By STEVE GRAY
EMPTY shopfronts along Fitzroy St are the catalyst behind Renew Warwick.
Organisers Elizabeth Ure and Jonno Colfs, the driving force behind the What’s On Southern Downs website, have a vision and a template for a revitalised and renewed Rose City.
They said Renew Warwick will be a not-for-profit organisation made up of members of the Warwick community and based on similar Renew schemes in Newcastle, Adelaide, Townsville and other Australian cities.
Renew Warwick will attempt to fill empty shops with fledgling businesses and local artists, develop community spaces, run events and classes, promote health and well-being through a community garden initiative, pop up restaurants, theatre, live music, urban and youth pursuits.
Ms Ure and Mr Colfs listed a community garden and a community art space like Stanthorpe’s ArtWorks on Davadi as possible projects, given community interest.
“The scope for ideas is endless,” Ms Ure said.
“We are opening the membership of this initiative to anyone and everyone,” she said.
“If you have ideas or skills or just want to be a part of something exciting and fresh, then please get in touch with us.
“We’ll need ideas, grants and funding, artists, teachers, students, people who want to chip in and help build a space or paint a wall, people who want to make a difference and don’t want to wait for things to happen.”
Renew Warwick will be based on the Renew Australia model, Mr Colfs said.
“Renew Australia is a new national social enterprise designed to catalyse community renewal, economic development, the arts and creative industries across Australia,” he said.
“It works with communities and property owners to take otherwise empty shops, offices, commercial and public buildings and make them available to incubate short term use by artists, creative projects and community initiatives.”
Ms Ure and Mr Colfs hosted their first meeting for interested people last night at The Cherry Tree in Warwick.
Councillor Neil Meiklejohn said there were sound ideas behind the concept.
“I’m happy to try to support that stuff personally,” Cr Meiklejohn said.