Cranebrook Connects Update

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Cranebrook Connects is a long term project comprised of committed partners from schools, businesses, services and government departments working together towards a common agenda.

 

Common Agenda:

To bring Cranebrook services, schools, parents, youth, and the community together to promote positive outcomes, inclusion, and improve safety for the entire community, with a strong focus on children and young people having the opportunity to achieve and thrive.

Working Groups:

  • Steering Committee
  • Safe Community for Kids
  • Cranebrook Opportunities
  • Community Working Group

Steering Committee

The steering committee provides strategic direction for the project, including the creation of goals for the working groups. It also provides governance for the project, including the Cranebrook Pathways to Education and Training Project, and the funding related to that project.

The members of the Steering Committee are committed partners from throughout the sector, with the authority and ability to make decisions, allowing the project and its activities to be  action-focused and effective.

Goals for the Safe Community for Kids Working Group

All 3 to 4 year old children will have access to early education, and developmental screening is available.

Why:

It is well documented that children who enter school not yet ready for school-based learning have lower levels of academic achievement. Conversely, children who have participated in high-quality early childhood education perform better academically than their peers, and those who are socially disadvantaged show the most benefit. Low school readiness is the highest risk factor for low literacy ability at age 10.

Screening for developmental deficits allows for earlier interventions, and therefore earlier treatment, often associated with better outcomes. It gives children the best opportunity to be school-ready, and therefore achieve better results academically, socially and emotionally.

What have we done so far:

  • We have supported the BELL (Braddock Early Literacy and Learning – a preschool program focused on ensuring children are school-ready) with a teacher and the required insurance cover.
  • We are in the process of organising developmental screening for all children that attend the BELL.

Children and young people engage in education fully, with increased attendance, and a reduction in suspensions.

Why:

Children who regularly miss school are at risk of missing out on these critical stages of educational development, and may have long-term difficulties with their learning, which may result in fewer educational and employment opportunities. Self-esteem can be reduced, and children may become socially isolated. Becoming disengaged from education affects not only academic development, but physical and emotional well-being as well.

What have we done so far:

  • NCNS have worked with Braddock Public School to implement the Braddock Transport Program, which not only ensures children are attending school each day, but are going to school having had a nutritious breakfast and taking lunch, ready to learn.

Children and young people have opportunities to participate in free or low cost cultural, recreational and sporting activities for rich and diverse life experiences.

Why:

Enabling socially and financially disadvantaged children to have access to broad-ranging experiences encourages them to remain engaged with the community.

What we have done so far:

  • We have held a great community event, which saw the community coming together to participate in a Colour Run and Concert.
  • We have shared information about the activities that are available, and encouraged our community to take part in those activities.
  • We have supported the activities of our partner services, to ensure that more of the community have access to them.

Goals for the Cranebrook Opportunities Working Group

Reinstatement of the bus service in Cranebrook

Why:

  • Access to services is one of the biggest barriers our community faces, and the lack of a bus service that travels through the heart of our community means families are less likely to attempt to access health services, and makes it difficult for our most disadvantaged community members to do their weekly shopping.

What have we done so far:

  • We have been in constant communication with Busways, and have distributed a petition to demonstrate the community’s need. While progress is slow, we are continuing to fight for the bus.

Maintain access to shops and essential services through the Shopping Centre Re-development

Why:

  • The decision to demolish the entire shopping centre at once gave concern due to the fact that community would have difficulty accessing essential services such as the Post Office, and Chemist, as well as local, quick access to food and other necessities.

What have we done so far:

  • We successfully advocated to have temporary buildings maintained on site – the Post Office, Chemist, and the Bakery – which also sold grocery items.

Coordinating activities in local hotspots to improve community

Why:

  • To change the perception of areas.
  • To bring people together and encourage a sense of community.

What have we done so far:

  • Worked with Wentworth Housing to bring a series of pop-up parks to Beecroft Avenue, culminating in an event in the park that involved many community members.

 Better engagement with services

Why:

  • Consultations with the community have indicated a number of barriers to community accessing and engaging with services.

What have we done so far:

  • Introduced The Staples Bag at Koolyangarra Aboriginal Family Centre, during their fortnightly Community Outreach, where many services attend to provide assistance to the community on an outreach basis. This encourages more communities to attend Community Outreach, and reduces the barriers to accessing the help they need.

Create and implement a local training and employment initiative

Why:

  • While the unemployment rate for Cranebrook as a whole suburb is actually lower than Penrith City, there are areas within Cranebrook that have significantly higher rates – in fact the highest rate in the area (51.2%).
  • Consultation with community members has shown that often it is keeping the job that is the most difficult part.
  • Working in your local community not only reduces barriers to employment, but encourages engagement with your community.

What have we done so far:

  • Received one-off funding to implement a training and employment strategy.
  • Created partnerships with training providers.
  • Run our first Road to Employment training program, Term 1 2017 will be the third term this will be run.
  • Employed a project manager to oversee the project.
  • Arranged a series of mentoring workshops, to give mentors the skills to be able to effectively mentor and support our job-seekers.
  • Have a series of skills-based workshops lined up for Term 1 2017.

Community Working Group

At this time, the Steering Committee have not set specific goals for the Community Working Group, but the group are learning to work together, and gaining the skills and experience to allow them to make a difference in our community.

What have we done so far:

  • Decided that one area of focus is to increase and improve the sense of identity and pride for the residents of Cranebrook. To begin working towards that goal, they have successfully applied for a Magnetic Places grant to build a Welcome to Cranebrook Sign. The project will incorporate a series of workshops that are open to the whole community to design and implement the sign.
  • Residents are also concerned about the cleanliness of the suburb, and to that end are embarking on a Litter project, which will see areas identified and studied and work being done to address the issues.
  • They are holding the first ever Community Voice workshops, where they will learn how to write to their councillors and government representatives in order to have their voices heard. Not only will they learn the skills and develop an understanding of the process, but a councillor will be attending to share what happens when they receive letters from the community.
  • This will be followed by leadership training – which will provide the group with the skills and confidence to become leaders in their community.