Community Wellbeing Project: Connecting to community

Community Wellbeing Ambassadors from Yarra Libraries providing books and food relief

The Community Wellbeing Project is a Yarra Libraries program delivered in partnership with the Victorian Government through Jobs Victoria.

The project focuses on supporting local community groups and residents through targeted outreach and events. It continues the extensive food and material relief program conducted by Yarra Libraries during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. It also aims to highlight Libraries role supporting, teaching and empowering our community.

The project also provides important employment opportunities for people who have lost their jobs, including those impacted by COVID-19.

Since February, Yarra’s Community Wellbeing project has supported a wide range of events and initiatives that impact over 1500 residents per month. These include:

  • Coordinating social outreach pop ups providing books and clothing in partnership with Orange Sky.
  • Hosting free community lunches every Saturday. This gives residents and community a chance to reconnect after a challenging and isolating year.
  • Providing food relief through a free fruit and vegetable market every Friday with the support of Open Table and Cultivating Community.
  • Facilitating weekly digital drop in sessions with residents from the Richmond Housing Estate and weekly digital mentor tutoring with CALD communities.
  • Supporting young people through weekly a Fitzroy Homework Club program.

Community Wellbeing Ambassadors from Yarra Libraries waving to community member at Atherton Gardens in Fitzroy

Meet some of the team making a difference:

Steph’s story

Steph was an early recruit to the Community Wellbeing Project and was excited by the opportunity to roll up her sleeves and help local people.

She saw the program as a good fit given her background in community health. She knows firsthand the importance of linking together different programs and initiatives from across Council and the community in order to provide a range of support.

“Being hands-on and on the front line with residents is so rewarding”, she said. “Knowing you can make a difference in even one person’s life every day is what I look for in a job.”

Through the project, Steph hopes to make a positive contribution to Yarra while expanding her knowledge and experience in the community development sector.

Semir’s story

Semir always knew he wanted to support young people in the community.

“I love helping young people”, he said. “I saw there’s a big gap between young people and the system. So, for me, to fill in that gap is me taking this role.”

With five years’ experience working as a youth ambassador and advocating for young people in Yarra, he jumped at the opportunity to apply that enthusiasm and drive to help others in the Community Wellness Project.

Semir has been instrumental in bringing together members from across the community to youth events across Yarra. This included helping with the launch of the Richmond Youth Hub. The launch in early April saw three years of work in the youth space finally come to a head. It also gives young people in Yarra a new place to share and socialise after lockdown.

Quinn’s story

As a Yarra local, Quinn has always been very passionate about participating in and engaging with Richmond’s community services. He has been able to channel that passion as part of the Community Wellbeing Project. It has also helped him support people in his local area better recover from the economic and social impacts of the pandemic.

“As a young person that’s lived in the North Richmond flats for 15 plus years and was impacted by the recent COVID-19 pandemic, my goals are to involve myself as much as I could within the surrounding community services and outreach support programs” he said.

Quinn has found a home for his positive attitude and work ethic amongst an encouraging team since joining the project. His greatest highlight from recent months came when he was recognised for his work at Richmond’s first Twilight Market held at Belgium Avenue Neighbourhood House for the North Richmond community.

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