Community “hotspot” – Davis Park, Beaconsfield
Large-scale social change comes from better cross-sector coordination rather than from the isolated intervention of individual organizations. ‘Collective Impact’ – John Kania and Mark Kramer, Stanford Social Innovation Review, 2011
A key objective of the South West Metropolitan Partnership Forum (SWMPPF) is to facilitate collaborative problem solving of community needs and the implementation of a coordinated, place-based approach to address these. The place-based approach targets specific physical locations to address long standing social issues linked to disadvantage and social exclusion. Importantly, the place-based approach looks at the totality of a community (as opposed to its individual parts) and brings together diverse social and economic perspectives to address identified needs. The SWMPF project aims to provide the structure and mechanisms to enable such ‘holistic’ community interventions in the Cockburn, Fremantle, and Melville region.
The Fremantle Dockers’ Michael Walters takes time out to kick the footy
with the younger residents of Davis Park.
How the SWMPF chose its community ‘hotspot’
A SWMPF working group was set up in November 2013 to identify possible ‘hotspot’ communities that would benefit from greater collaboration among all stakeholders. The working group identified a series of selection criteria to determine the first ‘hotspot’ community where the SWMPF might trial an ‘all-in’ collaborative approach to address its multiple and complex social needs. The central criterion was that the collaborative intervention would be community-driven; in other words, that the majority of community members would not only support the collaborative intervention but drive it, in partnership with all other stakeholders.
Other criteria concerned:
- The level of disadvantage in multiple areas (unemployment, drug and/or alcohol misuse, mental health issues, family violence, low levels of physical and emotional care of children, high levels of truancy, disproportionate number of interactions with human service providers);
- The impact of forecast population growth on these socio-economic indicators;
- The number of households in the ‘hotspot’ area;
- Number of services currently available;
- Prior level of investment in the ‘hotspot’ area;
- Implications for the ‘hotspot’ area if collaborative intervention were not undertaken;
- Capacity to demonstrate social impact within 12 – 24 months;
- Opportunity to leverage resources (for example, philanthropic support).
The working group identified the following ‘hotspots’ against these criteria:
- Davis Park, Beaconsfield
- South Lakes
The SWMPF Foundation membership agreed at its meeting on 7 February 2014 that the SWMPF’s first community-led collaborative intervention would take place in Davis Park, Beaconsfield.
SWMPF working group implementing this project
Nominations to the working group opened at the Planning Day on 1 April and the first meeting was convened on 23 May 2014. The membership of the working group comprises:
Chair: SMYL Community Services
- Palmerston Association
- Fremantle PCYC
- Disability Services Commission
- WA Police
- City of Fremantle
- Housing Authority
- Department of Child Protection and Family Support
- St Patrick’s Community Support Centre
- Early Learning Centre
- Davis Park Residents
Davis Park Project Officer – Shan Sai. This 12-month position is funded through a grant kindly provided by the Department of Social Services via the Fremantle Multicultural Centre.
The roles and responsibilities of the working group members are provided in the Terms of Reference Our Davis Park Working Group
David Pigram, member of the SWMPF working group, serenades the crowds at a sausage sizzle hosted by the Department for Child Protection and Family Support as part of
National Child Protection Week
Residents determine project scope
Discussions at the working group’s first meeting centred on the key issues raised by the half dozen Davis Park residents who attended the Planning Day on 1 April. It was agreed that all residents should be given the opportunity to advise the working group on their concerns. This would ensure that any initiatives taken by the working group to respond to the issues raised would be supported and ‘owned’ by a broad cross-section of Davis Park residents.
The working group decided the best approach would be to hold an informal event at Davis Park to which all residents would be invited. This would provide the opportunity to introduce the working group to the residents; to seek the residents’ feedback on their key issues of concern; and seek their feedback on the proposed project name ‘Our Davis Park’ and Davis Park branding.
The working group is indebted to Peter Kenyon (Bank of Ideas) for giving the time to review the Questionnaire for Davis Park residents to identify key concerns to inform project action plan.
In the event, 38 residents braved the torrential rain to complete the survey. Their responses are summarised below:
Best things about Davis Park (three most cited):
- The Park (including the playground).
- The location – convenient to range of amenities.
- Neighbours, community spirit.
Things residents would not like to lose (three most cited):
- The Park.
- The basketball court.
- Community spirit.
Things residents would like to change (three most cited):
- Drug dealers and drugs.
- Environment – syringes, rubbish, graffiti, vandalism, drinking, fighting.
- Parents not supervising their children, assuming responsibility for their children.
