Network West has been funded by Lord Mayor’s Charitable Foundation to support our members to strengthen community resilience to the impacts of climate change in Melbourne’s west. The project is called A Local Approach to Climate Resilience (ALACR). The impacts of climate change are already being felt in the form of disruptions and emergency events, such as an increase in extreme weather events. Research shows that vulnerable community members are disproportionately negatively impacted by these disruptions and emergencies. As the climate changes in the years and decades to come, adaptation will be required from all levels of society.

As hyper local, place-based agencies, neighbourhood houses already play a key role in supporting individuals and families in need, reducing isolation and building social connectedness. Through ALACR, neighbourhood houses can identify strategies and undertake actions to build on the work they already do to contribute to strengthened community resilience to climate change impacts.

ALACR also aims to help houses/centres understand the potential impact of climate change disruptions and emergencies on their buildings and operations. Understanding these risks means they can take steps to ensure operations can be maintained into the future.

Network West has facilitated several workshops to unpack the role of neighbourhood houses and community centres in preparing ourselves and our communities to be able to be resilient to the impacts of a changing climate. You can see the summaries of these workshops via the links below: 

A series of Lunch & Learn sessions in 2023 enabled Network West members to attend short sessions on topics of interest and relevance. Sessions included:

  • Climate Action & the House of Hugs – we heard from two neighbourhood houses with different experiences of climate resilience:
      • Mooroopna Education and Activity Centre Manager Jan Phillips shared the experience of her centre and its staff and volunteers who played a key role in supporting the community during and post the flood event in October 2022.
      • Leanne Coughlin, Executive Officer Alphington Community Centre spoke about the process of developing Darebin Neighbourhood House Network’s Climate Action and Resilience Plan.
  • Writing Through Climate Grief was a transformative experience with poet, performer and musician Gabriela Georges, founder of The Grief Cocoon.
  • ‘Extreme Weather, Disasters and Your Health’ Taster Session with The Water Well Project (TWWP). TWWP provide free interactive health education sessions for migrant, refugee and asylum seeker communities, facilitated by volunteer healthcare professionals.
  • Keep Your Cool with Adam Grubb from Very Edible Gardens was an informative session on how to use plants and nature to cool your home. This session is being delivered in collaboration with Kororoit Creek Neighbourhood House’s Growing Home: Cooling Your Neighbourhood Project which is supported by Lord Mayor’s Charitable Foundation and Brimbank City Council’s Community Grants Program.

Check out our Resources page for more information and resources to support climate resilience.

We thank Lord Mayor's Charitable Foundation for funding ALACR

Maribyrnong & hobsons Bay Lead the way

A community leadership project for the inner west

In 2022/23 Network West was funded by the West Gate Neighbourhood Fund to work with emerging community leaders and neighbourhood houses in Maribyrnong and Hobsons Bay, to build a more inclusive and resilient local community.

The project was about amplifying the voices of emerging leaders from diverse communities and making sure we can all engage more readily with one another, not just with those who are the most visible or the closest. It was also about unpacking and learning about the systems and processes that govern us. If community members understand the systems they live within, and how they can influence those systems, they can feel more capable and confident to take action on issues that are important to them and their community – such as social justice, food security, climate change, social inclusion, First Nations solidarity, and mental health and wellbeing.

Network West collaborated with some amazing partners to deliver a suite of programs and networking opportunities to build community resilience. These partners included Hot House Community Projects, The Avaivilla Group, Track C Consulting, and Jeder Institute. We also worked closely with different departments from Hobsons Bay and Maribyrnong City Council’s to create opportunities for meaningful connection and to promote and enable active citizenship.

We embedded First Nations Knowledge Building within the learning activities delivered throughout the project. This included participation in ceremony and yarning with Elders about cultural protocols and First Nations history…
Aunti Di Kerr performing a Welcome to Country and Smoking Ceremony at Yarraville Community Centre (Footscray)
Terori Hareko-Avaivilla, Aunty Di Kerr OAM and Maggie Mildenhall at South Kingsville Community Centre
Uncle Mik Edwards and Uncle Shane Clarke performing a Welcome to Country and Smoking Ceremony at Walker Close Community Centre
We created spaces for emerging community leaders to connect with staff from local neighbourhood houses, Councils, community organisations and advocacy groups to discuss aligning passions and workshop project ideas…
Community Leaders discussing their project ideas with World Cafe guests in November 2022
Community Leaders participating in the Hobsons Bay and Maribyrnong Community Connector program were given the opportunity to apply for seed funding to undertake small projects and actions on issues they care about…
Community Leaders Pierre & Angela conducting community consultation around the future of the old Footscray Hospital site
Visual of the 13 projects undertaken by Community Connectors in 2023
Community Leader Ione with Hobsons Bay Mayor Cr Antoinette (Tony) Briffa JP at the Anderson Play Street in June 2023
In June 2023, together with project partner Hot House Community Projects, we hosted the 2023 Community Leadership Summit. This was the final event for the Maribyrnong and Hobsons Bay Lead the Way project. The Summit showcased a panel of Community Leaders who spoke about their projects and inspired the guests, including local Councillors and State and Federal MPs…
We were treated to a feast made by Nayran Tabiei from Flavours of Syria
Some of the marvellous Community Leaders who were celebrated at the Summit
Over 100 guests attended the Summit, including local Councillors and State and Federal MPs
Click here to see our beautiful project booklet where you can meet all of the Community Leaders who took part in the Community Connector program, and learn more about their passions and projects. The booklet also describes our overall project thinking, and includes our Theory of Change, the principles by which we work and the ecosystem approach we took.