Freo where Peter Kenyon’s love of community born

It took a village to raise Peter Kenyon. Picture: David Baylis d493735
It took a village to raise Peter Kenyon. Picture: David Baylis d493735

GROWING up in a Fremantle public housing estate was the start of Peter Kenyon’s great love of community and belief in the African adage that it takes a village to raise a child.

The self-confessed globetrotting social capitalist and community enthusiast is the brains behind the Bank of I.D.E.A.S. which has helped thousands of communities stimulate economic renewal.

Mr Kenyon said he was overwhelmed to be awarded the Medal of the Order of Australia for his work helping communities spark their own ideas and invest in building sustainable futures.

“My origins are the small Pilbara town of Marble Bar, and then I had an amazing childhood in Hilton Park, a Fremantle public housing estate, where I still remember vividly the sense of community and neighbour connection,” he said.

“My first community job was way back in 1969 in the Kimberley town of Derby.

“Since then I have worked with over 2500 communities across Australia and undertaken work assignments in 59 countries.

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“My motivation comes from my desire to help create caring, healthy, inclusive and enterprising communities, where all community members feel they matter, belong and can contribute, and where communities can discover their strengths and transform themselves.”

Mr Kenyon said a significant part of the organisation’s income was returned to innovative community initiatives.

“Over the last year, I have worked with 70 communities from Halls Creek to Gnowangerup, Launceston to Cairns, and facilitated community building workshops in all states of Australia, as well India, Canada and New Zealand,” he said.

“But best of all, I love working in rural and remote communities, I still have that red earth of Marble Bar in my veins.”

Mr Kenyon said there were many highlights of his career that have taken him to some of the most challenging countries across the globe.

“Last month was it was three weeks facilitating Teeny Town Summits across northern Canada, and this month working with Australian communities as diverse Longreach (Qld) , Moe (Vic) and Bega (NSW),” he said.

Based in Kalamunda, Mr Kenyon said the town was Australia’s most asset-rich community in terms of people, heritage and physical landscape.

He is currently working on establishing the Kalamunda Seniors Hub, an innovative idea that allows seniors to support each to stay at home as long and as inexpensively as possible.