Our community development focus
One of our strategic community development objective is to support Council’s social development plan. In meeting the plan the centre provides a range of services and programs for people of all ages of community group in the areas of health and wellbeing, social, educational, recreational programs, information and referrals in a welcoming and supportive environment to inform how Council responds to the needs of the community related to equitable access effective & efficient use of resources, sustainable community involvement, respect for diversity, collaboration and partnership development by creating a sense of belonging in the community.
Initial step understand the community
Knowing the community entails understanding it in a number of perspectives. To truly understand the specific community, you’re with. You have to get to know its people…. Their culture, their concerns, and relationships----- and to develop your own relationship as well. For example, a Chinse woman may become an intensively involved member of the ethnic and cultural community of her Sudanese husband. Whichever community defines your work, you will want to get to know it well.
Second step Know the physical characteristics:
- Get a map of the community and drive and/or workaround
- Gather information as much as possible
- Describe the characteristics of
Taking the time and effort to understand your community well before embarking on a community effort will pay off in the long term. A good way to accomplish that is to create a community description:
- A record of your exploration and findings it is good to gain a comprehensive overview of the community….
- What is now, what it’s been in the past, and what it could be in the future?
Through these information (i.e. via surveys, interviews and key community informants) To address these needs specific programs or services may therefore need to be provided for certain target groups for specific social issues or unique circumstances in relevant geographic locations. In this regard Centre programs & services provided to the community in line with council’s social planning priority areas as briefly summarized below.
Working in partnership with various community groups with a belief no matter how strong individually we are it is much worth working in collaboration with others sharing experiences and skills in many ways with this notion we provide auspice support to different community groups that can promote community service delivery at large as each group individually or severally has different but useful approaches that we as individual we can't do everything.
Provide support to those who have talents, interest and skills individually and severally in a group but who can not run or implement a community development project by their own and we help them being a guarantor.
Auspicing a community group
As part of our Community service delivery we support various community groups either individually or as a group to accomplish their aimed community service projects. In this regard Walker Close is a spring board providing such services to community groups which has been beneficial to the community in many ways.
Auspice means to provide support, sponsorship or guidance run through Auspice Agreement with the group being known as the "auspice" and the incorporated organisation being known as the 'auspicor". When using an Auspice Agreement, the relationship can be described as one where the Group will be carrying out the project under the auspices of the incorporated organisation ( or Auspicing body). Three things to consider:
- Auspicing:-is an arrangement where one organisation agrees to receive project funds on behalf of another group running the project.
- Grant funding:- Seeking funding is an ongoing challenge for many non-for-profits. It's important not to forget the legal aspects of seeking funding, especially when entering into funding agreement.
- Mememorandun of Understaning:- Using a memorandum of understanding is a less way for two organisatioins to work together.
The resoan auspicing has evolved is because an unincorporated group may find it difficult to obtain funding such as grants, as fudnign boidies generally prefer to deal with an incorporated legal entity rather than a group or individuals.
- It is to provide support, sponsorship and guidance;
- the group enquired auspicing is to be non-incorporated;
- it is like a subcontracting agreement;
- auscipicing arrangement is a legally binding contract;
- it sets the legal obligations of both parties.
- Grant funding often requires that a recipient is incorporated
What type of projects supported?
- One-off projects such as exhibition, concerts;
- pilots projects or programs;
- to start-up groups, local play groups, youth groups, program competitions etc..
- Professional support and advice;
- Manage the finances and keep track of the balance; and
- Insurance cover.
Before entering into contract both parties need to have clear understanding of the project aims and the funding body requirements;
- Clearly define the location and project timeframe.
- Have a clear project definition and its benefits; and
- Complete MoU (memorandum Of Understating) entering in to a more specific and comprehensive contract agreement apart from Auscipicing agreement.
Some of the auspiced group projects which have been successfully achieved.
Cultivate leadership for women:
In partnership with Victoria University Polytechnic and Hobsons Bay City Council, the Walker Close Community Centre supported 24 women from Altona North, Brooklyn and surrounding suburbs to participate in a Community Leadership Program over 16 weeks. This has been an important step in cultivating local women’s community leadership.
- Some of these women have gone on to become Portfolio Advisory Committee members at Council taking up a civic leadership role.
- Others have developed local community initiatives and projects designed to foster community connections and capacity in addressing local needs.
- Others still, have joined local community groups bringing new skills, confidence and community leadership knowledge
Walker Close Community Centre provided this program and these women with a safe, flexible and nurturing environment for their learning. The staff and volunteers at Walker Close Community Centre provided mentorship and support over and beyond what was expected of them. Walker Close is auspicing who do run their community projects.
La PasseggART Visual Arts Together
An art program delivered by La PasseggART at Walker Close Community Centre and Brooklyn Hall provided many of our disadvantaged and diverse community members with opportunities to learn new skills, and avenue for artistic self-expression, and the space to socialise with other members of the community. The program was well received by the community members attending there was laughter and great pride in the artistic masterpieces created by participants. It was great to see quite a number of people with disability experience positive ways of being part of the community, interacting socially and artistically with others in a very warm and relaxed environment.
