With the completion of the 2000-2004 Strategy, Stronger Families Learning Exchange's (SFLEX) work has also come to an end. From July 2005 this site will no longer be updated but preserved as an archived part of the AIFS website which may not meet the latest accessibility standards. If you are unable to access content in this archive please contact us and we will endeavour to provide it in a format that you can use. Current information relating to working with families and disadvantaged communities can be found on the Child Family Community Australia information exchange.

Strengthening communities

The Stronger Families and Communities Strategy recognises that the context in which people live includes their community and the broader social and economic environment. It acknowledges the importance of community to the well being of its citizens, the special protective role strong communities have for the very young, and the importance of supporting families in caring for their members. The Stronger Families Learning Exchange aims to add to the evidence base under this Strategy.

Online resources

A meta-analysis of the impact of community-based prevention and early intervention action by Gauntlett, E., Hugman, R., Kenyon, P. and Logan, P.
Department of Family and Community Services, 2001 (PDF 365K)
National and international literature is reviewed to address two principal questions: What is the evidence that prevention and early intervention programs promote the development of stronger communities and create measurable positive social outcomes? What is the evidence that there is a cost-benefit to be achieved by government supporting such programs?

Building communities that strengthen families: elements of effective approaches by Scott, D.
Paper presented at Australian Institute of Family Studies seminar, 16 November 2000
Outlines conceptual and empirical components of a strong foundation for developing programs aimed at family strengthening and community building, and identifies some of the challenges for programs in 'going to scale'.

Building healthy lives: partnerships to promote Aboriginal child health and wellbeing and family and community resilience by Robson, A., Silburn, S. and Aboriginal Suicide Prevention Steering Committee
Auseinetter no.15 Jul 2002
Information about WA's Aboriginal Suicide Prevention Steering Committee's collaborative intersectoral state plan for integrating community-based prevention initiatives. It focuses on fostering community capacity and new partnership arrangements to build healthy lives for Aboriginal children and youth.

Community Development Handbook
Human Resources Development Canada
This is an introductory guide to community development and capacity building. The handbook is a resource for exploring and initiating community development and learning or reviewing the basics of the community development process.

Community Resilience Manual: A Resource for Rural Recovery and Renewal
Centre for Community Enterprise, Canada
Select Community resilience from menu. After completion of a registration form, this manual is available in PDF format.

Community Tool Box
University of Kansas
Provides over 200 sections of practical and detailed information about how to do the work of community building. Includes a model for change; evaluating comprehensive community initiatives; framework for program evaluation.

Early childhood report by J. Pitman (Archived paper)
Australian Broadcasting Corporation - Paper presented at Isolated Children's Parents' Association 30th Annual Conference, Adelaide, July 2001.
Existing remote family services are described, gaps in the provision of services identified, and models used in Queensland and South Australia which serve as a benchmark for ideal services for the other states/ territories are described.

Economic and community development through innovative local government by Martin, J.
Sustaining Regions v.1 no.1 Oct 2001
The entrepreneurial economic activities adopted by the Richmond River Shire Council, NSW in order to take responsibility for the future viability of the community are presented as a case study of an innovative culture in local government.

Empowering Grass-Roots Groups to Strengthen Communities by John Murphy
Broken Hill Community Round Table Workshop July 2000 paper, on communitybuilders.nsw web site
Using the project with which he is involved, Mornington Peninsula Community Connections, as a case study to illustrate his points, the author presents some ideas about building stronger communities through empowering community groups. He argues that grass-roots community groups are where the process of building social capital starts in a community; details some of the major community-building functions of grass roots community groups; and describes how Community Connections assists grass-roots agencies.

First National Conference on the Future of Australia's Country Towns - Practical Strategies for Sustainable Futures - Bendigo, June 2000
The Regional Institute Ltd
Online proceedings, including keynote presentations, and papers grouped under the following themes: Global forces - big changes; What are the development options? Ingredients for successful strategies; Community responses to change; and Sharing ideas - strategies and initiatives.