Wishes for the future (five most cited ):
- To feel safe and secure (possible initiatives – lighting, CCTV, tenant behaviour, Police presence, meaningful engagement of disaffected young people, Davis Park newsletter).
- Parenting support programs (possible initiatives – play groups).
- All kids going to school, feeling motivated, getting jobs (possible initiatives – working with local schools, mentoring programs, training pathways, drop in centre, transport to PCYC).
- To improve the Park and playground (replace sand with matting/carpet; barbecue; public toilet; drinking fountain; urban art; skate park; bike track; improved swings, trampoline).
- Activities in the Park (clinic footy/basketball, movies, activities for kids).
In addition, the residents endorsed the project name ‘Our Davis Park’ and proposed branding.
The responses to this initial survey of Davis Park residents have informed all the initiatives undertaken by the working group to date. It is expected that these will be revised and/or expanded as relations strengthen with and between the residents. The inclusion of Davis Park residents in the working group together with the organisation of regular community events is the main mechanism being used by the SWMPF to ensure its members can regularly obtain feedback from the residents and review initiatives as necessary.
Buster the Fun bus is now a regular visitor at Davis Park
Engaging with the community of Davis Park
In order not to lose momentum, the first community event at Davis Park had to be held in mid-winter (26 July 2014). All residents were invited to join in a host of fun activities and enjoy a sausage sizzle provided by the Department of Housing.
The event was designed to bring the community together in a positive environment and get their feedback on the changes they want to see in Davis Park. The presence of Fremantle Dockers’ Michael Walters and former Wildcats’ Captain Brad Robbins (who generously volunteered their time to attend) prevented the event being a complete wash out – despite the torrential rain!
Not even the torrential rain could keep the Davis Park kids away from their Dockers’ hero!
Former Wildcats’ captain, Brad Robbins, shows the kids how it’s done!
Sgt Brad Cooper prepares to give it his best shot!
The organisation of regular events at Davis Park is a key strategy being adopted to assist in building relations among the residents of Davis Park. These have included:
- Sausage sizzles organised by Department for Child Protection and Family Support as part of National Child Protection Week.
- A community forum with the WA Police and the Department of Housing
- A multicultural morning tea organised by the Disability Services Commission as part of Disability Awareness Week.
- Beat the Streets – a City of Fremantle Street Arts Festival event
- Movie night organised by the City of Fremantle.
- NAIDOC week celebrations.
- Regular sporting activities organised by the City of Fremantle as well as other SWMPF members, including Palmerston.
Community forums and informal working group meetings are also held at Davis Park on a regular basis to discuss issues raised by residents.
Shared project outcomes
On the basis of the key issues raised by the residents of Davis Park to date, the SWMPF working group has agreed to deliver the following project outcomes:
- Davis Park residents feel safe and supported in their community.
- Children and young people are engaged in educational, vocational and recreational activities.
- Residents report that Davis Park is a good place to live.
Note: As is the case of all SWMPF projects, all initiatives to achieve these project outcomes will be driven by the Davis Park residents themselves. To find out how the working group is monitoring its progress in achieving these outcomes, check out Program Logic_Davis Park (2) In December 2014 a team of outreach officers from St Patrick’s Community Support Centre (Street to Home and CrossRoads programs), Ruah Fremantle and Anglicare WA visited all households in Davis Park to undertake a Survey of Davis Park residents to obtain baseline data needed to measure the social impact of key elements of this project. A similar survey will be undertaken among Davis Park residents in June 2016.
Action plan – how the SWMPF is working to deliver its shared outcomes
The working group is undertaking a range of initiatives to address the different issues raised by residents. Its (continually evolving!) action plan centres on:
- Providing educational or vocational and recreational activities for young people.
- Conducting parenting support programs for parents/guardians of young children.
- Development and implementation of strategies to address anti-social behaviour, vandalism, drug and alcohol abuse.
- Tidying up the physical environment.
- Calendar of regular social events (whole-of-community as well as Davis Park targeted).
Enjoying yoga in the park!
Achievements to date include:
- The redevelopment of the park – made possible thanks to the City of Fremantle allocating $100,000 in its 2014/15 budget for this purpose. Residents identified the following priorities in the City’s subsequent consultations: New swings, scooter path, redeveloped basketball court, and play logs.
- The re-introduction of Buster the Fun Bus parent support program. This had been discontinued because children were attending unsupervised. Thanks to a partnership with the Department for Child Protection and Family Support, an officer from DCPFS is now liaising with parents to ensure they attend the sessions with their children.
- The introduction of a parenting support program by UnitingCare West
- The introduction of a new policing model in Davis Park which has enabled residents and the local police team to get to know each other and improve relations.
