Exceptional Project within a
Not for Profit Organisation
Not for Profit Organisation
This award category is proudly presented by ZEST Event Leader – Western Sydney Community Forum.
- Must demonstrate evidence of how an extraordinary project within an organisation has achieved a powerful impact (with its target group) beyond the anticipated/ planned outcomes predicted.
- Must provide evidence of the positive impact this project has achieved in Greater Western Sydney, within a locality or across the region.
BYDS RESPECT project has been running for five years, influencing thousands of young men and boys from Bankstown and surrounds to evaluate attitudes to gender equality. In 2018, the project released their 20th video clip and nine original songs and videos were produced during the year, with 145 boys developing skills including song writing, beat making, rapping, dancing and live performance. The 12-week process for each song is led by young, local role models employed to co-deliver the program. The project is viewable on YouTube and RESPECT videos are widely used as a resource, helping more young men to access the message that violence in relationship is never OK.
Heckenberg Connections is a project run by Liverpool Neighbourhood Connections, situated in the most disadvantaged region in NSW, right in the middle of the 2168 postcode. Over the past year, the centre provided 650 free food parcels and 950 Dinners for Four, at low cost. More than 4,000 people attended the centre, which also provided 330 referrals and 80 assisted referrals. People assisted included women dealing with domestic violence issues and families suffering hardship, homelessness and housing stress. Support included administrative activities such as completing forms, making appointments, engaging with Centrelink, applying for jobs, completing resumes and setting up payment plans with utility companies.
The Safe Children, Safe Families Program
The Safe Children, Safe Families (SCSF) program aims to prevent the maltreatment of children, enhance family and community capacity, protect children from abuse and harm, and to build emotional intelligence, resilience and connectedness in families and their communities. The program utilises a triad-model, through the provision of education to pre-school children, early educators and parents/carers. The aims of the program are to equip participants with information and skills, to avoid potentially abusive situations and to access help, if abuse occurs. Feedback and evaluation indicate a strong, positive increase in awareness and a wide appreciation of the value of this initiative.
Assertive Outreach Team
Platform Youth Services’ Assertive Outreach Team (AOT) works to provide targeted outreach services in the Nepean, Blue Mountains and Hawkesbury regions. Their model is based on delivering services and comprehensive support to vulnerable people, assisting them to overcome barriers that prevent them from accessing traditional services. The AOT identify and locate young people aged 16 to 25 who are sleeping rough and couch–surfing. In 2017- 2018, the AOT supported 90 young people, with approximately 55% of these young people securing housing options at the end of the support period.
HopeWalk is a grassroots movement for those who have been touched by suicide. Partnering with other organisations and community groups, HopeWalk seeks to provide a platform for suicide prevention, specifically targeted but also open to all members of the community. During 2018 Mental Health Awareness month, 330 individuals of all ages walked the streets of Macquarie Fields to raise awareness. Youth and elders collaborated to plan and implement the project, with support from local community organisations. The strong involvement of the Pacific Islander community in HopeWalk is ground-breaking, as it represents a departure from a widespread attitude regarding mental health topics as being taboo.
Barnardos Auburn Transitional Accommodation Program
Barnardos’ Transitional Accommodation Program (TAP) is embedded within Barnardos’ Auburn Children’s Family Centre along with eight other welfare programs and a Long Day Care Centre, providing integrated service delivery and wraparound services for children, young people and families. In 2017-18, TAP supported 171 people, led by three full-time case-workers and a manager who supported families housed in 10 properties throughout Auburn. There are four units onsite at the Centre, and six properties within the local community for larger families. SCARF (Supporting Children and Responding to Families) assessments provide the basis for intensive family support, to strengthen families and move them into permanent housing.
