Late last year several city spokespeople – perhaps taken by surprise – commented on the Gold Coast allegedly being named “kindest city in the world”. Like all good public relations fodder, it was spun into yarns linking to our preparation for the Commonwealth Games and welcoming visitors from far and wide. But some in the community had doubts.
What the? Kindest? Surely not? What about the [insert issue incongruent with your personal experience of kindness in the city]?
There was an element of truth to the rumours, however, and 2017 did see some momentum in recognition of altruism throughout the Gold Coast.
In actual fact, the Gold Coast was named the very first ‘World Kindness City’ at the World Kindness Movement’s 2017 International Congress in South Korea. The congress acknowledged that since signing up to some commitments in 2012, the city had met a set of stringent criteria, such as publicly acknowledging acts of kindness and appointing an ambassador. They’d also added to that with a few additional actions, like the accessibility program for beaches, junior council program, and services in libraries and community centres.
In late October the city also signed the international Charter for Compassion and struck a partnership with Compassionate Gold Coast (CGC). Terry Ayling, Lead Facilitator for CGC, explained that the objectives of Compassionate Gold Coast are two-fold: to inspire compassion in the Gold Coast community; and to respond to identified community needs. He said that this is achieved by facilitating respectful conversations, giving voice to the things that are already happening, and working collaboratively with other organisations.
The business sector is paying attention too. Nev Hyman, whose innovative building material business delivers affordable housing solutions for communities across the Pacific impacted by disaster and severe storm events, recently participated in the Royal Family’s Pitch @ Palace event. Nev ultimately impressed Prince Andrew, Duke of York, sufficiently to take out the Australian event, and then the global challenge at Buckingham Palace, beating out the rest of the Commonwealth.
In addition, Michael Metcalfe recently formed Kynd, a startup on the Gold Coast pairing up professional carers to those who have needs that might not be able to be met by the available providers. Metcalfe explains his focus.
“We’re empowering humanity to genuinely care, with locals helping locals, acts of kindness, smarter technology and a real community ethos,” he says.
“’Kynd’ captures that. It’s about being kind to anyone needing help, kind to the inspiring carers within our community and kind to everyone’s need for flexibility, choice and value. For too long, care has focused on policy and providers. We’re focused on people.”
With award winners, startups and even the council championing the causes of kindness and compassion, there’s no doubt that there’s a shift in the air, bedding down the Gold Coast’s reputation as a place where we can celebrate not only the beautiful beaches and hinterland, but the beautiful acts of people that make the city a great place to live. What kindness can you do today?