A big community thank you to Brittany Szlezak

by Brighton Council
Best wishes and farewell to beloved Brittany

It was with much sadness that Brighton Council said goodbye to Community Development Officer Britta­ny Szlezak in April this year due to her moving interstate. We have said our farewells to Brittany but her legacy in community development at Brighton Council and in our communities will live on for a very long time. In just 12 months Brittany built our reputation and capacity beyond what we could have ever hoped for in such a short time, and we will be forever grateful. Brittany’s story was one of building relationships, trust and giving people a voice. She operated from a place that was always person-cen­tred, trauma-informed and about making sure people were listened to and heard. To see this in action was to see Brittany’s work with the Brighton Youth Action Group (BYAG) and the creation of the Big Bangin Youth Night in Bridgewater – “Nothing about us without us”. Brit’s bravery and boldness with her ‘the worst they can do is say no’ attitude, helped our young people and the BYAG find a voice whilst having a really good time. We thank you Brittany for trusting your gut, joining the team at Brighton Council and bring­ing everyone on the journey with you.

We had a chat with Britta­ny and asked her to share a quick reflection on what the year was like for her in this newly created role.

Hi Brittany, so, leaving us so soon? Yeah, if you asked me two months ago if I thought I was moving inter­state, the answer would have been ‘no’. I had great plans to make Brighton my forever home and place of work but life has other plans it seems.

That must be hard, it looked like you were re­ally enjoying your time at Council. Would I sound like a suck up if I said Brighton Council has been the best employer I have ever had? Community work and bu­reaucracies can be difficult to balance when you’re trying to contribute to positive place-based change, but from the day I started at Council, I have been met with curiosity and a willingness from both elected members and staff to try new things and explore what community develop­ment can look like for Brigh­ton at a more strategic level. Brighton Council has become a bit of a second family for me really. They have sup­ported me to grow and take healthy risks with my work.

What’s your biggest achievement since being with Council? Definitely starting the Brighton Youth Action Group, otherwise known as the BYAG. Even before I started, I knew community was screaming out for something to be done for young people in our community, so it has been really exciting to work with community to get this up and running. Engaging with the authenticity and energy of young people is one of my fa­vourite things about commu­nity work, so I look forward to keeping an eye on how this group progresses.

What advice would you give to someone stepping into a community devel­opment role at Brighton Council? Be prepared to en­joy one of the most enriching jobs you will ever have and always remember aiming for the stars never hurt anyone so always be idealistic about what you want for communi­ty but remember things take time to change.

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A big community thank you to Brittany Szlezak
A big community thank you to Brittany Szlezak
A big community thank you to Brittany Szlezak
A big community thank you to Brittany Szlezak
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A big community thank you to Brittany Szlezak
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