The Community Services sector is changing and small and medium not for profit organisations have been feeling the effect of these changes for quite some time.  We all know that there are even more challenging changes to come.

Part of these challenges will be strengthening the sector, our boards, and our organisations.  This will have improved outcomes on our communities, through improved sustainabiity, governance and accountability of our organisations.

However, the changing environment and discussions on the future must include the expertise and knowledge from an engaged and professional network of boards within the sector.  The Coalition of Community Boards also seeks to be part of any co-designing processes with program and policy makers to ensure  the resiliance, responsiveness, professionalism and capability of community led, place based organisations.

It is important that we work collaboratively, within localities and across Queensland to strengthen our boards, engage in policy and planning discussions, and work with governments and larger organisations for the benefit of our communities.

Stories from the Coast: Why hadn’t we thought of this before? (Part 3)

Written by Natalie Alexander Continued from part 2: After identifying and assessing the needs of parents with young children, members of the library committee engaged in some collaborative discussions with the local kindergarten and primary school to develop some educational workshops for parents. Benefits multiply Thousands of dollars were saved thanks to the dedication of the community members who contributed their time and expertise to deliver the workshops.  This was a significant social investment into this small community town, simply because people cared enough to respond to a need. The benefits of this collaborative project were many and varied: The children benefited by making a smoother adjustment to formal schooling. The school benefited from resilient parents and children, who were more prepared for the transition from home to formal education. The community benefited in the strengthening of relationships between community members and organisations. The library benefited by having its profile raised in the community and by deepening relationships with community members. A parent’s perspective Participating parents reported on a greater confidence in supporting their children to embark on their education journey. The library had brought them together to share ideas of how to deal with challenges, celebrate successes and validate their own parenting experiences. New friendships were formed among the parents who were now more informed and able to support each other. Here is one mum’s reflection: Recently, I was afforded the opportunity to partake in a series of workshops designed for parents of children who will soon be beginning formal education. Over the course of a school term, for a few hours each Tuesday morning, parents were invited to... read more

Stories from the Coast: Why hadn’t we thought of this before? (Part 2)

Written by Natalie Alexander The practice of community building is one that creates a sense of place through the joint action of citizens who work together with a common interest.  Community is all about the people and a healthy community is socially connected. The ongoing commitment to build community through joint action is a credit to the small community library, which is the star of this story. In Part 1, this story showcased how a small library was fostering strong community connections to support young families with children transition to formal schooling. After identifying and assessing the needs of parents with young children, members of the library committee engaged in some collaborative discussions with the local kindergarten and primary school to develop some educational workshops for parents. A model of partnership The aim of the workshops was to help parents of young children to transition to formal schooling. Understanding that parents were often daunted by this transition, the library volunteers wanted to bridge the transition for young families to get ready for school. By collaborating intentionally with relevant community members, the library volunteers had developed strong relationships with the school, the community and the kindergarten. With all the planning and collaboration under their belt, the library volunteers were unsuccessful in their application to apply for funding to hold the workshops. It was an unexpected hurdle, which delayed their plans. However, as the library volunteers knew they had the community support for the proposed project, a skilled library volunteer tackled new funding applications. A successful grant from a local women’s community association soon enabled the library to deliver the proposed... read more

Stories from the Coast: Turning small dreams into big visions through cooperation (part 2)

By Natalie Alexander as told by Tracy Sharp and Paul Martin (July 2015) The On Track Co-op has held steadfast to its core values of providing quality services and adopting principles of servant leadership. A focus on quality service is made possible because each organisation within the Co-op understands how to serve its own community by collaborating. There is a strong commitment to being ‘people driven’ and actively empowering the people they support. The Co-op’s success in providing quality, people-driven services is also linked to a style of leadership known as servant leadership. First coined by Robert K Greenleaf (1970), servant leadership invites leaders to aspire to lead through the practice of serving others to create a more just and caring world. As the Co-op seeks to operate on a consensus basis, this means that people can be both servants and leaders within their organisations. As quoted by an On Track Co-op manager: “We do not want to be kings of our organisations but listen to the people at the grass roots, which means you have to step down from the realms of CEO or manager.” There’s some truth to be held in that statement and it’s no wonder the Co-op is right on track when it comes to meeting the needs of their own community. The Creekside project With the desire to serve their community well and turn small dreams into big visions, two members of the Co-op have purchased a commercial building, known as Creekside. The projects that will operate from Creekside will create a new and exciting direction for the Co-op. Based in a derelict building,... read more

Stories from the Coast: Turning small dreams into big visions through cooperation (part 1)

By Natalie Alexander, as told by Tracy Sharp and Paul Martin (July 2015) Small community organisations are currently facing increasing pressure to remain viable under the threat of a rapidly changing sector. The stressors are evident for community workers who provide services to the most vulnerable citizens in our community. Disability services in particular are preparing for major changes to the way services are to be provided with the roll out of the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS). The question is: how will small disability organisations remain viable in such a different environment? The vision for community is becoming increasingly restricted with funding cuts and new demands, forcing community organisations to respond and adapt accordingly. This is often complex work, requiring the careful balance of striving for viability while holding steadfast the true values of community. Long-standing members of five community organisations on the Sunshine Coast have demonstrated that working collaboratively to strengthen viability is key to overcoming the current challenges within the sector. They have established a formal cooperative, and the collaboration process demonstrated between the five organisations has sparked innovative planning and partnerships. By committing to an authentic and creative process of collaboration, they are not just surviving but are now thriving. The purpose of the co-op’s partnership was to better coordinate quality support for people with disability and their families and to prepare for the NDIS. The On Track Co-op partners include: An intentional process to share and collaborate The impetus for partnering together came about in 2012 when members of the organisations attended a workshop on community collaboration, presented by Eileen Hayward. All five organisations... read more

Ann Ingamells - Coalition of Community Boards

by Kim Klein | ABC Radio | Ann discussing issues surrounding community centres

Byron Mulligan Ann Ingamells - Funding the Community Sector

by Steven Rigall | 4ZZZ Radio | An open letter to the Community Sector