Initiative to promote equity

Unity: Fabiana Soares, Lauren Gale, Natasha Scully, Lynette Harris, Helen Freeland, Patricia Zammit and Joseph Cassar sign a symbolic code of conduct. Pic: Greg Ellis.Illawarra Shoalhaven Social Investments (ISSI) stakeholders have met in Wollongong to sign a symbolic code of conduct.

The ground-breaking effort to promote equity in the region has been run from OurPlace Bellambi for two years to try and change the way disadvantage and inequity is addressed. ISSIis a multi-sector body formed to break down barriers to addressdisadvantage by making community aspirations and needs acore priority. The initiative is coordinated and hosted by the Australian Social Investment Trust. ASIT executive chair Natasha Scully said thesector-neutral organisation wascommitted to bridginggaps and bringingtogether people from across thecommunity to solve complex social issues. “We are committed to long-term, intergenerational positive change in these communities and the empowerment of people within them to reach their potential”.

Government, non-government and community based organisations involved include Department of Family and Community ServicesIllawarra Shoalhaven District, Department of Education, Illawarra Shoalhaven Local Health District, Department of Premier and Cabinet, NSW Police, Wollongong City Council, University of Wollongong, Aboriginal Affairs NSW and Illawarra Forum.

Within the next two years ISSI will actively workwiththree new communities in the region.

Illawarra Forum chief executive Nicky Sloan said the community services industry in the Illawarra and Shoalhaven hada long history of working collaboratively to find outcomes to complex issues and the Illawarra Forum waspleased to be working with key government and community representatives as part of a new collective approach.

Wollongong Local Area Command commander Joseph Cassar described the initiative as an excellent opportunity to collectively work together to provide a safer and self-sufficient environment for ‘at risk’ communities.

“I see our local Police, as playing a pivotal role in providing advice and support to these communities on crime prevention and safety issues, whether it be on a personal basis or from a great community perspective,” he said.

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