Out Of The Box
This award category is proudly presented by ZEST Event Sponsor – Solaris Paper.
- Must demonstrate they have made an extraordinary change in the community utilising a unique or innovative approach.
Connected is an ‘Adult Language Learning through Drama’ program partnership between Western Sydney University and Sydney Theatre Company. Connected combines drama approaches with English language learning, for refugees, asylum seekers and migrants. The program is delivered through weekly workshops at 11 sites, 9 of which are based in Western Sydney. Since 2016, the project has partnered with organisations including Australian Red Cross, Asylum Seekers Centre and MTC Australia. The program has allowed participants to perceive their culture and language as being of value in the new cultural context. The program’s innovative use of folk-tales allows everyone a common imaginative language in which to dream and grow.
Child Protection Team
Hume Community Housing, in partnership with Parramatta City Council, Evolve Housing, Western Sydney Local Health District and FACS Parramatta formed a ‘lived experience’ leadership of people experiencing group hoarding disorder to support those with hoarding issues and to maintain tenancies in a safe and sustainable way. The Collectives meet monthly and have contributed to an educational forum for 80 support service staff, developed fact sheets on help and hoarding and presented at the National Hoarding and Squalor Conference. The Collectives have delivered training and education sessions to local health district staff, community housing providers, FACS Housing, local council, and a variety of other services.
Evolving Green Energy Action Initiative
Evolve Housing’s sustainability program, the Evolving Green Energy Action Initiative, began in May 2017. Evolving Green provides energy efficient equipment to the homes of residents, reducing their bills, while using less power and reducing carbon emissions; effectively working towards ending energy poverty. This initiative provides low-income households in the Evolve Housing cohort with the ability to choose otherwise unaffordable, greener technology. The wellbeing of clients is increased with this initiative, enabling them to live more sustainably. The works completed to date deliver savings to residents and Evolve of $1.94m over the next decade and reduce the need to purchase over 745,000 kWh of energy.
Meditech’s ‘My Biz’ program was designed to support people living with disability who wish to self-manage their personal business. Funded through NDIS or iCare, participants are supported through mentoring, coaching assistance and advice. The aim of the program is to equip participants with the skills and tools to be able to manage their funding package as independently as possible. Participants choose the level of control they would like to have and are supported to develop the skills and systems they require, to independently manage their funding package over time. As participants become increasingly independent, Lifetime Care expenditure on individual ‘case management’ services reduce, along with existing barriers to economic participation.
CORE Community Services and Why Documentaries partnered to deliver #choicenotforce, a media campaign raising awareness about support available to people affected by forced marriage. The project targeted South Western Sydney. It involved high school students in providing feedback on the media and encouraged them to share the campaign message through their networks. A total of 77 people (17 teachers, 51 service providers and nine youth ambassadors) were trained in this campaign, with tools to identify, support and provide appropriate referrals for young people who may be affected by forced marriage.
Barnardos Auburn Children’s Family Centre
Auburn Children’s Family Centre has been an integral part of the Auburn community for the past 44 years. The Centre and its staff reflect the rich cultural diversity of the local community, building trust and channels for communication. The first of Barnardos Australia’s innovative Children’s Family Centres, Auburn offers a range of integrated welfare and children’s services to support families in need. These programs include: sexual assault counselling, domestic violence support, family preservation support, a Long Day Care Centre and transitional accommodation for families who are homeless. The Centre is recognised as a safe space, to which families can turn for help.
The Cumberland Council Child Protection Team
Cumberland Council is the first council in NSW to develop a Child Protection framework. This involves the formation of a Team and Policy that integrate relevant recommendations from the Royal Commission into Institutional Child Abuse (2017). Through the Child Protection Policy, Cumberland has established itself as a leader in child protection across the local government sector and continues to progress towards being deemed a child safe organisation, in line with principles outlined by the NSW Office of the Children’s Guardian. Cumberland Council leads other Western Sydney local councils in this approach to supporting the rights of children and is committed to implementations that work toward their protection, safety and wellbeing.
Community Migrant Resource Cente’s Future Focused! Speaker Series is a public speaking/leadership program that provides a platform for refugee youth to reframe their lived experiences and through motivational speaking. Stories of courage are developed into transformative narratives and instructional tools, delivered as Future Focused! sector development training, to over 20 services. Parents, siblings and carers engaged with the planning stages of the project, so they were able to make decisions in both supporting participation and actively engaging in program content. Youth participants gained confidence, public speaking experience and better employment prospects, and trainees and organisations gained many benefits, including an understanding of unconscious biases and service gaps in relation to young people from refugee backgrounds.
Garden Flat Expo
The Garden Flat Expo was organised to encourage homeowners in the Blue Mountains and Nepean district to build a small garden flat in their backyard and rent it out. Designed to be low–cost, garden flats of around 20-25m2 provide an income for homeowners and tackle the shortage of affordable permanent housing. The Expo was held at the Blue Mountains Theatre and Community Hub in Springwood and over 500 people attended the event, with 88% attendees from the Blue Mountains. Feedback from the day indicates 55% of participants were highly interested in building a garden flat and 44% of those people are highly likely to rent the flat to someone who has been homeless.
Navigating Resettlement was an innovative, one-year collaborative research project between SydWest Multicultural Services and Western Sydney University to understand the educational aspirations of refugees and migrants aged between 15-25 in the Blacktown area. The research project commenced in September 2016, concluded in July 2017 and the Report was published in July 2018. This project utilised creative media and mentors, to engage, encourage and assist participants transitioning to life in Western Sydney. The project developed a replicable, culturally appropriate mentoring model, and the Report provided a series of recommendations to inform future youth policy and programs with government, community services and other stakeholders, including embedment into WSU’s foundation education program.
RIGHT HERE. RIGHT NOW.
RIGHT HERE. RIGHT NOW. was a three and a half hour, contemporary, place-based experience in the heart of Blacktown, featuring performances, installation, music, film and food. Made in collaboration with more than 25 young emerging Western Sydney artists, it unveiled five newly-commissioned artworks. RIGHT HERE. RIGHT NOW. invited audiences to experience site-specific works, presented in restaurants, arcades and public spaces along Blacktown’s iconic Main Street. Ticket–holders dined together at local Persian, Ethiopian and Afghan restaurants as the project provoked rich conversations, around the concepts of culture, identity and place. RIGHT HERE. RIGHT NOW. generated a three-week festival on the streets of Blacktown, with media interest reaching over 17 million people, across news and social media.
Tausala – Uniquely YOU
The vision of the Tausala Space Uniquely YOU project is to have conversations about women’s issues, challenges and strengths so that every Pacific Woman (Tausala) is enabled to understand and accept her uniqueness. The aim is working towards collective power and passion, to express a healthy soul, body and spirit. Tausala supports women to be better leaders in the wider community and to bridge gaps, through the preservation of a rich, diverse, cultural heritage. Tausala creates a safe environment for all women; respecting confidentiality, whilst empowering and training women to have confidence, skills and practices for fiscal responsibility and creating opportunities for social and economic development.
The 2168 Children’s Parliament
The 2168 Children’s Parliament initiative advocates for the rights of children. The program operates in partnership between Liverpool City Council and Mission Australia, under the Australian Government-funded 2168 Communities for Children program. The program’s benefits include supporting and mentoring of student leadership, with Western Sydney University’s Whitlam Institute, to develop knowledge and skills in human rights, governance and the rights of youth. The program exemplifies cross-sector collaboration, by bringing together Catholic and public schools and raising awareness of local, national and international issues. Students work with government representatives, police, policy-makers and business and community leaders, and experience the empowerment of being heard.