Connect Health & Community recognises the importance of a community’s influence on social, cultural and mental wellbeing.
Over the past 12 months, we continued to work with Castlefield Community Centre, Bayside City Council, DHHS and Victoria Police to improve the quality of life for residents on the Hampton East Public Housing Estate.
The Bluff Rd Engagement Project works to increase health and social opportunities, as well as access to support services for the 250 residents of the estate community.
Project work focused on creating a sense of community by developing the physical and social environments of the estate. Initiatives sought to create vibrant social spaces, improve health and wellbeing of residents, and foster positive social connections.
Two community murals were developed to brighten social spaces on the estate and create connection between residents. The activity included mentoring a resident artist to lead mural development and engage residents to create the artwork. More than 40 residents took to the brushes and those who couldn’t paint, helped clean up brushes, paint tins and rubbish, when the masterpiece was complete.
The murals were an overwhelming success, creating ‘a thing of beauty’ in not only the artwork, but also the sense of community fostered in its creation.
Project Lead, Claire said, “The murals have given residents an invaluable new sense of community and belonging. The process created an opportunity for them to reach out and connect with each other, reducing social isolation and changing the way they view and treat each other within the community.”
“This artwork also connected residents with the support services that are here to help them as they explore their connections to each other and within our community. By participating, residents have developed a sense of pride of place and an ownership that has enabled them to see the potential for change, not just in the estate community but also themselves.”
“I liked painting the mural. It made me feel calm”
“I open my blinds every morning now and see the mural. It makes me feel good”
“The mural has changed how the space looks. It was dull before and now it is bright. Makes me feel happy”.
In keeping with the community development, residents have also created vegetable gardens that not only provide social engagement but help address food insecurity on a small-scale.
Food insecurity on the estate is also being addressed through monthly lunches and BBQs, weekly afternoon teas, a community pantry, and fruit, vegetable and bread drops.
Other activities of the Engagement Project have included residents creating a community newsletter and establishing a Resident Advisory Group to gather resident feedback and encourage residents’ engagement.
Broader public awareness of the community-building work has resulted in donations towards revitalising the estate’s playground being received from local community groups. These works will take place over the coming year.
"I open my blinds every morning now and see the mural. It makes me feel good”