22 October 2022

'Annoying' customers have put Vickie in the running for a community gong

| Chris Roe
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Vickie Burkinshaw

Vickie Burkinshaw, owner of The Curious Rabbit. Photo: Shri Gayathirie Rajen.

Wagga’s Vickie Burkinshaw is well known for her work creating community within the local arts scene and for providing a space for artists, performers and coffee-loving locals at The Curious Rabbit.

She’s now been recognised as a finalist for the 2022 Community Achievement Awards in the ‘Transgrid Leadership Award’ category.

“I have some very determined, I would say annoying but determined, customers who nominated me,” she said with a laugh.

“It’s nice though because this one is really about contributing to community so, if there’s an opportunity for me to create a platform for other people and the work that they are doing, then I’m happy to do that.”

Four local heroes have been named for the ‘NSW and ACT Leadership Award’ which recognises local role models who have made their communities a better place to live, work and play.

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Transgrid CEO Brett Redman said the energy infrastructure company was proud to recognise local community builders.

“These amazing individuals have shown tenacity, dedication, selflessness and leadership to become a driving force in their local communities and chosen fields,” Mr Redman said.

Vickie is described in the nomination as a “professional facilitator, author and business coach from Wagga Wagga” recognised for “her contribution as president of the Friends of the Art Gallery and Women’s Health Centre as well as encouraging and supporting local artists and small business.”

Since taking over the bookshop cafe in 2020, Vickie’s dream of establishing a haven for creatives at The Curious Rabbit has flourished.

“I always said with starting up the business that it was an empty shell for other people’s creativity,” she explained.

“It’s been this kind of slow burn but for example, when we first started with our first drag show it was right after COVID.

“We’ve been doing drag shows once a month since then and the one that we’ve got this Sunday night is sold out.”

two women

Vickie and Wagga’s Queen of drag, Rose Quartz. Photo: The Curious Rabbit.

She said staying committed to a worthwhile idea and being persistent are important if you want to build community.

“People are generally curious, but at the same time they’re suspicious,” she said.

“So you’ve just got to keep showing up.

“We’ve found with everything that we do, the first time that we do them it’s not really well patronised but if you keep doing it regularly it will grow.”

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While she’s pleased her work has been recognised Vickie said community achievement was nothing without the community itself.

“We open the doors and if people don’t turn up, the doors get closed pretty quickly!” she laughed.

“I think it’s just really great that community have come in support of what we’re trying to do and that they’re really supporting local talent in all kinds of different genres.”

The winners will be announced at a gala presentation dinner in the Blue Mountains on November 25.

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