What is Community Development?
Community Development involves ways of working which empower people to make changes in their community on issues that affect them. It means bringing people together to work on solutions that will benefit their community. An enthusiastic and committed Community Development team work to empower communities to meet their aspirations and respond to areas of concern. The City’s approach to community development comprises four steps:
- Ask residents what they like about their suburb, what they’d like to see and what areas are of concern to identify
- Research what projects/services work well in similar communities – known as ‘good practice’ examples
- Identify the City’s role in a potential action plan
- Explore possible projects/services with the community and local groups/organisations and invite them to be part of resulting action plans
Since 2019 the Community Development team has asked residents across the City to tell us what they love about their suburb and what their concerns are. Staff also collate available data for each suburb from sources such as the Australian Bureau of Statistics Census, the Australian Early Development Census (AEDC), and crime statistics from the WA Police, as well as district level data from sources such the Department of Communities and the Department of Health. Local services and organisations working within the community also share their knowledge of what is happening for our residents. Identifying social priorities means hearing from community members about the most important issues people are experiencing in their area of residence. This is underpinned by a place-focused approach, determining the social priorities for each locality as a single, Citywide strategy may not meet the needs of people in different suburbs. The City’s Community Development team can work with the community to build on their strengths and address the main concerns. These engagement activities, under the banner ‘Growing our Community’, were conducted in 2019 and 2021, and again between January and March 2023.
The City of Armadale conducted the Growing our Community resident survey to help inform Social Priorities for the financial years 2023/2024 – 2025/2026. Between 1 February and 31 March 2023, 1,421 residents of the City of Armadale participated in the survey that asked:
- What do you love about your suburb?
- What do you think is the biggest social issue in your suburb?
The responses helped identify the best aspects of living in each suburb and social issues of greatest concern to residents living in those suburbs.
The City combined these survey results with information received from local staff of community and government support services and local Census data, police crime statistics and the results of the Australian Early Development Census, to identify to social priorities for the City for the next three years. The following four priority areas have been identified:
- Neighbourhood and Community Connections in the suburbs of Harrisdale, Haynes and Piara Waters:
building social connections between residents through community capacity building activities such as Town Teams, Residents Associations, community barbeques, and informal contact groups and activities. This also includes supporting groups of specific interest such as the Multicultural Advisory Group and activities for isolated older people.
Access to Essential Supports for people living in the suburbs of Armadale:
supporting residents access health and welfare services through information sharing and promotion, including for residents experiencing homelessness, food security and other financial crises.
Home and Community Safety for residents of all suburbs:
working with community groups and the WA Police on projects that prevent and respond to crimes in the home and community, including child safety, and Family and Domestic Violence, through community education and resourcing.
Children, Young People & Families living in the suburbs of Armadale, Brookdale, Camillo, Harrisdale and Piara Waters:
supporting organisations that work with families and young people, providing parent education on important topics, and supporting activities for families to connect with others. This also includes supporting the Armadale Youth Advisory Council.
You can download the Growing our Community Social Priorities Review 2023 below:
Having identified what social issues the Community Development team can address, the team researches what programs and activities are already being delivered in the City, as well as what has been successful here and in other similar communities. Good practice examples are then considered for how they might work here in the City and what would be needed for them to succeed.
What the City can do as an organisation can be broadly categorised as follows:
Advocacy: To advocate to the state and federal government the need for services, resources and facilities. Please see the Advocacy Priorities Strategy 2022 – 2030 for more information.
Coordination of services: Working with local service networks and specific stakeholder groups including community groups to work collectively to make positive change.
Contracting services: Negotiating with not-for-profit and private service providers to deliver services and programs via a Social Priorities Service Agreement.
Capacity building: Assisting groups with information and links to other organisations and funding sources, delivering that City’s Community Grants program and providing training to staff and volunteers of community services and groups.
The City of Armadale sought Registrations of Interest from organisations to quote on providing social priority services in the identified suburbs across the City in July 2023. Organisations were asked to have a proven ability to deliver change making initiatives, with projects operating for 6-12 months, and projects that were inclusive and had a wide community benefit well regarded.
The Request for Quote for Social Priorities Service Agreements 2022/2023 attracted eighteen (18) applications with twelve (12) organisations successful. The following summaries provide a brief overview of each successful project:
360 Health + Community - Preventing and addressing health problems in highly vulnerable populations by the delivery of a free healthcare clinic to vulnerable people and people at risk of, or experiencing, homelessness.
Armadale Neighbourhood Watch – facilitation of neighbourhood Meet and Greet events, attend community events and present information to other community groups and residents on various subjects related to home safety and security. ANHW also distributes no-cost security devices such as window and personal alarms at these engagements.
Carey Community Services - Improve parent knowledge of child development and build community connection for families with young children through the delivery of weekly playgroup sessions.
Constable Care – Delivery of the Forum Theatre program to children and young people aged 9-17 years attending schools in the City of Armadale as well as performance workshops to all requesting primary and secondary schools, public libraries and other community youth venues within the City of Armadale.
Crossways Community Services - Promoting emotional wellbeing and community support to residents experiencing poverty or at risk of homelessness through delivering support groups that focus on home and community safety.
Get Low with Nic – Improving physical and mental health and wellbeing, and increasing social connections with other residents, through the delivery of weekly classes that include physical exercises and provision of community information on other wellbeing services and programs.
Karlup Wheels in Motion - Improving physical skills while promoting inclusion, diversity, acceptance and connection through the delivery of the Wheels in Motion for Generational Wellness Project for youth and young adults.
Multicultural Communities Council of WA - Increasing neighbourhood engagement and family connections for CaLD residents through delivery of information stalls, BBQs, self-defence lessons and art and craft sessions.
Rapid Relief Team - Increasing access to healthy food and essential personal care supplies through the sourcing, packing and delivery of food and comfort packs to local agencies that have established trust relationships with residents in poverty and crisis.
Richmond Wellbeing - Empowering community to support themselves and their family, friends and others experiencing mental health distress through the delivery of seven whole-community training sessions and a 2-day Mental Health First Aid course for the CaLD community.
Rotary Club of Armadale - Increasing leadership and self-confidence in young residents through the delivery of a program focussed on giving back to their community and developing a greater understanding of homelessness and vulnerable populations.
Stephen Michael Foundation - Increasing participating in physical activity and improving pathways for vulnerable children and youth to connect with positive community role-models and support services. This will be achieved through the delivery of the Nightfields Program and the Culture in Sports Program.
Following community engagement in 2021 Community Development identified the social priorities for the financial years 2021-2023:
Armadale North and South: Connection to Community and Services
Camillo: Youth Engagement and Education
Kelmscott West: Early Years and Family Support
All Suburbs*: Community Safety
See the City's Growing our Community 2021 Survey Results (downloadable below)
Following community engagement in 2019, Community Development identified the social priorities for the financial years 2019-2021:
Armadale South: Youth Engagement and education
Brookdale: Early years and family support
Camillo: Community safety
Harrisdale: Culturally and Linguistically Diverse community connection with groups and services
Seville Grove: Community safety
See the City's Growing our Community 2019 Survey results (downloadable below)