- The program attracted and benefited more than 35 and included people coming from diverse circumstances such as being early onset dementia,
- homelessness, experiencing grief, being socially and culturally deprived, recuperating and adjusting to life post-paralysis, as well as those coming from aged care settings such as Lionsville Wintrinham, Williamstown and TLC Marina, Altona North. The disability organisations of Annecto and Scope valued the opportunities, social interactions and artistic engagement that Visual Arts Together provided their clients.
The Little Street Library Project
The project aim is to increase literacy through a love of reading anytime, anywhere at the readers own pace. The project was run in partnership with the group led by Maria James, Altona Gate Shopping Centre Management, Hobsons Bay Men’s Shed and Walker Close Community Centre funded by Hobsons Bay City Council as part of Cultivate Women’s Leadership program
• The project has created a ripple effect as from the success of this project came the seed of an idea for 20 more street libraries (in and around Altona North) which was then launched on Neighbourhood Day March 2019.
• The reading tree has made the spot an inviting space for reading and interacting for the community at large (shoppers take books to the coffee shops and sit and read there).
• The tree has encouraged and invited community members to share their interest in books.
• We have promoted literacy in the form of reading and have a steady stream of families visiting and borrowing/exchanging books.
• It has created interest from interstate visitors as well.
Embrace the future and Respect the past
The project involves the Free Altona Theatre Group to create a performance involving around the concerns and learning experienced by both parents and children of migrant families in Australia.
The performance was presented at the Laverton Community Hub over two consecutive evenings to the general public and was well received by the community that attended the performances. The project group was able to learn new skills and discover new abilities, provided a welcoming atmosphere to share migrant family experience in open discussion with guest
“Community Interactive Green space”
There has been tremendous support from the local Bunnings store, Altona Community Garden Corporation in the form of advice and support, Hobsons Bay City Council, as well as local interest in the garden from the community.
The project that made a difference in the community:
There is a community garden growing healthy food.
A space is developed for ongoing community interaction and life-long learning opportunities.
- We have created a green space for community members to interact and participate in learning about healthy and sustainable food sources.
- We have made it an inviting space for learning and interacting for the community at large.
- We have encouraged and invited community to invest in healthy living through making healthy food choices.
- We have promoted the environmental sustainability and community well-being through various meetings and discussions.
- We have raised issues such as food security concerns with the community as well
partnership programs and projects
One of our community development initiative is working in partnership with schools, to teach students in a more practical approach. This year we participated on the program designed by Altona North Primary School (“wise ones & young one’s chat session”) topic
The program aim was to share the experiences of the mature to the young school children on the topics where the young and elderly will have different information and stories on tables setting choices made by The Wise at Walker Close session and then tables setting choices made by The Young at the ANPS session
This sessional program has been great to share Wise Ones experiences to the Young Ones. The Young Ones again practice the knowledge by debriefing to the Wise Ones. This was a good technic to transfer knowledge to the young whilst building their confidence and communication skills
During both sessions, there are multiple topics of discussion between the two groups sitting around the table. The topics where the young and elderly will have different information and stories to share and can learn from each other. At each table an ANPS student ( a Young One) sitting on one side , and an elderly person who has a relationship with Walker Close Community Centre ( a Wise One), sitting across over the time the bell rings after two minutes and the Young Ones will rotate tables and start a new conversation with the new Wise Ones.
Health & ageing well
Building community connection is vital in this regard, so the centre provides opportunities for people to actively participate in community activities & more effective use of community facilities as meeting & participation points between group of people such as weightlifters group, bone booster group & socialization group which encourages culturally diverse groups to participate in the life of community.
The Centre provides flexible support service to people with disabilities to participate in a recreational activity combing physical fitness & exercise with social activities & creating awareness of council services to those who are older & isolate. Encourage them by providing useful information a sense of inclusion & a means of possibility to meet their individual needs depending on their level of ability & interests.
The centre delivers services that are accessible & responsive to the need of young people & children with the opportunities that acknowledge and are reflective of the diversity. The services vary accordingly to the individuals and their age groups which includes youth drop in services, self-defense training, music & dance such the dance dreamers, Calisthenics dance. The Chin and Cook Islander youth choir variety of opportunities for youth to come together & share their experience & cultures. Encourage and acknowledging young people’s support and positive contributions to the community and local organizations is vital to continuing the running of such programs the for the future generations.
Other social & community skill building services
The centre provides services to mothers group to participate in their new life skills meeting new friends. Provide further encouragement of cultural/ethnically diverse groups to participate in the life of the community. Ensure the use of facilities & spaces are affordable to the community, maintain clean environment, retain & expand connection of individuals & groups to the community. Encourage, support & undertake events & activities which bring people together including cultural events; recreation & leisure activities.