Growing Lachlan ReportGrowing Lachlan Report
What is Growing Lachlan all about?
What is Growing Lachlan?
Growing Lachlan is a community check-up inspired by Vital Signs that was started by community foundations in Canada and has been adopted by communities in all continents of the world. Growing Lachlan intends to measure the vitality of its community in key areas, providing the community with critical information that can help set priorities and identify opportunities for action.
Growing Lachlan helps develop a broad picture of the community using relevant national data and identifying local research on a wide range of subject areas. The process involves a broad range of community members in various ways, from determining the report’s indicators, exploring research sources, and assigning grades. The findings are presented in a reader-friendly format that provides a snapshot of quality of life and community vitality.
Growing Lachlan aims to identify and communicate Lachlan Shire’s strengths and challenges enabling residents, policy makers, service providers and funding bodies to work together towards building a more successful and prosperous community for all.
The Growing Lachlan report will be designed to enable community leaders and organisations to plan and develop integrated policies, services and strategies to improve community outcomes across the Lachlan shire community now and in the future.
What are we trying to achieve?
- Provide an accurate snapshot of
how our community is doing on key indicators of well being
- Develop a report that can
inform community members around key indicators such as quality of life, health
- Establish an accurate picture
of current services
and whether they match areas
of community need
- Provide community
groups/agencies with evidence about the current state of our community in order
to determine how we can improve future outcomes
- Create a benchmark on which to
determine progress of community identified priorities
- Overall increase life opportunities and promote social inclusion to grow and build a strong community
Why do we need Growing Lachlan for the Lachlan Shire?
- There is currently no mechanism for collating data to create
an overall picture
of our community
- Services currently tend not to
be driven by community need, rather by funding
- In order to have successful
community futures we need to assess “what is the current state” – removing
assumption, pre-emption and relying on clear
- It will provide the platform
needed to engage community members in informed discussions about shared goals
and priorities for our community. It determines a community owned asset that is
- Provide a mechanism from which to set common
goals, track progress
and communicate them
- This provides for true
community engagement – is placed based and responsive to community voice.
Who is responsible for Growing Lachlan?
Shane Phillips, Community Connections Officer, based in Lake Cargelligo will project manage the initiative, working closely with the consultant and local contractors.
Other community groups involved include: Lower
Lachlan Community Services, Western Plains Regional Development, Department of
Prime Minister and Cabinet, Vincent Fairfax Family Foundation, Lake
Cargelligo/Murrin Bridge Interagency Groups and Lachlan Shire Council.
Where did Growing Lachlan begin?
We wanted to provide a high level profile or snapshot of the Lachlan Shire.
We also wanted to provide a summary of community feedback provided through a recent community survey seeking to understand what community members think are the key opportunities and challenges facing Lachlan and what they believe we should be focusing on to strengthen and grow our community.
Surveys were undertaken across the shire with some of the key findings listed below:
There are a number of things that stand out in this paper, that identify areas of strength and opportunity and that raise real concerns and act as a call for action.
Areas of real strength, things that are good to read about:
- There is a strong sense of community pride and belonging in Lachlan.
- Many of our families have a strong, long-standing connection to our community.
- 30 percent of our population 15 years and over volunteer in some capacity. That level of commitment is significant. Our community volunteers so often form the backbone of our townships and contribute to the vibrancy and viability of our communities in a number of ways.
- Community members are looking for ways to contribute to our townships and communities in a positive way and help improve the lived experiences of the people who live here, whether they have been part of the Shire for a long time or are new to our community.
Things that are not necessarily surprising, but are significant:
- We rely heavily on agriculture and in times of drought that puts significant strain on our community members, our economy and the services that support our community.
- Our population is declining and a number of our young people are leaving to pursue education and employment opportunities outside of Lachlan.
- Transport and access to medical services are ongoing issues and a concern across our community.
- 1 in 3 of the households in our community still don’t have access to the internet.
Things that are surprising and / or concerning, that we need to think about:
- Unemployment continues to be high, particularly across our younger age groups.
- Our median weekly income is only two thirds of the national average and new business growth is being offset by local business closures.
- Crime statistics relating to domestic violence and alcohol related violence are particularly concerning. Lachlan ranked 10 out of 139 NSW LGAs for the number of domestic violence related assault incidents recorded in 2014, having rated 6th and 8th in 2013 and 2012 respectively.
- We have strong participation and attendance in our pre-school years for children across the shire; but the vulnerability levels of our children are alarming.
- Over 20 percent our population is 65+ years old, yet recent service reviews indicate that that needs of older members of the community were not being met.
- Data indicates that the core activity and support needs of community members over 55 years of age are also significant.
- The age profile of Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal community members varies significantly but it is not clear whether, and if so how effectively, this is being taken into account in how we focus and tailor community services to support the different needs across our community.
- Concerns have been raised about changing community dynamics as newly arrived communities move into the shire indicating that there is a need to consider how we embrace and support those new community members.
- Community members have identified a number of issues or areas that they see as being important areas for us to focus on as part of Growing Lachlan, in particular:
- Community renewal, economic development and sustainability
- Crime prevention and community safety
- The provision of training and employment opportunities
- The need to support our children and young people and older community members, promote health and wellbeing and improve access to recreational opportunities and
- The need to address the challenges posed by distance and lack of access to transport.
The intention is to build on this paper over time to inform the development of a shared community agenda for Growing Lachlan. You will see that there are some sections in this paper where we are still working to collate information about how things are going. We have identified the sort of information that we are looking to collect. We will be working with the Lachlan Shire Council, Federal and State Government Departments and regional and local service providers to collect that information. If you are able to provide us with any of the additional information that we have identified please get in touch with us at email@example.com