Go Goldfields is a place-based initiative addressing complex social issues in the Central Goldfields Shire, Victoria.
Our collaborative approach brings community, business, service organisations and decision makers together to improve outcomes for children, youth and families.
‘Our community aspiring, achieving and living a full life’;
is the vision that drives us towards a positive future.
The success of Go Goldfields can be attributed to its innovative Collective Impact approach and it’s commitment to keeping the voice of the community at the center of the work.
In 2010 a group of service leaders, having worked for many years trying to improve outcomes for local children, young people and families in Central Goldfields Shire, met to discuss how they might do things differently. At that time the shire was the most disadvantaged in the state and the same old ways of thinking and doing were clearly not working. Inspired by a deep commitment to making a real difference in the lives of our community, they formed the Go Goldfields Alliance to find a new way of working together.
In 2014 the Go Goldfields Alliance adopted Collective Impact as a collaborative approach to drive large-scale social change in the Central Goldfields community, with Central Goldfields Shire Council agreeing to the significant role of a Backbone organisation. Since then community members have been coming together with leaders from services and government agencies to address local, complex social issues that have previously proven difficult to fix.
Our Collective Impact journey is one of learning and striving. Bringing authentic community voice and influence to the table is critical to the success of our work. This means building relationships based upon trust and tapping into grassroots community networks in ways that benefit the community. Having the service leaders and government decision-makers at the table – who are in the position to challenge and change existing systems – is also critical so that new thinking and action can be embedded where it can be most effective.
FOR, WITH, AND BY OUR COMMUNITY
The focus of Go Goldfields during 2015 to 2017 was to engage community to speak about what was needed for long-term change, to develop a shared plan of action, to form action groups (or build upon existing networks), and to establish community governance to do the work.
In 2015 Go Goldfields initiated a series of community engagement events (called HATCH) to ensure beneficiaries had a say in the design of the initiative and to encourage community ownership of the initiative. These events brought together more than 300 community members, service leaders, and decision-makers to ‘hatch’ ideas about what was needed for long-term change and to develop a shared plan of action. The HATCH sessions asked; What does the community need to do? What do decision makers need to do? What does the service system need to do? From which some primary themes emerged around respect, listening, combined services, and accountability .
HATCH participants identified work areas as priorities for Go Goldfields in 2016 and beyond. These impact areas are now reflected as Children and Families; Youth; Economic Participation; and Family Safety.
Alongside HATCH in 2015, Go Goldfields supported the establishment of a new leadership group, the Collaborative Table. The Table upholds a power with (rather than power over) approach, ensuring that decisions are made with community.
OUR BACKBONE ORGANISATION
Central Goldfields Shire Council is very pleased to act as the Backbone organisation for Go Goldfields and in fact, believes it is vital that it does so. Council’s approach to addressing disadvantage is based around three strongly interrelated platforms – community infrastructure, employment, and economic activity and social change which is being tackled through Go Goldfields. The coordination that a Backbone organisation brings to these pursuits provides real synergy and the Council continues to be inspired by the Go Goldfields work and the outcomes.
Community Engagement Coordinator