COVID-19 has undoubtedly created new and varied demands on everyone, including the community service sector.
Earlier this year Family Life applied for grants from five Local Government Areas, within our service catchment, to help drive on the ground research to better understand the experience of COVID-19 on local individuals, families and communities.
Following a positive response, we have created a program to collect current, local data across Mornington, Bayside, Kingston, Casey and Frankston to better understand the challenges communities are facing. The initiative is based on a data walk model, which seeks a wide range of input for collective impact.
This project will see Family Life engage with partners and share knowledge through a series of events, called ‘Community Listening Tours’, which use a range of tools designed to maximise engagement. Working with local groups and community members we will connect with people from diverse backgrounds and differing lived experiences, collating that information so it can be used as a tool to respond and inform services for each area.
In addition to the Listening Tours, Family Life has done a deep dive of global, national, state and local data and will gain ‘lived experience’ feedback through surveys and facilitated discussions. The grants received from the various LGAs contribute to the costs of the data collection and review.
The Community Listening Tours will allow us to:
- engage directly with stakeholders and residents to understand their experiences and impact throughout COVID-19
- learn from lived experiences to build knowledge of what is important for each community, based on place based needs
- provide information and data to the community to aid their understanding
- identify local and wider problems, working towards solutions
- build support for a cause
- learn about problems in order to co-design local solutions with community
- mobilise action for change, creating partnerships between community organisations to best meet needs.
Our first events were held in Mornington Peninsula Shire throughout November. We look forward to reporting back on the success of the remaining events into the beginning of 2023.