Why make the same mistake

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Change has a life of its own.

Change has a life of its own.

Being aware of a communities needs

Those who live within communities know there own communities needs. This is not to say that those needs are static, but, that when the community members rise up, meet the challenges within their communities themselves, the community, and its individuals, as a whole benefits. Generations later these effects are felt, are still being added to.

Doing something about negative concepts

Many forms of abuse of these same communities continue. When not acted upon the abuse factors create the negative concepts and self perceptions within a community. The decent into acceptance of negatives is absorbed by those within the community influencing and dragging down all those who have anything to do with the community. The people, place, facilities, hopes and dreams are negatively tarnished by the lack of spirit. These attitudes lead to a lack of community and personal self.

The big push: Macro or Micro influences

Face to face change needs to be met by macro to micro policy shifts influencing the lives, and the choices made, of that people within. Educated and informed life choices by previous generations are still influencing how each of us think, act and react to both the external and internal forces at work on each and every one of us.

By the mid 1980s the world celebrated the ‘Year of the Disabled’, The ‘Year of the Child’, ‘Year of the tree' and so forth.

Far reaching changes facilitated

Governments around the world resolved to meet their commitments. In Australia Federal Laws were passed. Different Government Departments had to change to meet various new benchmarks set. Today these changes are still being built up as those working with children need to carry a working with children card. The care and ability to care for the children as 'stand in' parents have wide ramifications that the communities are aware of.

Occupational health and safety standards, educational training standards are abreast with the changes. People from the smallest child to the oldest have care expectations. The care consumers have follow-ups that keep the standards raised. The care consumers being the client, the worker and the organisations / institutions concerned.

Education of the people on mass and through available means meant keeping abreast with technology. Social ads about the Grim Reaper, bike helmet, then drink driving, and so forth until now we have the speeding ads have had a direct effect on social attitudes. These social attitudes, their carry on effects are being openly discussed at an early educational age.
Parents have to answer why their children are not attending some type of education. Or if they are and are under the influence of drugs and / or alcohol the schools are made accountable for why other Government authorities were not informed. People seem to be becoming intolerant of excessive intakes of alcohol. Judges are questioning why a person was allowed to have still been served when they were clearly intoxicated.
Security Guards and bar tenders have to be accredited. Part of their accreditation is recognising and dealing with patrons who have had too much for their system. The responsibility for the alcohol affected patron is place upon the outlet where they last were served. Door security guards are not to let in patrons who have been drinking or who are underage. The patrons within the premises already do not want their safety breached. Compromised safety factors being an Occupational Health and Safety matter the employees have to answer to each other, their patrons, the employers, the police, Occupational Health and Safety investigation teams, the licensing tribunals, the security accreditation officials and so forth and the Judge. Should they be laid off explaining things to the unemployment office, their family members and friends would also be stressful and embarrassing. Looking for work with this recorded against you gives a negative impression to a new employer.

Ramifications of unplanned influences

In the early 1980's Australia went through a depression. Large financial institutions collapsed. People found it harder to come by work. People out of work felt as though they were not contributing to their families, their communities and society in general. Mental health issues were not helped by some government departments being immovable in their out look to the unemployed. A compounding problem was brought to the world attention. Now voluntary work is recognised as developing competencies while giving back to society.

These are just some of the Macro political changes that have wide ranging influences. When the fires of Black Saturday raged through Victoria (Feb 2009) Government authorities recognised the need for community development procedures to assist fire affected communities. Some towns were closed off from sight seers at the request of the community members until these communities had begun to heal. Christine Nixon (ex Vic Police Commissioner) holds a position channelling with many Government (Federal to Local) officials, organisations, community members, networking with the same, while fire reports, commission findings and people recreate and integrate their lives, livelihoods and communities. New safety procedures have been proposed. Recommendations for far reaching changes are being put forward. These changes cover the building designs, building materials, alarm systems [personal and community], town planning, emergency service training and personal training, competencies and accreditations.

Exposure causes change today.

Glendonald is a suburb within Churchill, Victoria. In the early 1990 many children came from families where their parents not had the opportunity to finish schooling needs. Many felt that they did not meet the intelligence levels to carry on. Others struggled as they had missed out on basic educational needs being met. Until five years ago children were passing school grades without being able to read, write or achieve a functional level of mathematics. The reasons for this are still many and varied. Schools systems were not able to adapt to needs. Students were made to feel unwelcome or were just expelled.

Behaviour issues were forced into the community not dealt with. Teenage drugs, crime or pregnancies became an option. Re-education process through government agencies is an obligation in order to receive payments of one kind or another.

However educational streamlining to University has changed. If a child makes it to years eleven and twelve there are the Vet, Vcal and VCE options to choose from whilst attending a streamlined school system. Other options are going straight into an apprenticeship whilst integrated in this same school system.

