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Hills Community Recovery Committee 1st Project

'Community Focus - creating opportunities to volunteer and engage in community activities'

This project focusses on encouraging informal and more formal volunteering, in a range of pilot projects that will encourage local people to get involved in activities in the community, that improve health, develop confidence with social interaction for those who have been left challenged by isolation, and ways to support those still experiencing the impact of the June 2021 storm and the aftermath.

The Hills Creative Alliance is developing as a local action group created after the storm, and now we want to use our creative skills and imaginative ideas to engage more people in volunteering and community engagement, seeking support from the agencies that support communities.

We are applying for funds: for associate membership of Volunteering Victoria - this will give us the opportunity to partner with Volunteering Victoria with training to establish good practice approaches to engage volunteers

for funds to enable us to continue to support local artists with community art exhibitions, experimenting with use of local facilities, eg with volunteer managed pop up opportunities to showcase and sell their work

for Community Noticeboards to be hosted by POs and shops

for support to develop new activities during the next year, for example: ‘Walking for Health’ opportunities, working with the Heart Foundation, training volunteers as ‘Walk Leaders’

for support to provide special ‘revival aquatics’ sessions at the re-opened Monbulk Aquatic Centre, with a ‘bring your own’ picnic lunch afterwards with volunteers, to encourage safe social interaction for people who are anxious about joining groups

to continue ‘Community Focus Friday’ sessions at Olinda Community House as a stepping stone back into community engagement - with funds to book from 11.00am – 1.00pm

to engage young people and school groups, in learning about Australian Native Plants, birds and animals with workshops booked at Karwarra Gardens - trainer and hire costs

to build relationships with local organisations and the community with outdoors picnics – eg on the Village Green in Sassafras, after the tourists leave; and at Olinda Pool;

No cost activities ie in kind support:

to support working with CFA and SES, to promote volunteering, and to develop local emergency management plans for the area we focus on to explore developing a safer feel to our communities working with Police team at Olinda and Neighbourhood Watch to run Zoom sessions on Monday evenings with volunteer speakers

Objectives of this project 

The Hills Creative Alliance primary objective is to support the vision of the Hills Community Recovery Committee, by supporting the small communities along the Mt Dandenong Tourist Road from Tremont to Kalorama,

to maintain the momentum from the last year, and to contribute to people’s wellbeing and strengthening local connections, by actively encouraging volunteer engagement.

We are also active in setting up up small projects and activities to engage people and provide a range of volunteering opportunities, as we journey to see the long-term recovery from Covid-19, and the trauma experienced by the people living in this area affected by the June 2021 storms that impacted the Hills region.

The CFA and SES, need more people to volunteer to support their work, the communities need to find ways to take over recovery and support activities now we have moved into the second year after the storm, and external support is reducing.

Among the COVID-19 pandemic’s consequences has been erosion of social ties and community life. Around the world, as people look ahead to the end of the immediate health crisis, the focus is on how communities can be rebuilt and created.

The Hills Creative Alliance is working to bring established and new community groups together with a range of services to create more support and more opportunities for people in our storm damaged communities, as we recover, rebuild and cope with coming to terms with Covid.

Younger people and families have good support from our 3 schools, 2 pre schools and 'Mums on the Hills', however local organisations are finding it hard to re-engage people and engage new residents of all ages and we know that loneliness has become common amongst the older community, as online shopping has become the norm for many, and opportunities to meet and make new friends has been difficult in local venues, as community cafe's in some areas are always busy with tourists.

Our organisation was created in response to the need to support community recovery after the storm, and currently our overall objective is to develop our creative organisation to support practical steps to develop social connectedness and belonging, especially for the new families who have moved into properties all along the ridge, to address possible loneliness and lack of social interaction, exploring the needs of older, isolated people, and the increase in home working.

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