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Esperance locals draft up compassion charter to help unite community

Anneke de BoerKalgoorlie Miner
Esperance resident Divyan Varghese is among the team championing a compassionate charter.
Camera IconEsperance resident Divyan Varghese is among the team championing a compassionate charter. Credit: Rosemary Henderson

A team of dedicated Esperance residents have embarked on a mission to strengthen community bonds as they spearhead a charter to help foster more compassion.

The Esperance Compassionate Community Charter is being drafted before it is put to the Esperance Shire Council for approval.

The charter is hoped to encourage businesses, clubs, families and individuals to work together to create a more “resilient” and “accepting” community.

Organiser Divyan Varghese said the charter statement would promote compassion as a foundational guiding principle.

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“In a nutshell what we’re hoping to do is create a community that is supportive, that is way more resilient and compassionate towards each other,” Mr Varghese said.

“It’s kind of like a guiding principle that the whole town can kind of refer to.”

The initiative for the charter springs from the collaboration of five Esperance people, including Mr Varghese, who participated in a Leading Australian Resilient Communities program in 2023.

The group was tasked with developing a project to benefit the Esperance community during the LARC program, and after brainstorming sessions the charter emerged as the standout idea.

Mr Varghese said the compassion charter was needed to unite the “closely knit” Esperance community now more than ever as traumatic events and controversial issues continued to cause division.

“The town has over the last few years had a lot of challenges — we’ve had the floods, we’ve had bushfires and there’s a lot of grief and loss,” he said.

“Even the new jetty was something that really divided the community in many ways as one group didn’t want the old jetty to be demolished and another group did.

“With any event or phase, there’s always a division.”

Mr Varghese said the new charter would be an opportunity to bring compassion to sensitive issues so they could be better managed.

Esperance will follow in the footsteps of other WA communities such as Albany and Bunbury, which have established compassionate charters in recent years.

Once the charter is written, it will be presented to the council Esperance for approval before going through a second phase of community consultation.

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