For 30 years we have helped build healthy communities, where people feel safe, valued and cared for. We know through our extensive experience, that the key to enriching the wellbeing of communities can only happen by forming effective partnerships with individuals, stakeholders and organisations.
One of the projects we have been working on, the Hedland Collective, is a prime example of how collaborative action with stakeholders and community members can bring about positive change.
The town of Port Hedland is located in the Pilbara region of Western Australia, 1800km north of Perth and is Australia’s largest bulk export port. It has a diverse community of 16,000 people with cultures from all around the world, many of whom come here for work in the town’s thriving resource sector. It is also home to the Kariyarra people, the Traditional Owners of the land on which Hedland sits for the last 65,000 years. Such a transient and diverse community comes with its set of challenges but also great opportunity to build a strong, connected town that embraces its diversity.
Hedland Collective was founded in 2017 and over the past few years, it has connected, researched, advocated and kick-started projects that brings people together, boosts opportunities, supports a strong local leadership and ensures everyone feels welcome.
Hedland Collective has played a vital role in bringing people together to address the ongoing issue of access to quality childcare which, like most of regional Australia, is prevalent in Hedland. By convening the Child Care Collaboration Network with representation from 13 different organisations, Hedland Collective has helped co-designed the Hedland Childcare Action Plan to deliver some successful outcomes this year. This has included the placement of qualified childcare workers in Hedland childcare centres and a significant increase in high school students selecting a career pathway in childcare through Hedland Senior High School’s School Based Traineeship.
Hedland Collective has also continued to support the Western Australian Council of Social Services (WACOSS) in the facilitation of the Pilbara Domestic Violence Network, bringing together representation from 17 different organisations. This year, the network has delivered three trauma training workshops, it has laid the foundations for the Vital Changes program for men who choose to use violence and designed a coordinated Pilbara-wide preventative program.
When people feel welcomed, they feel connected and empowered to play an active part in their community. This is particularly important in a transient town like Port Hedland, to encourage people to put down long term roots. Hedland Collective’s StreetNet initiative builds on this, encouraging residents to host street parties with a $100 supermarket voucher and a ‘How To Host a StreetNet Party’ kit to help them get started. This year we have seen some great photographs captured by StreetNet hosts, having a wonderful time getting to know their neighbours and reporting that they feel more connected and safer on their streets as a result.
Identifying and harnessing opportunities for young people in Hedland has been a key focus for the Hedland Collective, to ensure they are able to learn at a high school level and beyond and gain meaningful employment without feeling they need leave the town to find opportunities. The School Based Traineeship has been a huge success in this, enabling Hedland Senior High School students to access work through local industries while still at high school and preparing them for employment.
Following discussions with stakeholders across the community, the Hedland Collective created the Hedland Jobs website. With job listings, a dedicated traineeship and apprenticeship function, as well as tips and tricks for job seekers, the Hedland Jobs website aligns with one Hedland Collective’s key strategic aims – to unlock opportunities for all people in the community.
These are just some of many projects that we have been involved in with Hedland Collective this year, where we have felt privileged to play a role in driving positive change through collaborative action. We know that change doesn’t happen overnight, but by working together, we know that it can happen.