Barnardos Youth Support Program
The Barnardos Youth Support Program is run as part of the Auburn Children’s Family Centre. The program is for children identified as struggling, or who have had trouble settling into school, and is run by two male Youth and Family support workers in local primary schools. Staff work with children to prepare them for high school, helping them to recognise their strengths and discussing how they can draw on their resilience. Twenty-five children and young people were supported through the Transition to High School group, with improved behaviour in 59%, and 85% achieving moderate or high attendance at the program’s end, compared with 63% at the start.
Child Inclusive Practice Model Within a Domestic and Family Violence Case Management Framework
In 2018, South West Sydney Legal Centre domestic violence case management services developed a child-inclusive case management practice and training module, utilising excess funding from 2016-2017. In 2018, the child inclusive model was implemented across 19 families, 31 children and 22 young people within Fairfield, Liverpool and Bankstown, with the engagement of a child-inclusive practitioner three days per week. Programs include two ‘Wrapped in Angel’ resilience-based groups for children and two ‘Circle of Security’ parenting programs for mothers, including one for the Arabic speaking community. Currently, the project funds a CIP for one day per week to support the project, focusing on restoration and repair of mother-child relationships.
Community Innovation Fund
The Community Innovation Fund (CIF) asks southwest Sydney community members, groups and organisations to propose ideas to support people from newly-arrived refugee backgrounds. Using a collaborative, strengths-based model, the CIF fosters community solutions and demonstrates that newcomers can be a catalyst for change. Ideas are eligible for up to $10,000 to realise the project. Intensive support is provided through collaborative partnerships. SSI works with NSW Settlement Partnership, local governments, community groups, leaders and organisations, pooling strengths to support the development of projects. Established in 2018, the CIF has funded 12 projects in two rounds, helping build awareness, connection and mobilisation of community strengths.
Community Links Wellbeing
Community Links Wellbeing staff have offered free assistance to people applying for the NDIS in the Macarthur area. This year, a staff member provided outreach services free of charge, with no funding, in community service offices throughout the region. This staff member made support and time available to those in need of accessing the service, recognising the extreme need for support of this kind and the lack of availability for some people in accessing the support. The staff member reached multiple people applying for the NDIS in 2018, and is highly sought-after for their expertise, efficiency and positive impact in the community.
Community Visitors Scheme
Riverstone Neighbourhood Centre Community Visitors Scheme (CVS) organises volunteers to visit isolated older people in their homes and residential aged care facilities. An innovative element to the program has been engaging a group of older men in permanent care at the Quakers Hill Nursing Home. Picked up once a fortnight to spend two hours at the CVS men’s shed, they engage in meaningful activities, share knowledge and contribute to new projects. The program also provides opportunities to socialise with other men, work in the community garden and participate in programs, such as youth mentoring.
Cook + Connect
Blue Mountains Food Services developed the Cook + Connect program in 2017, in response to community consultation. Cook + Connect is a skills development program for people living with a disability. The 10-week program gives participants an opportunity to experience hands-on cooking activities and to gain skills in food preparation, safe food handling and safe work practices.
Participants learn about nutrition, shopping, budgeting and meal planning. The model complements goals set in individuals’ NDIS plans, such as working towards independent living. Cook + Connect also provides social interaction and an opportunity to develop independence and friendships.
Employment and Learning Opportunities Program
Hume provides homes and services to more than 4,000 customers across Western Sydney: building properties, managing tenancies and providing services and support through partnerships with organisations such as Whitelion, UnitingCare and key partners. Established in 2014, the Employment and Learning Opportunities Program supports customers to set and achieve goals and to improve their economic independence. The program has provided direct support, employment and training opportunities to more than 220 customers and is underpinned by the principle that everyone has the potential to contribute.
My Voice Our Journey
The My Voice Our Journey (MVOJ) project uses drama as a medium to empower participants from refugee and migrant backgrounds, through weekly sessions over eight months. Sessions introduced participants to a range of performance techniques, such as script development and collaborative writing, stage communication, body techniques, building character, rehearsal, performance and cultural awareness – including first nations Aboriginal Culture. The MVOJ group worked towards developing and performing a live performance at Casula Powerhouse, to an audience of more than 300 people in Refugee Week 2018. Participants aged from 21 to over 65 shared stories during the project, aiming to break social isolation, build skills and knowledge.
