Meekatharra’s vision for change
At Welcome Park in Meekatharra, Western Australia, a team of Mission Australia staff are heating up snags on the BBQ. Locals across the small rural town of Meekatharra gather around. For community members in attendance, this BBQ is much more than just a meal. It’s a chance to connect with others and have a say in important consultations.
From Elders to children, Aunties to local service staff, everyone is welcome. The sausages taste delicious but it’s the conversations that are shared during the day that make this event significant.
Listening and involving community is core to Mission Australia’s Communities of Focus approach. We recognise that addressing local disadvantage starts with bringing people together from all parts of the community through local decision making.
"The coming together of a community, collaborating to tackle its challenges, is truly inspiring. Meekatharra has faced its fair share of challenges, but they are now harnessing their resilience and strength in making change for a positive future.” - Gillian Frew, Mission Australia Service Area Manager
The Communities of Focus team build upon the services Mission Australia has been facilitating in community for a long time, to bring together opportunities for community to shape their shared vision for positive long-term change, facilitate strategy and foster collaboration in Meekatharra.
Meekatharra is a remote community located in the Mid-West region of Western Australia. Home to approximately 1,200 people, many who are of culturally diverse and First National heritage. Mission Australia has a strong and longstanding relationship supporting people of Meekatharra, including through ongoing programs such as the Remote School Attendance program, Mental Health Support Service, Housing and Support Service, and Meekatharra Family and Domestic Violence Service. Communities of Focus builds upon this support, to work alongside the community for up to 10 years to see population-level change to key focuses of concern that the community define.
Through each community activity, there’s a gradual increase in participation and overall positivity across the community.
Residents are noticing the difference too as local services, government agencies and businesses are working together, and community begin organising meaningful events and activities, supported by The Communities of Focus team.
At the BBQ in Welcome Park, visitors reach for a second sausage and continue to discuss the future and share ideas to create a thriving community in beloved Meekatharra.
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