‘Go goldfields’ – a Place Based Experience

Sharon Fraser, Central Goldfields Shire Council
Sharon Fraser

Presented by Sharon Fraser, Central Goldfields Shire Council and John Bonnice, St. Luke’s Anglicare

This session was about the ‘Go Goldfields’ project, coordinated in Central Goldfields Shire, which seeks to improve the community through partnerships and coordination so that children in Goldfields can live a full life.

This place-based initiative was planned and implemented entirely from within the community, uniting service providers, local government and community leaders to address the issues that face the area.

Central Goldfields Shire is positioned between Ballarat and Bendigo, with a population of about 13,000, with the main centre being Maryborough. This has been an area of socioeconomic disadvantage and the common problems that stem from this, however, ‘Go Goldfields’ want to change that story.

John Bonnice, St Luke's Anglicre
John Bonnice

Central Goldfields Shire council employed a place-based planning approach for this project. This means that the initiatives are driven from within the community, as opposed to being established and researched by bodies outside the area and then implemented in the community.

What’s critical to this is having a ‘critical enquiry approach’, where you keep asking the questions to try and identify and face the key issues of the community.

So, if the question is ‘why are children suffering in this area?’, keep asking that question, keep peeling off the layers until you can see the answer. This involves talking to and asking the question of all the players in this issue.

The ‘Go Goldfields’ project was implemented across the entire shire, with focus being given to poverty, social connection, community engagement, youth, family violence and workforce development. There’s a history of services focussing on one improving one part of community life in the hope that this would lead to greater advantage in other areas.

By uniting service providers and partnerships, the ‘Go Goldfields’ project can address the most pressing issues for the community from a wide range of angles.

Let’s talk about implementation and planning, are community development projects better implemented in a place-based approach, or is this re-inventing the wheel?

For more information on ‘Go Goldfields’, see the project’s website.

Post written by youth blogger from SYN Media.

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