community members representing various community groups and organisations who come together monthly to share information and resources over lunch.

Although not always the same people there are often 30 plus in attendance and the program has been described as the catalyst in bringing a lot of parochial groups together.

“I always strive for positive change and constant improvement, looking for ways to gain consensus and get people to work together efficiently and effectively as a team,” Sandra said.

Her Heathcote resume is without parallel – from her role as event director for the O’Keefe Challenge through to establishing and leading a community owned not-for-profit organisation which has raised more than $1 million to build Bunbunarik, an integrated children’s community hub providing services including counselling, speech pathology, early intervention, and a visiting paediatrician plus a 76-placement early learning centre.

“A feasibility study for a research and learning-enabled Dementia Village is also now underway,” Sandra added.

“The village proposal incorporates the ‘Green Care Program’ linking healthcare to agriculture, gardening, nature conservation, caring for animals and community activities,” she said.

“This would be the first village of its type in regional Australia and the proposal presents an opportunity for Heathcote to be positioned as the southern hemisphere’s centre of excellence for dementia care research and training.”

Pulled together this paints a picture of Sandra helping turn what had been a deficit focused community culture after the Off the Edge study ranked Heathcote in the top 5 per cent of 40 Victorian socially disadvantaged postcodes.

Generational and cumulative disadvantage had resulted in a community feeling defeated, disengaged and pessimistic.

“We are the deciders and producers of our own futures,” Sandra said, explaining her can-do attitude.

She has been at the cutting edge of turning a ‘no can do’ culture into a ‘can do’ mojo.

Great prizes are up for grabs in the awards, with either $2000 into an account in their name from Bank of Melbourne or air time packages on PRIME7 for category winners.

One of the nine category winners will be named the Bank of Melbourne Regional Achiever of the Year and receive an additional $2000 and state trophy.

Winners will be announced on Friday October 11.