To improve wellbeing and equity in local communities, BaptistCare HopeStreet, United Way Australia and Mission Australia, with other members of the Strengthening Communities Alliance, have joined forces to launch a Strengthening Communities Position Paper.
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04 May 2023
| HopeStreet, BaptistCare
Organisations call for greater focus on place-based work to strengthen communities
To improve wellbeing and equity in local communities, BaptistCare HopeStreet United Way Australia and Mission Australia with other members of the Strengthening Communities Alliance, have joined forces to launch a Strengthening Communities Position Paper and call on the Federal Government to lead systemic responses that will scale up place-based community-led initiatives across Australia.
Place-based community-led initiatives are collaborative, long-term approaches to building thriving communities where many people and organisations work together towards a shared vision for their community. The newly formed Strengthening Communities Alliance is a growing network of organisations that currently has eight members, committed to supporting this approach to creating positive social change.
The Alliance says that these initiatives lead to positive outcomes in communities where traditional service delivery models have failed despite massive financial investment in support services of around $64 billion per year across the country.
The new Paper reveals that postcodes often determine disadvantage, and a small number of communities experience complex, entrenched, persistent disadvantage.
It notes that increasingly, community members, groups, services and governments are working together to understand the drivers of disadvantage and create long-term change. However, many disadvantaged communities miss out, without the opportunity to do this type of work.
The Alliance’s paper shows what is preventing place-based community-led initiatives from expanding to more communities across Australia such as the way competitive funding processes discourage collaboration, and restrictions on access and sharing of data that would help communities make decisions about priorities and solutions.
BaptistCare HopeStreet teams working alongside people and families experiencing disadvantage see great benefits where place-based, community-led initiatives are underway.
"To create systemic change, we need the further development of place-based work. At BaptistCare HopeStreet, we know firsthand the power and impact this work has in communities and for people," said BaptistCare Community Services and Housing General Manager, Robyn Evans.
The Alliance says six key opportunities, with national leadership and support, will build the needed infrastructure and ensure more people across more locations can work together to strengthen their local community.
The Alliance’s key recommendations are for the Federal Government to develop:
The organisations note opportunities in the upcoming Federal Budget for greater Government focus on scaling up place-based community-led work.
It comes with the backdrop of recent Federal Government recognition of the value of this type of work through its Stronger Places, Stronger People initiatives and investment in the National Centre for Place-Based Collaboration (Nexus Centre).
The Strengthening Communities Summary Paper can be accessed here.
Members of the Strengthening Communities Alliance include: