2 May 2024

Stories of Impact – Collaboration in Willmot

The Hive’s Collective Impact approach in the suburb of Willmot brought together multiple services and workers from government & non-government organisations, the local school & childcare, and residents to learn how to respond to the needs and aspirations of the community to break the entrenched disadvantage and work differently for change.

The Collective listened to residents about the barrier to accessing support and their hopes for their children. Transport, trust, lack of local services and finances were reported as barriers, so the Collective aimed to revitalise the local community hub into a family space where residents could access support locally in a trusted space.

Seven years later, through deep collaboration across organisations, advocacy to local systems, and a commitment to sharing resources and working differently and for the long term, the community hub is open five days a week and providing playgroups, employment services, parenting groups, paediatrician and child nursing outreach clinics, community breakfasts and events for social cohesion, and office spaces for caseworkers, counsellors and allied health therapists to meet local families within their community.

Services remain committed to the work in Willmot, aware that trust had to build with families before they may feel safe to engage. Working at a community, family and child level allowed for a holistic approach to child wellness and is addressing the social determinants of poverty alongside the impact it has on individuals.

Local residents reflected on the change they noticed in the community:
“The most significant change I have witnessed is the support that families receive. The people at the Hub are there for local residents who need support and guidance with dealing with family related matters. I have also seen so many local children involved in the Hub’s programs, so they are not left to their own devices. Through the Hub’s programs, services and events, children, young people and the adults have been positively interacting with positive people at the Hub. In this environment, people are able to make themselves available to the plentiful opportunities to develop and strengthen their ability to improve their physical, mental and emotional health, so that they can have a better a future.”

“Willmot used to a place where people did not talk to each other and were even rude to each other. Everyone felt isolated. I remember looking for support, but I just couldn’t find any that could help me. The service system was just too hard, and you went around in circles. I thought I would have to do it all by myself…. until the people at the Hub came along.”