Making connections in Canning

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In response to COVID-19, the City of Canning developed the Connect in Canning project to build community resilience, work collaboratively across community services and to encourage acts of kindness in the local community.

To support the project, the City of Canning became an early adopter of the Creating Communities community board, launching its customised board Connect in Canning last week.

Canning, in Perth’s southern suburbs, joins the Pilbara communities of Newman and Port Hedland in hosting the community boards to keep local residents connected to each other and to vital information in this time of uncertainty and isolation amid the COVID-19 crisis.

The community boards are a central feature of Creating Communities’ Stronger Together COVID-19 approach, a multifaceted response to the creation and distribution of vital resources tailored to meet the varied needs of local communities. The community boards are an online hub of community activity and information, including a calendar of events, heart-warming stories of local heroes, virtual events from local businesses, and opportunities to connect with neighbours.

The boards also provide a crucial connection to the wider world with links to activities and entertaining online content from across the globe. They also provide links to vital health information, and the ongoing Stronger Together series of video conversations from thought-leaders and social commentators, produced by the Creating Communities team.

The community boards and the wider Stronger Together strategy provide a framework that can be adapted for the needs of local communities, local councils, not-for-profits, and other organisations.

The boards are a key part of the way Creating Communities has innovated to meet the changing needs of our clients and communities, and maintained our level of important community engagement amid the social restrictions around the COVID-19 pandemic.

Now, we are co-designing with local stakeholders to ensure the boards remain a vital source of information as communities develop their pandemic recovery action plans. Our next steps are to develop the functionality of the community boards to make them an even more flexible tool for community engagement.

The City of Canning had a clear understanding of how the community board model could be tailored to meet the objectives of its Connect in Canning project. Primarily, this involved providing a support network for community-led initiatives, facilitating access to community activities and events, and engaging with the community to collect input and help shape its response.

The Connect in Canning board has been customised with specific features:

  • Neighbourhood Liaison Officers: helping put a face to a name and providing direct access to support services within each council ward.
  • Community Connectors: community members who are already running community support networks and initiatives as well as community members who need support to turn their ideas into positive action.
  • Contribute: the technical capability to collect stories from the community. One of the key goals was celebrating the strength of community. This section of the board allows users to submit good news stories and to celebrate local champions.
  • Resilience Grants: providing financial support and building capacity for local businesses and communities.

Creating Communities and the City of Canning will continue to work together to develop and tailor the community board as an essential way of keeping local people informed and connected.

The Stronger Together community boards have been developed as a flexible tool that can be co-designed in line with local needs to strengthen and build connections in your community. The model is adaptable to local government, not-for-profits and other organisations to provide an effective digital solution to support other work in engagement and building connections.