Empowerment Through Wellness: Arming Rural and Regional Communities with Resilience 

May 13, 2024 | Blog Articles

by Kate Szymanski, Quest for Life Facilitator

Quest facilitators regularly travel to rural and regional communities grappling with the aftermath of trauma or natural disasters. Our mission: to offer transformative one-day workshops brimming with empowerment and practical insights for community members. Participants glean invaluable techniques and strategies from us to bolster their resilience, equipping them with the tools needed to navigate their specific life challenges.

Hitting the road

We had a bit of a false start when fellow Quest Facilitator Kate Kilby and Gidget (her gorgeous service dog) picked me up in Dubbo for our awesome road trip. Perhaps not ideal for me to have left my phone and handbag in someone else’s car heading in the opposite direction… and not knowing a single mobile phone number by heart! Thankfully, both Kate and Gidget have an excellent sense of humour, so all was forgiven. With the all-important road trip snacks, playlists, and podcasts (with phone and handbag now retrieved) packed, the journey began.

Anyone who knows me knows what a cloud nut I am, so constant access to 180-degree views of the sky is so my jam. This meant as I was snapping pic after pic, poor Kate and Gidget had to listen to my constant oohing and ahhing. The skies out there are incredible, though. Their beauty amazed us and literally stopped us in our tracks, needing to pull over several times to view, unencumbered by the windscreen.

We enjoyed the hospitality shown to us in both Bourke and Warren NSW and took in some of the sights. With both Kates being absolute cricket tragics, our trip wouldn’t have been complete without a pic with a cricketing great.

The skies out there are incredible!
The rural landscape had us captivated.

Gilgandra – Kate’s home town

Many that we spoke to out west shared similar challenges, ranging from isolation and financial pressures to the long-term impacts of Covid, the drought, and limited access to health and other essential services.

Kate K is originally from Gilgandra, so we were welcomed with open arms to her hometown. The CWA do some incredible work in the community and hosted us at their beautiful hall that had everything we needed, including all the tech equipment and experts (thanks, Warren!). No surprise, it also had a well-equipped kitchen that provided some delicious morning tea and lunch.

“Many valuable tools for daily life presented. This regional workshop is such a gift to communities in such remote areas.”

– Sally, Gilgandra

We spent the day with a fantastic group of women who really valued the tools and strategies we offered. They also shared some of their own pearls of wisdom and were keen for us to return, so the information could be shared with more of the community.

An amazingly artistic windmill.
Thank you to CWA in Gilgandra for use of their beautiful hall!

On to Trundle

Our next stop was the quaint town of Trundle, famous for having the widest main street in NSW with a population of 335 captured at the last census. Remarkably, it was our biggest turnout of all the workshops, with a wonderfully diverse group of people. Trundle is an inspiringly supportive community that has seen its fair share of challenge, with one of our participants having just lost their home and all its contents to a fire the week before. Another community keen for us to return.

“These worthwhile sessions were inclusive with the group. Personal stories really gave an insight into different challenges. Easy to understand and options given to the group to interact and engage.”

– Helen, Trundle
The very enthusiastic group in Gilgandra.
Many beautiful sunsets along the way.
The priviledge of a captive audience!

Kate K had far more legitimacy as a country-girl, born and bred in Gilgandra. So, the education to the city slicker fell completely in her lap. There was a myriad of conversations about free ranging wildlife constantly popping out of the long grass along the side of the road, farming, weather, and the potential treachery of driving too fast at dusk when scores of roos were traveling parallel to us at the same speed. She was (nearly) speechless and suitably impressed when I managed to throw in an example that included getting stuck behind a ‘header’ on a one-laned road. Her work was complete.

“Everyone would benefit from the information discussed in this workshop. So empowering to know that with a few techniques leant here, can have such a positive impact on my life.”

– Pam, Trundle

We are looking forward to our next trip and want to express our heartfelt gratitude for those who attended our workshops and made us feel so welcome in their communities.

Until next time, we wish you and yours all the best.

Kate, Kate & Gidget x

Support for those in regional areas

As a charity, we rely on income from donations from people like you to subsidise the cost of attendance at our residential programs and to facilitate our free community outreach workshops in regional communities.

By donating to Quest, you’re helping other people grow through their biggest challenges. This, in turn, ripples out to create a more compassionate society that supports and encourages each of its members.

Your donation will help people on limited incomes or people in need of respite after a natural disaster by helping to cover the cost of their attendance at one of our programs. Donations will also be used to deliver more community workshops in regional areas for those who can’t travel to Bundanoon.

Thank you for your consideration and support.

Petrea King
CEO and Founder
Quest for Life Foundation

Upcoming residential program dates

Browse our Events Schedule for specific program information and dates.

Funding Options for Residential Programs


Quest subsidises all privately or self-funded places to ensure the cost of our programs remains affordable to individuals. This allows us to reduce the fee from $4,400 to $2,800.

$2,200 Shared room (Early bird* $2,100 – must be paid 30 days in advance)
$2,800 Single room (Early bird* $2,700 – must be paid 30 days in advance)

Fees effective 1 July 2023.

Subsidies and Financial Help

Through generous grants, donations and fundraising, additional subsidies and financial help is available for a range of circumstances and anyone experiencing financial stress will be considered. We review each case individually and we do not means test. All applications are conducted via phone with a friendly member of the Programs intake team.


Quest is a registered NDIS Provider. Residential Programs can be funded through plan-managed and self-managed NDIS plans.


We work with Department of Veteran Affairs (DVA) White Card or Gold Card holders to make applications to the DVA Health Approvals Board.

Worker’s Comp Insurance

Residential programs can be covered by workers compensation insurance on a case-by-case basis.

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1300 941 488