Local government initiatives rolled out to support social cohesion across NSW

Local government initiatives rolled out to support social cohesion across NSW

The NSW Government has announced $700,000 in two social cohesion initiatives designed to support local communities in NSW.

The first initiative is the ‘Safeguarding Social Cohesion’ workshops, which will be delivered in partnership with local councils and community leaders. These free workshops will be offered to community workers to provide training on how to support their communities during emergencies and collective trauma events. The workshops will offer participants practical skills in crisis communication and best practice psychosocial support for their communities.

The second initiative is the delivery of new projects under the NSW Social Cohesion Grants for Local Government program. Currently in its third round, the grants program has awarded seven NSW councils up to $110,000 to deliver programs aimed at improving social cohesion in their local areas.

The councils and projects are:

  1. Ballina Shire Council – $110,000 to build emergency management knowledge and develop local preparedness plans through the ‘Building Ballina community cohesion and resiliency through emergency management knowledge and community preparedness’ project.
  2. Bega Valley Shire Council – $50,000 for ‘Housing Narratives – Voices from the thresholds’, a program to facilitate a series of workshops to train community members in storytelling, public speaking and audio recording. The project will include interviews, a podcast series and a live event aimed at destigmatising homelessness and housing stress.
  3. City of Canterbury Bankstown Council – $68,000 for ‘Socially Cohesive and Just CBCity’, a program to develop a social justice charter, social cohesion podcast and incorporate social cohesion activities into specific local events.
  4. Georges River Council – $62,000 for the ‘Hurstville Museum & Gallery permanent exhibition redesign: Creating a sense of belonging for Aboriginal and multicultural communities.’ The redesign will help to better reflect the region’s diverse history and changing communities.
  5. Lane Cove Council – $78,000 for ‘Weaving Climate Stories’, a program that brings together youth and seniors to increase connection and a sense of belonging while learning about climate change, leadership, and storytelling. 
  6. Northern Beaches Council – $70,000 for ‘We Belong – Intercultural Community Leaders Program’ to bring community members together to collectively strengthen cross-cultural connection and belonging on Sydney’s Northern Beaches.
  7. Waverley Council – $62,000 for ‘Culture Waves – Young people exploring and expressing their cultural narratives in an inclusive way’, a program to develop an advisory panel, workshops and young persons’ committees.

Across three rounds, the Social Cohesion Grants for Local Government program has provided almost $1.5 million in funding to 20 projects in NSW.

In the previous round of the grant progam, Bega Valley Shire Council’s project ‘Community Hall Odyssey – a volunteer lead activation of Bega Valley Shire’s community halls’ saw the activation of 18 community halls in the Local Government Area. Due for completion in July 2024, this project has brought community and volunteers together around central activities based in the halls following devastating bushfires in the area.

Minister for Local Government, Ron Hoenig said,“Councils hold the closest relationships with their local communities and have a deep understanding of their needs and aspirations.

“It is important that we support councils to continue strengthening connections within communities, and making sure that everyone in NSW has a strong sense of belonging.”

“Our government is committed to working with councils to leverage their expertise and deliver targeted programs to support resilience and social cohesion in every corner of our state.”

Steve Kamper is NSW Minister for Multiculturalism.

“We are stronger when we unite together,” Mr Kamper said.

“The NSW Government will continue to support opportunitities to build social cohesion and ensure NSW continues to be the best place in the world to live, work, and play.”

Russell Fitzpatrick is Mayor of Bega Valley Shire Council.

“Our grant-funded project has allowed us to invest in the reactivation and sustainability of our essential community halls,” he said.

“Cultural and recreational community events are being held in each hall and we are working with our volunteer committees to identify existing or potential areas for development so we can build on current strengths and partnerships to improve community connection and wellbeing.”

For more about the NSW Social Cohesion Grants for Local Government and the  ‘Safeguarding Social Cohesion’ workshops, click here.


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