Brimbank City Council has been recognised by the Victorian Multicultural Commission with a Highly Commended Award for Excellence for their Neighbourhood House programs at an award ceremony this week.
Brimbank Mayor Cr Ranka Rasic said Council is honoured and delighted to receive this accolade in the Local Government category for our highly innovative neighbourhood house programs.
“This award is welcome recognition for our neighbourhood house team which has excelled in the area of multi and cross cultural work in the first year of Council’s Neighbourhood Houses and Community Centre’s Strategy and Action Plan 2019-2024.
“This is an outstanding achievement, and hats off to all concerned for designing and delivering such a range of programs that have engaged our culturally diverse communities who experience structural disadvantage in new and exciting ways.
“What makes these programs somewhat unique is that they are co-designed with the participating communities to ensure they are community led, meaningful, accessible and culturally safe.
“Our approach is to work in partnership with communities to develop programs that support multicultural communities in the way they wish to address the issues that they believe are affecting them.
“All of these projects engage a range of multicultural communities in spaces that support sharing of culture and experience between themselves, while addressing current issues in their communities. The programs build solidarity between separated groups and forge new understandings that lead to networks and opportunities.
“The Neighbourhood House team was also recognised for providing opportunities for young people to contribute and support others within their communities, and for encouraging them to continue with their education during the challenges of remote learning and physical disconnection throughout the coronavirus (COVID-19) restrictions,” said Cr Rasic.
Some of the Brimbank communities that have benefited from the programs include Pasifika Diaspora communities (Samoan, Tongan and Maori community members), African Diaspora communities (South Sudanese, Congolese, Eritrean and South African community members and groups), First Nations communities (Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander) and young people from the Brimbank Pasifika and African Diasporas as well as members of the LGBTIQ community.
Neighbourhood House programs recognised include:
- We Got You – Mentoring Program which started in May 2020 in response to the COVID-19 pandemic and matches children and young people (aged 11-17yrs) with culturally diverse young people (aged 18-30yrs) for a mentoring relationship that supports their educational engagement as well as their mental wellbeing.
- African and First Nations Women’s Yarning Circle project (intercultural dialogue for women) which began in July 2019 in partnership with Salt Studio Consultancy to explore commonalities, differences and mutual concerns between African and First Nations women in Brimbank. Due to COVID-19 the program moved online presenting digital literacy challenges which needed to be quickly addressed by the Neighbourhood House team.
- Brimbank Live digital radio and podcast project for culturally diverse young people. This project has seen the development of a weekly digital radio broadcast that showcase and share the opinions, talents and concerns of young people from a diverse range of cultural backgrounds, to a broad audience through radio shows and podcast by for, and about young people in Brimbank.