The Wimmera Southern Mallee Community Learning Strategy 2016 – 2021

Shaping a sustainable, responsive and effective community learning sector.

The purpose of the strategy is to guide the Wimmera Southern Mallee community in developing a more sustainable community learning sector that is responsive to local community need, and that is effective in engaging learners and supporting their achievement of meaningful learning outcomes.

This strategy is targeted at organisations that deliver both ‘Learn Local’ funded and other forms of community learning across the Wimmera Southern Mallee and at those organisations that can contribute to shaping a more sustainable, responsive and effective community learning sector for the benefit of the entire region.


Learning for opportunity

Adult community education has a critical role to play within the education sector. It fills a gap by providing access to education for people that might otherwise not engage with learning. Learning and the ability to learn are essential enablers for individuals to lead productive and rewarding lives and make a contribution to creating just, healthy and prosperous societies.

In Victoria, the Department of Education and Training supports adult community education through funding Learn Local courses delivered by community organisations known as Learn Local Organisations. The intent of these courses is to engage adult learners who may have previously experienced barriers to education and support them onto a pathway into employment, further education or training.

The research findings and the vision are framed around three key themes ‘sustainable, responsive and effective’ to reflect the interconnected and dynamic nature of the system. These themes have been developed to better articulate the shared vision of the Department of Education and Training, the Learn Local sector, and their stakeholders. The current Department’s vision is for the sector to be “sustainable and relevant”. The overriding response from the sector asks for the system to be more than just relevant to community needs; it asks for it to be genuinely responsive to the community needs.


Connections, compliance and community: The changing face of volunteering in regional Victoria

Volunteering is at the heart of healthy communities. Some would say that it is the glue that holds us together in good times and  bad, and the benefits are enormous to you, your family, and your community. Is this an ideological view or is it a reality? Then we started wondering, if volunteering creates such important benefits for individuals and communities… why are volunteer involving organisations struggling to attract volunteers?

In December 2011 the Wimmera Volunteers Board decided it needed to better understand how to strengthen volunteering in the Wimmera. With that end in mind Wimmera Volunteers asked Net Balance to research the role and value of volunteering in the Wimmera; engaging volunteers, communities and the three levels of government all of whom have an interest in volunteering in regional Victoria. In July 2012 and Wimmera Volunteers is very pleased to present the ‘Connections, Compliance and Community: The changing face of volunteering in regional Victoria’ report.


Rural and Remote Volunteering Project Evaluation

Centre for Participation recognised a need to pilot a model that Volunteer Resource Centres could implement to support and strengthen volunteering in regions outside of their traditional service areas without the need for further funding. VWV applied for a grant to employ a Volunteer Outreach Coordinator to provide support to five rural towns in western Victoria – Stawell, Ararat, St Arnaud, Maryborough and Buloke.

In 2015, VWV received a grant from the Department of Social Services to deliver the Rural and Remote Project (the project). The grant supported the employment of a Volunteer Outreach
Coordinator, a part time position to deliver the project for a 12-month period. The grant funded the implementation of the project in three of the five regions -. Stawell, Ararat and St Arnaud. The original scope of the project included an activity to engage hard to reach volunteers, however this was also removed from the project scope due to the funding allocated.


Proposed Framework for a Centrally Coordinated Wimmera Community Transport Service

The Wimmera Community Transport Framework has been prepared to guide the establishment of a community transport service in the Wimmera which not only aims to reduce transport access barriers, but supports a broader, long-term vision of contributing to the creation of a truly connected Wimmera in which more residents can choose to stay living in their homes for longer.

In particular, transport challenges have been identified for those individuals who have limited transport means to access health and human services appointments in Horsham and other centres within and outside of the Wimmera. This framework has been designed to target the needs of this cohort of the community but focuses specifically on the provision of transport services for movement ‘between’ communities of the Wimmera.

Services that support movement ‘within’ individual communities and to other locations ‘outside’ of the Wimmera are not its primary focus and may be further developed after this framework has been initially tested and refined.


Submission to the Public Transport Victoria – Regional Development Network Plan Consultation

This submission highlights specifically, a lack of available transport can limit opportunities for residents in rural and remote communities to access employment and education opportunities, contributing to lower rates of education attainment, higher rates of unemployment and in some cases concentrated socio-economic disadvantage.


Wimmera Carpooling Report

The development of a carpooling system is an option that would reduce traffic on the roads, save employees’ time and money and reduce parking problems at their places of work. The benefits to employers include reduced costs of operating a vehicle fleet, and advantages in accessing shared resources. Networking between individuals and organisations is also an important opportunity in an employer carpooling model.