Taking the chance to GROW

Blog Post
June 15, 2023
March 5, 2024

Margaret, Amos and their children were the first family to move to Leeton through the NSW Growing Regions of Welcome (GROW) pilot program.

Many say that regional Australia is the beating heart of our country – the place where everyone is welcome, every stranger is a friend you’re yet to meet, and where opportunities abound.It’s also the focus of the NSW Growing Regions of Welcome program (GROW), a life-changing initiative that supports interested people from migrant and refugee backgrounds to find new lifestyle and employment opportunities throughout regional NSW.Currently underway in the Murray and Riverina regions, the three-year pilot program hopes to improve outcomes for both new arrivals and local communities by offering a collaborative approach to regional resettlement. These newcomers often have under-utilised skills, qualifications and experience, which are both needed and appreciated in rural Australia.

Local produce from the weekend market in Leeton

Finding new opportunities through NSW GROW

Margaret Jemeli, Amos Talam and their two beautiful children – originally from Kenya – were living in Western Sydney when they came to Australia. Little did they know this wasn’t to be their forever home. That, in fact, they would be the first family to move to regional Leeton through the NSW GROW program.The family connected with the GROW program through the Regional Employment Hub delivered by the Australian Red Cross in Western Sydney. The idea of living a quiet life away from the big city appealed to Margaret and Amos, and after learning about the lifestyle and work opportunities that were available in Leeton, they decided to take the plunge. With new jobs locked in, the young family moved from the bright lights of Sydney to the twinkling stars of Leeton.Since taking their tree change in February 2023, the family hasn’t looked back. Margaret enjoys her roles as a Project Officer with Stahmann Webster, the largest and most advanced walnut processing plant in Australia, while Amos is working as a Disability Support Worker at Griffith Post School Options (GPSO).The young family is thoroughly enjoying life in Leeton, thanks to great work opportunities, a welcoming local community and all the support provided through the GROW program. Their children are also loving their tree change, particularly the wide open spaces, outdoor playgrounds and new travelling adventures that came along with it.

Family from Leeton, Australia next to a sunset
Fivebough Wetlands (left), Margaret Jemeli and Amos Talam (right)

Life in laidback Leeton

Those who know Leeton know it’s a fantastic place to raise a young family. The shire offers plenty of desirable drawcards – from quality schools, Tocal College and a TAFE campus, to abundant sporting and recreational facilities, including the Leeton Sport & Recreation Precinct, home of the Leeton Galloping Greenies Rugby League Football Club, the Leeton United Football Club and the Leeton Phantoms Rugby Union Club.Known as the ‘Heart of Australia’s Food Bowl’, Leeton is also a major food production area and home to the impressive Murrumbidgee Irrigation Area. Featuring beautiful architecture and a rich history, Leeton also boasts some gorgeous natural scener, including the RAMSAR-listed Fivebough and Tuckerbil Wetlands.Leeton’s inclusive nature and good-old country hospitality make it a welcoming place for newcomers. With an abundance of employment opportunities and a wealth of innovation and enterprise happening in the area, Leeton may just be the tree change you’ve been searching for.

Sunrice Festival in Leeton, Australia
SunRice Festival, Leeton

Plenty of ways to fill the day

There is just so much to do in Leeton, the biggest problem you’ll have is working out how to fit it all in!

Selection of sports to do this summer in Leeton, Australia
Wakeboarder (left), Rugby League (middle), Skate Competition (right)

Margaret’s thoughts on her tree-change experience

We asked Margaret to share some of her thoughts about her tree change to Leeton. She said, ‘The move to Leeton was the best choice despite some challenges. The community here are welcoming and supportive people. And even thought I thought it would be rural life, I was very wrong! I would like to tell anyone who wants to move to a regional place that they will like it. Everything is the same as the city, but with less stress and busyness!’

If you’re interested in learning more about the GROW pilot program or what life is like in Leeton, visit the GROW program page or visit the Country Change Town Page. If you have any other questions, please contact us today so we can help guide your Country Change.

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