Mount Druitt Working for Children Living Lab
Co-creating child-friendly practices to benefit the community
When we listen to and create space for collaboration with children, we generate ideas that benefit the whole community. So how can we improve child-friendly practices and support children and their families in the Mount Druitt area? Located within Blacktown City Council, Mount Druitt is a vibrant community with many strengths including community-led initiatives. But for a significant number of households, life can be tough: unemployment is nearly twice the national average and weekly earnings are significantly less. We are working with Blacktown City Council to change this, by supporting their commitment to better engage and collaborate with children and their communities, to understand the issues affecting children, and for creating solutions together.
The Blacktown City Community Strategic Plan identifies community engagement as a focus for addressing community needs, aspirations and priorities. A fundamental part of the project is ongoing engagement with local people to understand the challenges and strengths of the area and foster ideas and relationships to support better outcomes for children and their families.
Our Project Plan
The Mount Druitt Working for Kids Living Lab is an initiative of the Child Friendly Mount Druitt Project. The project explored ways to increase child-friendly practices among services and engage the voices of children in decision making.
Collaborating with children, parents and local workers is critical to making positive, impactful changes in any community. The Mount Druitt Working for Kids Living Lab trialed a child-centred approach to collaborating with children, parents and workers to identify and develop shared ideas for making Mount Druitt a more child-friendly place. We held a series of Living Labs, attended by 40 children, 27 parents and 16 other key stakeholders, to discuss the participants’ concerns and aspirations for Mount Druitt. Participants shared their views on the importance of community engagement as well as ideas for improving the suburb for the benefit of children.
What impact will this research have?
Blacktown City Council’s commitment to building a Child Friendly Community leaves it well positioned to play a leading role in supporting partnerships with community to identify and address areas for action, and to bring these recommendations to life.
In the short-term, however, we have already seen the value of this project by connecting with children and parents who may not typically engage with Council or other consultation or participatory processes. Children, parents and workers in the area are collaborating creatively to generate new ideas and commitments to improve the local community.
“Thanks for asking me what I think – no one usually does that,” said one parent.
This change, while only a small, is an important first step in bringing the community together and creating positive change for children, young people and their families.
Read the full Mount Druitt Working for Kids Project Report
This project made six recommendations that will support progress towards a Child-Friendly City and line up with the Blacktown City Council Community Strategic Plan 2036.
- Promote children’s participation and engagement
- Prioritise co-designed strategies to promote community safety
- Create spaces for adults and children to work together on solutions
- Plan in consultation with the community, especially children and adults who are not usually asked for their views
- Support people to overcome barriers to healthy living by improving access to healthy, affordable food options and greening the city
- Build connected and engaged community spaces that are resourced to enable safe access and use by children and young people of all ages
Ms. Maia Giordano
February – July 2021
Contact: If you would like to get in contact with the Mount Druitt Working for Children Living Lab team, please email Philippa Collin firstname.lastname@example.org