Posted by Julie Collareda
On 14 May 2019 the Rotary Club of Dapto in partnership with CareWays Community held an evening to bring together service providers in the Dapto area. The idea of the workshop was for community groups to come together to share ideas on how we can make Dapto a better place to live and work. To discover more about the community, identify key areas of need where we can focus our efforts and perhaps by sharing information begin to work more closely together on projects to achieve better, more timely results. 
“Stronger Together”
There were forty people in attendance including: The Rotary Club of Dapto and District Governor Elect Di North; CareWays Community staff; Dapto Anglican Church; Dapto Lions Club; Leisure Coast Quota; Dapto Saint Vincent De Paul; Dapto Chamber of Commerce; Dapto Futures Group; Dapto High School; Dapto/Port Kemble RSL Sub Branch; Dapto Leagues Club;Age Friendly Illawarra.
The evening began with introductions and Michael Szafraniec, Operations Manager from CareWays giving feedback on a research project they are conducting in the area to identify key areas of concern by local residents. This was followed by a visioning exercise where participants were asked to prioritise key areas of need and how important they were to the development and liveability of the Dapto region. The key areas identified were lack of transport services-especially for older people, lack of green spaces and parks with adequate fencing and shade, lack of jobs for young people and activities for those who are unemployed. The Dapto Square was also identified as an area that needs to be better developed and utilised with suggestions such as holding a food market and/or art/cultural event in the area to encourage local people to enjoy the space. In addition, it was also commented that we should be also celebrating the great place Dapto is to live and work. Perhaps these two suggestions can be combined.
At the end of the evening it was decided that the event was very worthwhile and that the group wanted to remain engaged, sharing ideas and areas of concern. The Social Media Coordinator for the Rotary Club of Dapto, Natalie Martin is going to start a group attached to our Facebook page called ‘Stronger Together’ and service providers who attended the evening, and others who may want to be involved, will be invited to engage in further discussions. It was also decided to make this event a yearly occurrence.