In a changing media landscape, it seems Focus is in a happy position.
According to trends in an article edited by Rosemary Williamson of UNE in The Conversation:
While much of the “old media” is dying, there appears to still be a space for magazines special to their readership. And where readers here are interested in knowing about their community, there is always advertising to sustain publication. The authors note that “Australians love magazines”, and “plenty of readers still like paper”. Around the house, we can refer to FOCUS for local information in an attractive format. (I hope my take on the article is considered fair enough in the context to the article’s authors). FOCUS, of course, also has a digital edition. I just happen to like the look of the magazine.
The birth of the new Armidale Library has seemed like a long pregnancy, but progressively the baby seems to be doing well, with final touches of course to be “polished up”. Already I’ve heard appreciation of the space and the light and easier access. As people get used to new benefits over that poor old, cramped space, the difficulties of the pregnancy will recede into distant memory. Our town will always be evolving and when one aspect changes, it provides opportunities for new ones to develop.
Renewables for sustainability are steadily gaining more and more of a place in the conversation. In one of their bulletins, local Starfish Initiatives quotes Socrates as saying, “The secret of change is to focus all of your energy, not on fighting the old, but on building the new”.
By the way, while we’re still coming to terms with the idea of driverless cars, there is now talk about flying cars. It has been reported they could be available as soon as this year. Goodness.
Some years ago there was a lot of talk about “Social Capital”. The Armidale region has heaps of it, but we don’t seem to hear that term anymore. Armidale Neighbourhood Centre manager, Robbie Passmore, says they have an open door policy for the community. Their care for the people who come to them for help is a reminder about the problems many face. We have a marvellous record here for volunteering and without those volunteers in community organisations, many government offices would simply crash. It is the network between them all that gives a human face to the help extended.
In the fabric of towns, retail is a complicated game. Those business people with “skin in the game” have a lot to tell, and the successful ones can pick up the ball and run with it. With the right encouragement, we need to share and understand their skills and their stories.
A couple of retail examples recently showed people taking the initiative – Turners put on the most terrific fashion parade in the arcade between their two stores – we felt we were in Paris. And Michelle and Roy Wheatley hired Mick Miller’s Guyra-based band Crooked Tree to play near their Mall store, Readers Companion, on the Saturday internationally designated Record Store Day. The effect of the music was like the Pied Piper, as people followed the sound to the Mall and browsed the shop, where as well as books they now sell the newly trendy records.
The just launched Saumarez Homestead Sustainable Tourism Project aims to “treble visitors to the Homestead”. By partnering with such other regional organisations as NERAM and the UNE Smart Farm, they all aim to open an exciting new and imaginative chapter for Armidale tourism. Tourism is big business, with many local multiplier effects.
The regular Sports Council figures underline the economic input of sporting events to the district. They report the first four months of this year as the best ever since records were first kept in 2007, with $8,023,196 flowing into the community through different sporting events.
Let’s do everything we can so the Armidale and Guyra town centres make us proud and our visitors happy.