Find out early in life.

At an earlier age the option of various other educational systems meeting different needs are available. Berry Street in Morwell has an alternative program. Starting at an earlier age than apprentice's Berry Street appears more kinaesthetic [hand on] in its approach to the quest for knowledge. Later V-cal and Vet courses that lead into apprenticeships are encouraged and available.
In the earlier years children are tested for various learning and behavioural descript entices. Are they attending the Child and Maternal Health Nurse, child care centre, preschool, primary school and so forth? The earlier the recognition the better able to put in place structures that enable learning to occur.

Change causes ripples of change.

As the population matures so to does the needs of the community in which they reside. Nothing is static or simple within community development. People question why negative things occur within their community.   Instead of accepting the fact that there is no choice in that they have to accept what has been in the past the same people are questioning those around them about how they can implement wanted change. What is to change?  The drive to do something that fills that need, with someone else, is just as strong as the need not to join in with ‘something’ and do that ‘something’. When people step into a positive uplifting energy level collaborative team work occurs and positive objectives are developed.  It no longer matters weather it is voluntary or paid. Both methods are now recognised from the Government to the local people as gainful employment.

In response to Government initiatives the Neighbourhood Renewal Program was initiated [now Neighbourhood Alliance run through local Government].  Glendonald was part of the early groups of social-economic lower neighbourhoods to step forward into this scheme. Previous programs had been implemented.  These failed in their main aims as at the time the Macro assistance was not wide enough in their reach. Micro and personal interested besieged the developments.  However, as an outcome of these early attempts some community

members were ready to take on the mantle of responsibility and authority. The needs analysis had already begun.

People were aware of where each other already stood.  Their life skills, interests and competencies were also familiar to others within the Glendonald community.

As part of the Neighbour Hood Renewal scheme a facilitator was chosen. Regrouping and forming the necessary alliances with various Federal, State and local Government assistance was largely up to the

Glendonald group.

Early outcomes came forth.

Four overriding influences began occurring almost immediately.

Firstly people wanted the opportunity to be heard without being thought of as ridiculous. Various committees like the Parks Committee were joined. As well as the Tenancy Union.  Later the Road Transport committee.

From the point of view of furthering the betterment of the wider community fences have gone around the front and sides of government houses. Houses all around Churchill sub-divisions are having fences put in place as a standard feature. Roads across Churchill are having measures in place to slow down the traffic speeds, to gain better, more user friendly costing access to the township. Initially with extending the hours per week day, having buses all day Saturday and having a Sunday service.

Secondly people wanted to learn, be it to gain a food handling or first aid certificate to further their chances at employment.  Training and education courses were recognised as needed by the group and funding found for people to do these. Some people went on to Tafe to complete different levels of food related or tourist related courses.

The facilitator was part of the pilot Regional and Community Development Graduate Certificate Course offered by Monash University Gippsland. Two of the Glendonald Neighbourhood renewal program members started this same course the following year.

Thirdly people wanted access to services. Basic needs for security and safety were under recognised and staffed. Over the last fifteen years the valley has new health facilities, variance in its police and health

departments due to increase in technology usage factors.  Educational systems have changed making people more aware of acceptable behaviours. The Churchill Hub offers a combination of various child care and early education facilities, child maternal health services, a public library facility [affiliated with other libraries and services] and the Neighbourhood Centre.

The initial idea for a community building was proposed by the Glendonald Neighbourhood Group, plans drawn up and submitted to through the Neighbourhood Renewals process.  The Latrobe Council took up the challenge.  The Churchill Public Town Hall has been refurbished, and the Churchill Hub built. Now the Men’s shed that was to house small machine repairs and wood work facilities in Glendonald will meet the needs of all Churchill. Instead of Doubling up the Neighbour Hood House has greater access to more space to house different learning processes.

Lastly people wanted their children to have a better chance in life.  This included educational recognition, safer streets, less abusive stand over tactics and the ability for people to say no and be publically supported.

Community members are completing their own needs analysis.  They are coming up with various ways to achieve what they think the community needs. Banding together, developing methodologies appropriate

whilst using all their collaborative skills to achieve the objectives they have set out. Using benchmarks from other organisations to assist the development to cover that perceived need. So should the community members as the constant revaluations prove that the community is looking to self heal while community growth still is occurring? Change is a constant factor of community development.

Is anyone left behind?

When change meets all basic needs, security needs are met, the community continues to move forward as a whole - leaving none behind nor untouched. When communities accept those who do not want the change then, at a later date, allowing the not forgotten to rejoin the flock is common sense. After all no man is an island. Even being on the periphery of change affects the dynamics of each person’s life. Family, people around, the expectations of care, technology or general security needs and wants are benchmarked for change. Change has a life of its own. Every human is influenced by and lives within the influence of constant change factors.


Susan Connor