What we do Awards program 2020 NHVic Awards Community Development Winner: Farnham Street Neighbourhood Learning Centre - Resilient Refugee Youth This project improves the quality of life for young, newly arrived refugees. It teams them up with a Mentor who is responsive to their individual needs, providing them with guidance and assistance to achieve their personal, educational and professional aspirations. The project helps them to realise their full potential and enables them to meaningfully participate in their community. The key outcomes were improved health and social wellbeing, and a reduction in unemployment. Finalists: Whittlesea Community House – Fix It Friday Fix It Friday provides face-to-face government agency services, as well as legal and social work services, for vulnerable people in the rural community. So far 127 community members have benefited from the program. The service has been crucial to improving mental health outcomes for people in need. The agencies work together to resolve complex issues, meaning individuals only needs to tell their story once to be heard. Leopold Community and Learning Centre - Animal Assisted Learning Program for Students The project aimed to reengage 10 students from Bellarine Secondary College who were not attending school due to anxiety, by developing a program around Animal Therapy and teaming them up with one-on-one mentors. The program helped students to develop healthy social and emotional competency and improved resilience. Long and short-term goal setting, an improved feeling of acceptance and increased self-esteem were key outcomes. Community Resilience Winner: Phillip Island Community and Learning Centre - Wildlife Crafting Bee The recent devastating Gippsland Bushfires and the ongoing national bushfire disaster has wrought untold damage to our wildlife. A two-day ‘Wildlife Crafting Bee’, attracting 130 volunteers of all ages and skills, was held to sew animal wraps and pouches for the animal rescue groups and organizations caring for these vulnerable creatures. Over 500 items were distributed via the registered Phillip Island Hub for Animal Rescue Collective Craft Guild to the rescue groups and carers involved in the rescue efforts. Finalists: The Basin Community House – Longest Lunch for Homelessness The Basin Community House hosted a Longest Lunch Fundraiser to raise community awareness of the increasing number of homeless and vulnerable people in Knox. The fundraising supported the work of emergency relief service Knox Infolink. It also showcased that the house has programs which are inclusive to all members or our community, particularly socially isolated and vulnerable community members. Phillip Island Community and Learning Centre - East Gippsland Bushfire Response January 2020 PICAL mobilised its network of volunteers and community supporters to coordinate the collection and delivery of donated items for victims of the East Gippsland Bushfires. Open over the Christmas/New Year period, they had the capacity to respond quickly to the call for immediate food and toiletries for evacuees before larger, more traditional emergency agencies could be deployed. Fiona Richardson Award for Gender Equity Winner: Wellsprings for Women - Making a Difference Making a Difference is a project that builds the skills and confidence of migrant and refugee women to advocate on social issues they identify of concern to themselves and their communities. It provides women with information and strategies associated with influencing change, addressing social inequalities, challenging racism and discrimination, and tapping into systems and structures that impact women's lives. The project connects women with organisations and influential figures through guest speakers, workshops and letter writing to local MPs. As a result participants have found a voice and feel more connected and active within their community. Finalists: Arrabri Community House – Taking Action in Our Community: Gender Equity Clothesline Project This project invited community members to share messages promoting gender equality, by painting them onto t-shirts, which were then displayed at the house. A lunch was held for participants to have conversations about issues such as respectful relationships, violence against women, equal pay for women, more women in leadership roles, and acceptance of all genders, cultures and abilities. With awareness and conversations, the project aims to build and strengthen understanding of gender inequality as a driver of violence against women. Phillip Island Community and Learning Centre - Women Connect Career Sessions The Women Connect Career Sessions provide local women with relevant knowledge, tools and confidence to secure employment in the unique and challenging employment market of our coastal region. The two-day workshop covers resume writing, interview techniques, how to tap into the “hidden” job market, and how to dress for success. By supporting, educating and empowering local women, the program increases their opportunities to secure paid employment and improve their economic circumstances. Of the 17 participants, seven secured employment within eight weeks of the workshop, and one participant commenced self-employment.