Paint Cumberland REaD
Cumberland Council Community Reading Boxes transported literacy out of doors and into the community, through the ‘Take a Book, Leave a Book’ model. In addition to boxes launched in March 2018, a series of twilight storytelling sessions for families took place in parks across the local government area. Led by Council’s Paint Cumberland REaD team, the project worked to improve literacy and numeracy in Cumberland families and aimed to de–formalise literacy, making books more accessible through community engagement. With 26.5% of Cumberland’s children indicated as being developmentally vulnerable in at least one domain (2015, AEDC), the Team eagerly anticipates the 2018 AECD data release.
Small and Emerging Leadership Communities
The Small and Emerging Leadership Communities (SELC) Project aimed to build the corporate capacity of aspiring community leaders, from Sudan, South Sudan, Ethiopia and Eritrea who have settled in Western Sydney – particularly in Parramatta, Blacktown, Nepean, Fairfield and Liverpool areas. A tailored training program was delivered, in tandem with mentoring, to provide ongoing support, guidance and practical information: a unique, impactful approach. The project was delivered in partnership with 12 other community organisations, local governments and training providers. The 15 SELC participants represented six grassroots African community associations, with all participants reporting improved knowledge and skills on areas of leadership, community organisation, governance, funding and finance elements of organisations.
Syrian Incubator Hub
Community Migrant Resource Centre’s (CMRC) Syrian Incubator Hub addresses complex challenges faced by newly-arrived youth from refugee and migrant backgrounds, harnessing the skill sets, enterprise and agency of young people. The Syrian Incubator Hub shows youth thrive when given the opportunity to share ideas and co-design solutions. Syrian youth are employed with CMRC’s Youth Transition Support Program on quarterly contracts, with a blend of formal KPIs and mechanisms that support planning and goal-setting. A co-located learning space has seen a significant increase in wellbeing indicators and enterprise ideas. The Hub has assisted 84 clients in 2018, identifying labour market gaps, organising family connector days and running accelerator programs for website developers.
LOST IN BOOKS
LOST IN BOOKS is a multilingual children’s bookshop, café, safe women’s space, all-ages creative hub, and literacy/language exchange centre. Since its beginning, 58 active inducted volunteers have contributed over 1,040 working hours, more than 1,500 attendances were recorded, and 11 bilingual women have trained in seven languages as multilingual storytellers, in partnership with TAFE Ultimo. LOST IN BOOKS promotes multilingualism, and brings an adaptive, programmatic approach that responds to an identified community need, while promoting literacies, skills, capacity, confidence, connectedness and personal effectiveness of the families and individuals who engage and inform these activities.
Based on insights from comparable services on the NSW North Coast, Wentworth Community Housing – supported by Platform Youth Services and SydWest Multicultural Services – led Tenancies Plus. The project aimed to provide real estate property managers with an understanding of services available to people who experience difficulty in sustaining their tenancies. It was hoped that by assisting property managers to develop techniques for speaking with people who are impacted by childhood trauma, relations could be improved, and tenancies salvaged as a result. This forum was the first of its kind in Western Sydney, with more than 60 people attending, including 30 property managers who overwhelmingly reported positive impacts from the event.
Platform Youth Services – Early Intervention Team
Platform Youth Services Early Intervention Team provides support for children and young people aged 12 to 25 who are at risk of becoming homeless or who have recently become homeless in the Nepean, Hawkesbury and Blue Mountains regions. Since starting in mid-2018, the program has assisted 92 young people, 20% of whom were Aboriginal. At the end of the support period, 25% were employed, 27% were engaged in education or training, with a further 14% still engaged with the service attending school or training.