Parklea has farewelled Community Development Officer Tammy Radford as she pursues a dream to become a Cardinia Shire councillor.
Tammy is well known to residents of Timbertop and Kaduna Park in her role helping people settle, not only into their new home, but their new community.
Tammy stated with Parklea in 2017 and said the role had enabled her to meet “some amazing, wonderful people”.
“As a Community Development Officer part of my role is to assist the community in connecting. Many of the residents moving in to a Parklea estate are new to the shire and maybe even the country, so may not have that immediate core group of family and friends around to support them. So organising fun activities and events, social pages and residents groups, helps them to feel welcomed, included, safe and part of a community.
“When I hear and see that families are catching up at the park (before restrictions), guys are meeting over the fence for a beer, and mums are sharing meals with their neighbours, it just warms my heart.
“We all want to feel included and a part of a community, so I always saw my role as not welcoming our residents in to an estate, but a family.”
When asked about her most memorable moment Tammy says the one that stands out was when Reptile Encounters and Parklea arranged a photo shoot with the Pakenham Gazette to promote the 2019 Pakenham Show.
“Josh from Reptiles Encounters brought with him a very large python, a few metres long! Initially I was refusing to get in the photo because this snake just frightened me! I was then coerced to participate and somehow I didn’t end up near the tail end, but at its head. The python was particularly active that day and very interested in me, so kept moving its head very close to mine to check me out,” Tammy explained.
“I was just nervously laughing and screaming, trying not to cry from fear the whole time. The poor photographer was struggling to get a decent photo, and I was trying not to run!”
Tammy is particularly proud of her role facilitating the Kaduna Park Residents Group Committee.
“When organising a committee and looking for an expression of interest from the community for volunteers, you are always nervous that no one will put their hand up. When it came to the first meeting, I was actually overwhelmed at how many residents from the estate came along. As a result, Kaduna Park Residents Group was able to form a very strong committee immediately of passionate and dedicated volunteers from their community.
“I am so proud of each and every one of those residents who volunteer their time to this committee. They have already achieved so much in a short amount of time, and I am so happy to have been there at the beginning.”
Tammy finished up with Parklea on Friday 11 September farewelling her many colleagues.
“I will definitely miss working with the team at Parklea. From day one I have felt welcomed, part of the team and at home. After being a full time mum for nearly 12 years before coming back in to the workforce, that really helped my confidence. I found the working environment at Parklea to be one that was encouraging and supportive, and I have made some lovely friendships as a result.”
She has now turned her attention to October’s local government elections.
She said with changes to Cardinia Shire wards and the introduction of new single councillor wards, the time was right for her to pursue a role that would allow her to make a difference to the wider community.
“I am really excited about the introduction of Officer Ward, which is the ward I will be running as a candidate in. I feel that this new boundary will give residents living within this ward a stronger voice within council, as I feel that was lacking a bit in the past in a larger ward.
“After a number of years sitting in the gallery of council meetings, I have a very good understanding of the role a councillor plays within our community and I am confident that I can successfully fill that position and represent the whole community of Officer Ward around the Council table.”
If elected Tammy said her focus would be on supporting community groups and their volunteers to get up and running again after Covid, accessible mental health, maternal health and childcare and building stronger connected communities.
Parklea marketing and sales manager Jarod Mills said Tammy would be very much missed by the team and residents of Parklea communities.
“The establishment of the Kaduna Park Residents Group is the legacy she has started and this will hopefully flourish for many years to come,” Mr Mills said
”She is so very passionate about helping people and the betterment of communities.
“There is no doubt with the overwhelming response already on her Facebook page that she is a very strong candidate for the position. We all wish her good luck for the election.”
Tammy said she had loved getting to know all residents of Parklea estates.
“Your participation in events and activities, and enthusiasm to connect in a friendly and respectful manner is why you live in the wonderful amazing communities that you do today. Keep connecting and growing as a community.
“To my colleagues, thank you so much for all of your kind words of support as I embark on this journey. I may not have had the courage to do so without your support.”