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  Management
  Alternatives Pty Ltd
  ABN 23 050 334 435

 

 

 

 

 1. Project | 2. Questions | 3. Findings | 4. Pictures
5. Report & survey forms

Warnervale Districty Community Survey

3. Findings

A. Community Development Works

1. Participation in community activities and events builds community connectedness.

Eleven specific events and activities were analysed in detail:
The Warnervale Family and Community Centre.
Community BBQ.
Spring Fair.
Markets at the Family and Community Centre.
Welcome Packs.
Public Meetings.
Signing Petitions.
Children/Parenting Groups.
Sporting, Recreation and Hobby Groups.
Religious Groups.
Services and Other Social Clubs.

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
Warnervale District are likely to become more involved in their new community; when moving to a new community and losing many of their past community connections they are motivated to reach out and get involved in things they would not normally have got involved with.

The extent of the impact of community development activities is much greater for
people who have recently moved into the community than for people who have been in the community a long time.

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.

C. Each Community Development Activity has a Unique Mix of Impacts on Community Connectedness; Community Development is not a Series of Generic Activities.
Understanding this Allows Better Strategic Planning of Community Development.

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.

For 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
district, than from groups and activities outside the Wyong Shire.

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
people's ability to be comfortable challenging neighbours if they feel concern about their neighbours children's safety or welfare.

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.

6. Universal strategies such as the Welcome Packs can effectively reach
marginalised people.

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
participate in. Someone in the community chose to visit new residents when they first arrived to make them feel welcome and provide local information.

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.

D. Community Development Strategies help make the Community a Place where People
Look Out for Children's Safety and Welfare.

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.

Issues and Implications: A further issue is how this willingness translates into actual children's safety and welfare. Further study is required to link the findings above with data on crime, reports of children at risk to the Department of Community Services, etc.

E. The Community includes Marginalised People, Well Connected and Resourced People and People with Other Social Profiles. There are Opportunities for Building Connections between these People.

9. People in the community can be grouped into six different social profiles. These six groups of people have dramatically different life experiences and experiences of the community.
The six social profiles are:
%   Profile
16   A Well off and involved.
19   B Well off but not involved.
24   C Connected but stressed and not much involved.
15   D Needs to be involved.
18   E Some connections and marginalised.
7    F Isolated and marginalised.

For example three quarters of group A. Well Off agreed with 'I am comfortable in
challenging neighbours if I feel concern about their children's safety of welfare'
whereas one third of group D. Needs to be involved agree with the statement.

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:

Approximately 70% of households with children often feel rushed, pressured and
too busy compared with approximately 34% people over 50 years of age.

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:

%    Group
69   A People who have not participated in any local events (and half have not
participated in any community organisations).
15   B People who have participated in 1 to 2 local events (three quarters of
whom have also participated in community organisations).
8    C People who have participated in 3 to 10 local events (nearly all of whom
have also participated in community organisations).
8     D Organisers of local events (most of whom also participated in community
organisations)

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.


G. The Community includes Long Term Residents, People coming from elsewhere in the Shire (or Gosford City), People coming from Sydney and those from elsewhere. These Groups experience the Community differently. Community Development Strategies Impact on these groups differently. So there is a Challenge to think Strategically about Community Development Activities.

13. The impact of participation in community events and activities varies
considerably with where people were living in 1998.
Overall those people coming from Sydney show the most change as a result of participating in community events and those who were already living in Warnervale in 1998 show the least change. For example:

People who were living in Warnervale in 1998 and participate in children's and parents groups in 2000 and 2001 have no positive changes in their community connections from 1998 to 2001 compared with people who did not participate in
children's and parents groups. People who were living in Sydney in 1998 and participated in the children's and parents groups in 2000 and 2001 have numerous significant changes from 1998 to 2001 (compared with people who did not participate).

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:

People who are well connected and well resourced show almost no differences
between commuters and non commuters.

People who are well off but not involved are more likely to experience stress with
friends and neighbours when they are commuting than if they are working but not
commuting

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.

16. When the Warnervale district community profile is compared with the
community profile of the following five other communities in NSW:

West Wyalong (country town in NSW).
Deniliquin (country town in NSW).
Narellan (new estate near Campbelltown).
Greenacre (Sydney Inner West).
Ultimo/Pyrmont (Sydney Inner City).

Warnervale is overall most similar to Narellan (another new housing estate) but
there are also come differences, for example compared to Narellan Warnervale
people are less likely to run into friends and acquaintances when they go shopping.

17. When the Warnervale district community profile is compared with the social profile of the Australian community
in terms of trust, reciprocity and confidence in institutions the Warnervale district community has wider variation. On average is just below the Australian average on these characteristics.