Lifelong learning: rural communities sharing a journey by Kilpatrick, S.
Centre for Research and Learning in Regional Australia, University of Tasmania, 2001, 11p (CRLRA Discussion paper D12/2001)
There are indications that the Australian vocational education and training (VET) system is not working effectively for small business, rural communities and disadvantaged groups such as Indigenous people and the long term unemployed. This paper explores collaborations around VET in ten rural Australian sites and analyses the features that enhance and reduce the effectiveness of VET in meeting community needs. It is concluded that the study has highlighted the benefits of a collaborative approach to planning and delivering training.

Measuring social capital in a networked housing estate by Meredyth, D. et al.
First Monday v.7 no.10 Oct 2002
Reach for the Clouds is a scheme to build a resident-maintained 'networked community' in Atherton Gardens, an ethnically-diverse, low-income, high rise public housing estate in Melbourne, Australia. The authors give a brief description of the project and its protagonists, consider the motivations and suppositions behind the initiative, and the difficulties which lie in evaluating such a project. In particular they examine the difficulty of engaging with conceptions of 'community', especially in a low-income, multi-ethnic population.

Resident participation, social cohesion and sustainability in community renewal by Wood, M.
Paper to Housing, Crime and Stronger Communities Conference, May 2002
Based upon six case studies conducted in community renewal areas in NSW, Queensland and South Australia, the paper describes the life experiences of local people and considers the sufficiency of the 'social capital' thesis in the development of community renewal initiatives.

Social Entrepreneurs Conference - Opening Address by Pearson, N. (Archived - select Home Page)
Social Entrepreneurs Network, 2002
Two Cape York social enterprise projects are described, as are the use of social entrepreneurship and partnerships to enable 'community development', and the strategies, background and development of the Cape York enterprise.

The identification and analysis of indicators of community strength and outcomes
Department of Family and Community Services, 2001
Provides a review and analysis of literature on the conceptualisation and measurement of community strength and its outcomes; places this information in an analytical framework, identifying the commonalities and differences between various approaches to these issues; provide a menu of options of indicators for measuring community strength, especially indicators on which data are available or collectable; and evaluates those options as a total set.

Tools and Techniques for Community Recovery and Renewal
Centre for Community Enterprise, Canada
Select Community resilience from menu. After completion of a registration form, this publication is available in PDF format.

Useful sites

Building Stronger Communities
This website aims to support stronger Victorian communities, through informing and connecting people involved in community strengthening projects across the state, and assisting those who want to find out more about community strengthening approaches. The site provides an overview of community strengthening; information on grants, tools and support available; details about government and non-government community strengthening programs and projects in Victoria; an E-Library that can be searched or browsed by category; news and a calendar of events.

This site aims to help local communities across New South Wales share ideas on how to enhance and strengthen their community. It was developed in response to the desire expressed by communities to access information about what others are doing and what works to make their community safer, healthier, inclusive, and more vibrant and enterprising. The site includes a wide range of information and resources about community building and related concepts, how to create stronger communities, funding sources, submission writing, etc. There are also lots of case studies, an email discussion forum to join, links, full text resources, and an events calendar.

Community Health Nurses Western Australia
The purpose of the CHNWA is to to act as a clearinghouse for information relevant to Community Health Nurses. Community Health Nurses work with local communities all over Western Australia, primarily from a preventive and promotive perspective on health, across the lifespan. The web site includes news, links, Competency Standards, and several presentations on health related issues.

Looking for a grant from the Commonwealth Government? GrantsLINK will help you find it. Information is provided about the types of grants the Commonwealth provides, as are general tips on completing an application form.

Our Community, a private company 'established solely to enhance the social good', aims to strengthen Australia's 700,000 community, education and non-profit groups by providing funding advice, a free online donations and volunteers service and practical information. Free help sheets can be requested on topics such as Developing an effective Board/Committee; Developing and managing a community group; Managing legal, tax and compliance issues; Managing your volunteers; Marketing your group; Raising Funds; Starting a community group; Using technology.