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.
2014 – ENERTING THE COLLECTIVE IMPACT LANDSCAPE
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 housing the 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.
2015 – FOR, WITH, AND BY 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 were set down as; Children and Families; Youth; Economic Participation; and Family Safety.
Alongside HATCH in 2015, Go Goldfields established a new leadership collective, the Collaborative Table. The Table provides strategic direction and upholds a power with (rather than power over) approach, ensuring that decisions are made with community.
2019/2020 – REVIEW, REFINEMENT AND RENEWAL
The Go Goldfields Partnership has made great strides over recent years in finding ways for its priority impact areas to be championed across the community. Go Goldfields is a partnership of local community, businesses, services and policy makers working together to make sure that we realise our vision of; ‘Our community aspiring, achieving and living a full life.’
AS COLLABORATION BECOMES BUSINESS AS USUAL OUR YOUTH, ECONOMIC PARTICIPATION AND REDUCING FAMILY VIOLENCE IMPACT AREAS, WE HAD THE MATURITY TO DEPLOY OUR SUCCESSION PLAN, DRIVEN BY OTHER STRUCTURES IN OUR COMMUNITY.
In doing so, the Go Goldfields Partnership has refined its approach to put all of its effort into early childhood through the Children and Families Partnership. The Partnership will concentrate on ensuring that all children aged 0-5 and their families can access the friendship groups, networks, services and supports they need to be happy, healthy and hungry for learning achieving our aspiration of; ‘All children are safe, healthy, and confident’.
The move acknowledges that effort and investment during our children’s early years repay themselves many times over – in better lives and fairer, more prosperous futures.
Most importantly, the Children and Families Partnership will be engaging with the community to build a collective vision and approach to ensuring Every Child, has Every Chance in the Central Goldfields Shire.
In Central Goldfields, we benefit from the commitment, creativity and collaboration of community groups, social groups, action groups, business networks, mothers groups, youth clusters, and professional or peer-to-peer networks. With a single on focus on improving outcomes for all of our families with young kids, we can make this one of the best places in all of Australia to raise a family.
You can read all about the succession strategy that has moved us from 4 Impact Areas with multiple Priorities to 1 Impact Focus with 5 Priority Areas under the Every Child, Every Chance (ECEC) initiative launched November 2020 in the E-News blog here and on the ECEC page here.