Together in the North has been a working Collective Impact Initiative since 2016, bringing together a wide ranging group of community representatives to work toward a shared vision of supporting children and young people aged 0-18 years to be happy, healthy, ready for today and prepared for the future.
In mid-2015, Together SA was invited by the Premier to lead a Collective Impact Initiative in the northern suburbs. Minister for Education and Child Development Susan Close, put her support to this work with funding to kick start the process. In addition to this funding, resources from Together SA Members, State Government, City of Playford, community organisations, volunteers and students assisted Together SA to facilitate the creation of Together in the North. The resources took the form of in-kind support (Volunteering SA & NT), secondment of staff (UnitingCare Wesley Bowden) and post-graduate students from Flinders University.
In the beginning, the initial leadership group resolved that 0-18 year olds in City of Playford would be their focus. The result area and indicators were constructed in consultation with community leaders. The first baseline report was completed in June 2016. The story behind the baseline is part of the development of the Population Accountability Plan which was completed early July 2016.
The Northern Economic Plan and the Premier of SA, nominated Together in the North as a Thriving Communities site. Enabling the initiative to draw on the State Government’s extensive resources to establish a child focussed collective impact initiative that looks to improve the well being of children, with a focus on the most vulnerable. For more information about the shared vision for Northern Adelaide see Look North.
The way this initiative works is governed by the following principles:
- Work together, with and alongside the community
- Confront the difficult subjects, have the difficult conversations and make the difficult changes
- Use data and evidence for decision making
- Be accountable for results
Acknowledging the challenge of implementing strategies across the whole community aspiration, the network decided to focus on one strategy that is foundational to many areas in the Community Plan. The network explored data and identified ‘children and young people feel like they belong’ as the key outcome. The group decided to:
- Investigate how the community define belonging; and
- Undertake a review of worldwide research on belonging.
To shape an authentic community definition of belonging, a team of 11 community leaders and 6 workers from community organisations created an engagement framework and tools. A total of 89 responses were collected from community members, including children and young people.
An online review of research was conducted in addition to local investigations into the importance of belonging within the Playford context. Over 20 stakeholders contributed crucial information to this review, including the Playford Observatory.
The result of 8 months’ work by the network is a Community Plan which documents achievements and outlines future directions.
The Community Plan was developed to enable the community and stakeholders to have a clear vision of the future for this collective.
The partners also worked with local young people to develop promotional material for the initiative. Highlights include:
- Contracting a local 17-year-old graphic designer to develop a logo and promotional materials; and
- Working with Northern Adelaide Senior College to create a mini documentary [see video below].
Check out the mini documentary…
Belonging: What we have learned…
Together SA’s leadership role with Together in the North ended on 30 June 2018.
The initiative had been funded by State Government for two years, allowing strong foundations to be laid for this Collective Impact group. A small group of community members and partner organisations are working together as an interim backbone.
In the future, we want to see change. We want to see a community where we truly believe that children have positive futures and are proud of the area that they live in. We are proud of this area, and we want everyone to feel the same.
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