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The Margaret River Local Leadership Program facilitated by Barb Howard, Network Director from Country Arts WA, was a partnership project with Creative Corner. Creative Corner has been one of four regional organisations piloting the Country Arts WA Regional Arts Hub Program across Western Australia over the past two years. The Local Leadership program attracted nine leaders from Margaret River, Collie, Narrogin, Perth and Broome for three two-day interactive workshops. The workshops where held at the South Regional Tafe, Margaret River campus, over a three-month period from March to May.

The first workshop focused on developing individual leadership skills and greater self-knowledge, the second workshop focused on developing higher level skills and capacity to work effectively in a group and the third workshop focused on working well in a community setting. The workshops were a mix of theory, looking at models and concepts and experiential learning. In between workshops, program participants practiced what they were learning by developing their individual projects with support from their leadership team. Each leader got something different out of their participation. Barb Howard said that it was really rewarding to see the development in each person across the three-month period but what was most satisfying was to see individuals come together as a supportive group. “This group of people can take on anything now” she said.
 
Program participant Craig Mathieson from Margaret River’s Just Homes said, “I have gained friends who, like me, are actively pursuing goals that add great value to the community. Knowing I have ongoing support and encouragement from inspirational people who are visionary, courageous and at the cutting edge empowers me immensely in my own pursuits to realise my vision”.
 

First Nations participant Robin Naylor who lives in Williams, works in Narrogin and has cultural connections to Collie, came into the program to work with her Bilargu Team who are developing a cultural centre in Collie. She developed her capacity to communicate effectively.  Robin said, “I have loved that our facilitator has been precise with the delivery… A program like this requires a ‘’real human’’ to deliver this. If one pretends their life is perfect, I think I would have seen this as fake and not learned as much as I have…my facilitator was open, honest and real."
 
Dawn Thompson from Broome completed her final workshop in Margaret River and said, “I loved the connection with the two groups – Broome and Margaret River. Both great groups with so much to offer in very different ways. One of the most inciteful courses I have ever done because it covered the professional and the personal. I would like to have ongoing stages of the Local Leadership Program to continue learning, growing, sharing and connecting with Australia and the world through networks”.

Beyond the LLP, all participants have kept in close contact and are assisting each other with their varied projects