The Lacey family – a Community Connector Program case study

Published Feb 15, 2024 by Fiona Blick

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Partners Andrew and Samantha, with their children Isaac and Kiesha, were living and working in Beaumaris for many years, commuting to and from work and living within a tight budget.

Then COVID hit.

Samantha said the pandemic allowed them to reassess their life choices and to find another way.

“We wanted more space and a change of lifestyle, something the kids would love to grow and thrive in,” she said.

“Andrew had very fond memories of family holidays in Shepparton with warm weather and friendly people.

“So we decided to investigate the possibility of a tree change.”

It didn’t take long for Andrew to secure a job in Greater Shepparton and the whole family relocated with their pet staffy, Doug.

“We rented for four months in Batman Avenue and then purchased our beautiful home,” Samantha said.

“We love having a pool and extra space for fun, something we never had in Melbourne.

“The estate we live in is wonderful with parks and plenty of bike tracks and our children have school, their sporting activities and most importantly, friends, living close by.”

There were worries though, about moving away from extended family.

“I needed to find work and we were worried about how the kids would adjust to a new school and finding friends,” Samantha said.

“I worked from home and did struggle for a time to make a new friendship network, however, the Community Connector Coordinator at the time, Fiona Smolenaars, was great and we talked about setting up a special group on Facebook.

“We worked together to create the Shepp Newbies Facebook group, to link up with and help others like us who were starting out in Shepparton.

“We were so surprised by how welcoming everyone was and how many activities there were so close to us.”

Samantha said soon after arriving Andrew started coaching their son’s basketball team and she became the team manager for their daughter’s team.

“Greater Shepparton is a great multicultural community, full of potential and so many things to see and do within a one hour drive,” she said.

“After a couple of years, we saw an opportunity to start a business to do boutique privately guided tours around the region, to visit wineries, play golf and visit all the hidden gems in our wider region.

“So now we are the proud owner/operators of Luxury Golf and Scenic Tours Victoria!”

For more information on the Committee for Greater Shepparton’s Community Connector Program contact Coordinator Fiona Blick on 0468 562 826.

Fiona Blick

Fiona Blick


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