Exciting next steps for family driven community project

Exciting next steps for family driven community project

This afternoon, Burnie Works contacted the 220 participants of the Middle Years project with exciting news: we now have $100,000 in funding to turn their ideas into reality!

Last year, Communities for Children Burnie and Burnie Works explored how families of primary school-aged children access and navigate supports in Burnie. The aim: to co-design a product or service to meet community needs.

We call it the Middle Years project. It is for families with children aged 5 to 12 years (Prep to Year 6).

We already know that accessibility and availability of services decrease once a family’s youngest child turns six. When families have limited capacity or capability to navigate systems or self-advocate, it can lead to adverse outcomes for the child and the whole family.

To get a Burnie perspective, our first step in this project was to listen to community. In August and September 2023, we had conversations with 165 families in Burnie. We talked about the needs of families with primary school-aged children. Conversations with parents showed that families found it difficult to get the help they needed. Many things stopped or delayed families getting support when they needed it.

“Self-esteem plummets when needing to ask for help continuously because you can’t get the right answers, and then no resources are actually available on the ground.” – Parent participant, Community Voice Collection.

Burnie Works Chair Jacqueline de Jonge said, “It is exciting to have this funding which will be used to design, implement, and test a solution based on the work community did last year. We heard from lots of families. Burnie Works has never had such a large response to a project. People wanted to tell us what was happening for them, and they wanted to be part of the solution. Families need more than what is available to them. Families and children are struggling.”

Parents and carers told us that when they do reach out for help, they aren’t listened to. The help is tricky to find. Families must wait a long time to get help. Or there is not currently a service that can provide the help they need. Sometimes families don’t ask for help at all. They fear judgment or past experiences make them uncomfortable to ask.

What we heard during the community conversations prompted us to take the next step. This involved brainstorming how we might solve issues that families are facing.

38 families and service providers joined us for co-design sessions to create new and exciting solutions. The following themes (wish lists) arose from these sessions. They are: Middle Years Community Hub, Accessible Information, Mobile Service, School-Based Services, and Social Clubs.

We have secured $100,000 for this part of the project which can be used to design, implement, and test a solution.

We need community to continue to guide us as we implement this part of the project. Burnie Works will be hosting a one-off workshop to design an action group – a group of people to tell us how we can make things happen.

To register your interest in being part of the action please visit: https://burnieworks.com.au/middle-years-action-group-come-and-try/

A report on our findings has been prepared and shared with co-design participants, services, governments, and the broader Burnie community and is available on our website.
The Middle Years Project is a partnership between Burnie Works and CatholicCare’s Communities for Children Burnie.
The Middle Years will be funded by the Australian Government Department of Social Services Places, Stronger People (SPSP) Local Solutions Funding (LSF) initiative.