Dr Helen Sheil
A unique project and partnership between East Gippsland Early Learning Years Committee,the Centre for Rural Communities Inc. & Monash University.
In 2004, the Australian Government through the Stronger Families and Communities Strategy informed Kilmany UnitingCare that the East Gippsland local government area had been chosen as a site for a ‘Communities for Children’ strategy. Kilmany UnitingCare was selected as the facilitating partner for the project.
The aim of the strategy is to improve the health and wellbeing of families and primarily, the health, wellbeing and early development of young children in the East Gippsland local government area.
A core component of the ‘Communities for Children Program’ is the establishment of community partnerships to assist in the achievement of identified outcomes.
As the facilitating partner, Kilmany UnitingCare in partnership with East Gippsland Shire Early Years Committee, invited community organisations and relevant institutions to meet with them and discuss ways to best resource East Gippsland’s diverse communities. The Centre for Rural Communities took up that invitation.
The Centre for Rural Communities
The Centre for Rural Communities (CRC) has been a pioneer in developing, delivering and evaluating projects that facilitate the inclusion of local knowledge into policy and planning. This work has been accredited by a major University and three TAFE Institutes.
With over 10 years experience in community place-based planning, the CRC has established:
- a network of skilled local facilitators across East Gippsland
- a ready framework of theory and practice, able to embrace new projects incorporating local ownership
- an knowledgebase of local skills, networks, history and assets
- accredited skills and education programs at both post-graduate (workers/managers) and TAFE levels (community members) with flexibility to incorporate aspects of Adult Community Education.
- redibility with regional institutions such as local government, community organisations, indigenous communities, children’s services and employment agencies
- a range of real employment opportunities in rural communities
- communication networks with communities as they develop their local plans and ventures.
Community plans form the basis of constructive relationships with regional organisations and agencies.
Together, the CRC and Communities for Children – East Gippsland developed Stories my community told me– a place-based approach to community engagement.