Cairns South Community Champions

    A pilot program to encourage community to strengthen and cultivate community champions in Cairns South was recently delivered by the Cairns Institute and PCYC Safer communities. Jennifer McHugh through the Cairns South Collective Impact project formed a partnership with the PCYC and successfully applied for a Cairns Regional Council, Community Services Grant.

    The program used a collective impact approach for the design and implementation. Using a collective impact frameworks requires substantial consultation for determining key goals and deliverables. Jennifer explained "this process often means the design and agreed outcomes are not always clear at the onset; allowing the design to be driven by key stakeholders meant we were able to get the best ‘bang for buck’." The collective impact framework creates a sense of stakeholder ownership and allows to draw on a wider extensive experience which is ultimately vital for a pilot program.

    Nominations were received from the Pacifica Communities Committee FNQ, CentaCare, Queensland Police, PCYC, Yarrabah Arts and Cultural Precinct, Woree State High School P&C, Babinda Taskforce, Benevolent Society, Djarragun College and Curtis Pitt, MP.

    Participants ranged in age and cultural backgrounds; occupations were diverse and included school leavers, university students, teachers, a police officer, student support officers and a community support worker.  All participants took part on a voluntary basis. In addition, the program received incredibly high levels of support with many of the course presenters volunteering their time.

    Immediate feedback from everyone involved was overwhelmingly positive, with a real enthusiasm to see the program repeated and possibly expanded. A number of people commented that there is a distinct need for this type of community capacity building initiative and every participant felt that they had gained core skills that to improve their  engagement with their respective communities.

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