- The introduction of an Aboriginal Youth Reference Group, led by the South Metropolitan Population Health Unit.
- The organisation of a forum with the local WA Police Sergeant and the Manager of the Department of Housing to answer specific housing and policing issues raised by residents, who felt they had until then been passed between the two organisations when lodging complaints/concerns.
One of the younger residents punches above his weight!
- The City of Fremantle succeeded in its grant application ($20,000) to the Office of Crime Prevention to increase street and laneway lighting in Davis Park. This new lighting has now been introduced.
- The Fremantle Multicultural Centre succeeded in its application to the Department of Social Services for a $100,000 grant to employ a project officer for 12 months (starting July 2015) to assist the working group in implementing these and other initiatives. Shan Sai holds weekly morning teas at Davis Park to which all residents are invited. This provides a very effective mechanism to track the project’s progress and review as appropriate.
- Davis Park has been the venue for several City of Fremantle events, including a dance workshop as part of the City of Fremantle Arts Festival and one of its ‘Family Friendly Movies in the Suburbs’ events.
- The Make Your Mark project, whereby young people decided the artwork for the new basketball court and assisted local painter Darren Hutchens in undertaking the painting. This project was generously funded through a $5,000 donation from the Fremantle Foundation.
- Dismantle have been running their bike building workshops with young people at Davis Park, thanks to grant funding secured through the Department of Sport and Recreation.
- The Office of Multicultural Interests provided a $20,000 grant for a ‘Getting to know your neighbours’ project, which brought 60 residents together to share their stories for a short film being produced by local film maker Matt De Koning.
- The WA Football Commission is running its very successful program for at risk young people in Davis Park.
Colin Alston, Area Manager, leads the drum playing at an event hosted by the
Disability Services Commission at Davis Park to mark National Disability Week
Feedback so far…
- Residents report that “things have quietened down” in the community. WA Police confirm there has been a marked reduction in call outs.
- WA Police report that drug dealing has been significantly disrupted in Davis Park as a result of the SWMPF’s collective focus on the community.
- WA Police and the Department of Housing report that the strong relations they have developed through the SWMPF have enabled them to deal more speedily and effectively with crime and anti-social behaviour.
- According to one resident, the conversation in Davis Park has changed. Now people are talking about the changes that are happening and looking ahead, rather than despairing that things will never change.
- One elderly resident, who said at the beginning of the project that she was afraid to leave her home, believes the project has made a “fantastic” difference.
- Speaking at the SWMPF’s inaugural annual review, a young mother described the many ways in which life in Davis Park has improved as a result of the SWMPF project. She described Davis Park as a “family-oriented” community, with children and their parents congregating at the new playground, no longer afraid of stepping on broken glass or discarded syringes, or of being intimidated by disengaged youth in the area.
Follow the SWMPF’s progress
Updates on the progress of the SWMPF in developing and implementing its collaborative response to this project will be provided on this page. To read the minutes of the group’s meetings, please click below as appropriate:
- Minutes working group meeting 23 May
- Minutes working group meeting 13 June
- SWMPF Davis Park minutes 27 June 2014
- Minutes meeting 8 August
- Davis Park minutes 22 August
- Minutes meeting 8 September
- Minutes meeting 23rd September
- Minutes meeting 10 October
- Minutes meeting 31October
- Davis Park minutes 21 November
- SWMPF Davis Park Meeting 12 12 14
- Davis Park minutes 13 February 2015
- Minutes 12 March 2015
- Minutes 27 March 2015
- Minutes 8 May 2015
- Minutes 19 June
- Davis Park Minutes 31 July
- minutes 11 September 2015
- Davis Park minutes 30 October 2015
- Davis Park Minutes 11 December 2015
- Minutes 4 March 2016
- Davis Park Minutes 20 April 2016
- Davis Park Minutes 27 May 2016
- Davis Park Minutes 24 June 2016
- Davis Park Minutes 22 July 2016
- Davis Park Minutes 26 August 2016
- Davis Park Minutes 23 September 2016
- Davis Park Minutes 25 November 2016
- Davis Park Minutes 24 February 2017
- Davis Park Minutes 26 May 2017
- Davis Park Minutes 4 July 2017
- Davis Park Minutes 1 August 2017
- Davis Park Minutes 21 November 2017
- Minutes 6 February 2018 DPWG
- Davis Park Minutes 20 February 2018
If you would like to get involved in this project but are unable to join the working group, please share your thoughts and ideas through the SWMPF online discussion forum or feel free to contact us at any time!