Hello, Fawkner! – creating social connections

Hello, Fawkner! – creating social connections

Three years in, the place-based initiative Hello, Fawkner! has demonstrated great outcomes in community leadership, social connection and respect for diversity.

Hello, Fawkner! , a project of Merri Health, aims to build social cohesion, social connection and respect for diversity in the suburb of Fawkner in Melbourne’s north, a culturally and linguistically diverse suburb with high rates of newly arrived migrant families.

New migrants are drawn to Fawkner because of its proximity to family and the city, often settling for a few years before moving elsewhere in Melbourne - the top five countries of birth (excluding Australia) are Italy, Pakistan, India, Lebanon and Greece (ABS, 2016).

Hello, Fawkner! works on the understanding that people who live in Fawkner are in the best position to make sustainable change for their communities, so the program has a strong emphasis on community leadership and decision making.

This clip provides a great overview of the three components of Hello, Fawkner!

  • The Great Idea Program: a leadership program for community members who want to start their own projects.
  • The Party Program : a small grants program for community-led events that celebrate cultural diversity.
  • The Fawkner Times: a newspaper and e-newsletter highlighting local news, events and stories about people who live in Fawkner.

Over the first 3 years, Hello Fawkner! has provided over $60,000 directly to residents of Fawkner, supported more than 100 community-led projects and events, directly engaged more than 500 people, and indirectly engaged more than 13,000 people.

The biggest changes that we have observed in the participants has been:

  • increased skills and resources for community leaders to take action
  • increased understanding of diverse cultures, and
  • increased social connection.

We are proud that Hello, Fawkner! received a High Commendation at the Moreland Awards in 2021 for ‘Collaborative Partnerships’. We invite you to check out the range of resources documenting the project including an infographic which demonstrates some of the key impacts and reach, a case study or watch the animation.

This project puts community-led action in the driver’s seat, recognising that people who live in Fawkner are in the best position to make sustainable change for their communities. Based on our positive experience of Hello, Fawkner!, Merri Health encourages health care providers to consider how they can amplify community voice and action by supporting community-led initiatives.

Download the story template!

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