Sarah Brittle is Backbone Leader at Alice Springs collective impact initiative Strong Kids Strong Centre. Sarah wrote this blog post:
The focus here at Strong Kids Strong Centre is about gathering the local data we know is critical for ensuring Alice Springs is a child-friendly community.
So whereas last year our energy was directed towards building the foundations and setting strategy, we’re now working on the large task of gathering expert and community data. This will all feed into the Alice Springs State of the Children Report which is being coordinated in partnership with Communities for Children. We’ll be engaging across the sector and community so that the Report is a valuable community resource that will form the basis of future actions facilitated by Strong Kids Centre and others in the community sector.
Our aspiration is for this resource to bring the community together with a shared commitment and action to ensure Alice Springs is a child-friendly community.
As well as our work on the Report, we are undertaking a Service Mapping project which aims to gather information about all the services available to children and families in the Alice Springs community.
In doing this, we hope to provide a simple ‘plan on a page’ to assist service providers and users to identify available services quickly and easily. It will also:
· Make it easier for all to see exactly what services currently exist, who is eligible for these services and how people can access them
· Identify where there are gaps thus highlighting who is falling through them and failing to receive and/or access needed services
· Help to identify barriers to access to services including but not limited to geographical location, eligibility criteria, capacity, waiting lists, transport and service type
· Provide information around funding periods to assist funding bodies and services to adequately plan around not only current community needs but anticipated future needs
· Reduce duplication in the community and make better use of limited resources.
With recent funding changes affecting some playgroup service provision in Alice Springs, Strong Kids Strong Centre is facilitating discussions with playgroup service providers and community members to do a needs analysis of playgroups in Alice Springs.
As part of our Collective learning and growth and increasing networks/community connectedness strategic goals, we are collaborating, or as we say here in the Centre, co-labouring, with Connected Beginnings and Communities for Children to develop a way of working together. This involves developing shared documentation outlining our common aspirations for working together and a joint Strategic Plan with the initial focus on data collection and an overall outcome of working collectively towards a child-friendly community.
We are also jointly coordinating and facilitating a number of networking opportunities across the community, in conjunction with Communities for Children. These include a quarterly community sector network group which gathers to network and share information, and cross-sector groups which form teams around the coordination and running of child and family events throughout the year.
As the SKSC Facilitator, I completed the ARACY Common Approach Training and the Common Approach Trainer Training in Darwin late last year. I’ve now taken on the role of voluntary ARACY Coordinator for Central Australia. I am also working on a project with ARACY to develop a resource kit for communities embarking on the task of developing a State of the Children Report and I recently delivered the Common Approach Training in Alice Springs.
By linking in with ARACY and Opportunity Child, Strong Kids, Strong Centre is connected with national networks, shared learnings and best practice. And this bolsters and lifts up our initiative’s progress towards ensuring every child in the Alice Springs community gets the best start in life.
About the author
Sara Brittle is Backbone Leader at Strong Kids, Strong Centre, which is part of the NT Collective. The NT Collective consists of two communities that are geographically far apart, but very closely aligned as they work together in the Northern Territory using a collective impact approach as part of the Opportunity Child initiative.