Warnervale Districty Community Survey
A. Community Development Works
1. Participation in community activities and events builds community connectedness.
Eleven specific events and activities were analysed in detail:
Participation in any of these activities was associated with significant positive changes from 1998 to 2001 in the community connectedness of residents. Overall those who participated became more connected than those who did not participate.
The more events and activities people participated in 2000 and 2001 the bigger the positive changes to their community connections.
B. There are Windows of Opportunity for Effective Community Development
2. There is a window of opportunity when people move to a new community.
People who are less involved in their local community before they
come to the
extent of the impact of community development activities is much greater
Issues and implications: In a growing community it is very important to have strategies to make connections with people moving into the community; strategies will be more effective in bringing about change at this time than later on. Effective strategies include the welcome packs and community B-B-Qs.
Each Community Development Activity has a Unique Mix of Impacts on
Community Connectedness; Community Development is not a
Series of Generic Activities.
Strategic planning is discussed in detail in Section L. Strategic Issues.
3. The specific impacts of community development activities on community connectedness vary from one community event to another.
For example, people who participate in the Warnervale Family and Community Centre are likely to grow in their feelings that they have the ability to change things they care about whereas people who participate in the Spring Fair are more likely to be able to get help from friends when they need to but show no significant difference in their feelings that they have the ability to change things they care about.
4. Local community events have a bigger impact on the local community than events outside the local community.
example, on average, there was a bigger positive effect on the onnectedness
of the local community, from groups and activities
that were within the arnervale
5. Some community events and activities impact on many aspects of community connectedness, other only a few.
For example participation in the Warnervale Family and Community Centre impacts on many aspects of community connectedness and participation in the Markets impacts on only a few.
Participation in nine of eleven activities
and events analysed in detail increases
Participation in half of the eleven activities and events analysed increased people's ability to get help from friends and neighbours.
Only one activity impacted on people's ability to get help from family when they need to (the Community BBQ for current residents).
See Attachment 3 Community development - changing community connectedness for full details of which community development activities and events affect which aspects of community connectedness.
Universal strategies such as the Welcome Packs can effectively
Welcome Packs are provided to new residents by volunteers. The Welcome Packs include information about services and a gift (a pot plant in recent times).
The Welcome Packs are one community
activity that people did
not choose to
The Welcome Packs make a significant difference for people who are coming from Sydney.
Marginalised people who received the welcome packs have better Connections with neighbours than those who did not receive welcome packs.
Issues and Implications: Community development strategies have unique specific impacts. The community development strategies used in a particular community ideally should connect with the nature of the community and the needs of the community. This implies a high level of understanding of the community, the needs of the people in it and the effects of community development strategies.
Community Development Strategies help
make the Community a Place
7. The stronger the neighbourhood networks the more likely it is that people will be looking out for the safety of children. Community development strategies build these networks.
8. Some specific strategies have had big impacts on people's willingness to challenge neighbours if they feel concern about their children's safety or welfare. For example: The Warnervale Family and Community Centre, the welcome packs and the community BBQs.
and Implications: A further
issue is how this
into actual children's
to link the
above with data on crime,
to the Department
People in the
quarters of group
Two thirds of group A. Well Off agreed with 'I have the ability to change the things I care about', whereas one quarter of group F. Marginalised agree with the statement.
10. The six social profiles are not defined by age, gender, household type or other demographic characteristics. There is a challenge for community workers to describe the community in new ways that reflects community connectedness rather than demographics.
11. There are some differences between those with and without 'resources' that do reflect demographics and household types, for example:
More than 40% of households with children have been really stressed out in recent weeks compared with approximately 20% of people over 50 years of age.
Older people living alone are most likely to meet friends and acquaintances when going shopping (59%) compared with other household types.
Issues and implications: A big issue is how to make connections between these different groups in a way that benefits all the people concerned. For example well connected and resourced people could be mentoring less well resourced isolated people.
A second big issue is for community development workers to think in terms of the social connectedness of people in the community rather than the usual demographic profiles. While this is difficult because it can be hard, for example, to get a handle on who the marginalised people are, it is useful because it directly addresses the issues of community connectedness in the way the community is described.
F. About two thirds of the community do not participate in local community events. About one third do. There are many untapped resources within the community.
11. Overall two thirds of the community do not participate in local community events. Overall the level or participation in community events can be summarised as:
Issues and implications: Participation in community events in a new community builds community connectedness and there are numerous benefits to the individuals involved and to the wider community. Most people in the community are not participating directly in local community events. This is an enormous lost opportunity. A big challenge is to develop strategies that include larger numbers of people living in the community.
14. People experience the connectedness of the Warnervale community very differently depending on where they were living in 1998. For example for people at their current address in 1998 one third agreed that in 2001 it was safe to walk around the area at night. For people living in Western Sydney in 1998 over half agreed that in 2001 it is safe to walk around the area at night.
Issues and implications: While community development strategies are more effective for new people coming into the community it is also important to note the value of maintenance of connections in the community. There is value in people attending activities which help maintain the community connectedness. A further useful study would connect the data above about perceived levels of safety with actual data on crime and other aspects of safety.
H. Commuting is a Significant and Important, but not Fully Understood, Issue.
15. Commuting is a significant issue in the community, there are negative effects for some people and positive effects for others; there is a gap between the survey data on commuting and the anecdotal stories from interviews and focus groups. For example anecdotal evidence from community workers suggest that commuting is universally not good. The survey data shows that:
not involved are
People who are Isolated and marginalised are not likely to be working or commuting.
Further work is required to understand the impacts of commuting in the community.
I. The Warnervale District's Community Connectedness is Different from Other Communities. Working on Building the Community will require the Uniqueness to be Understood.