UOW helps to fund four worthy community projects

Projects to address domestic violence, alcohol-related harm, disability inclusion, gestational diabetes

UOW helps to fund four worthy community projects

On Wednesday, 25 September, the University of Wollongong (UOW) granted $50,000 in total to four projects which address key challenges in the community.

Recipients of the Community Engagement Grant Scheme (CEGS) were announced from 10.30am to 12pm at the McKinnon Dining Room.

UOW has run the CEGS for 14 years, awarding more than $660,000 in grants to 77 projects. It is a scheme where campus staff, in partnership with community organisations, are encouraged to apply for grants worth up to $13,000 to address a community need.

CEGS funds grassroots projects which impact the community, build capacity and support the overall vision of UOW.

“We’re excited about all four projects, which are led by proactive, engaged researchers,” Advancement Services and Community Engagement Senior Manager, Dr Melissa Thompson said.

“These projects often start a lifelong collaboration towards real social change. We are hopeful of seeing some great outcomes for the community.”

This year’s successful projects include:

Giving voice to the voiceless: obtaining the opinions of people with severe intellectual disability who are functionally non-verbal. This project will effectively allow young adults with severe disabilities to engage in community consultation with Wollongong City Council, as the council plans to build an all abilities and all ages playground. A training video will be developed from the program so that other councils and groups can consult with young people like this who are commonly left out of stakeholder engagement.

Postpartum ‘Walk and Talk’ for prevention of diabetes in women with previous gestational diabetes. Gestational diabetes is the fastest-growing type of diabetes in Australia, now affecting between 13 to 30 per cent of pregnancies. It doubles the risk of future type 2 diabetes for the mother and child. This ‘walk and talk’ intervention in the Illawarra Shoalhaven Health District at three locations, Wollongong, Shellharbour and in the Shoalhaven, will couple physical activity with education, to promote a healthy lifestyle among women who have had gestational diabetes.

Safe Night Out. Experts from the University will deliver training to staff in licensed venues in Wollongong to help them understand, respond to and prevent sexual harassment and sexual assault in their venues. The project responds to a significant increase in alleged drink spiking and associated disclosures of sexual assault and sexual harassment, as confirmed by Wollongong Police. It is a collaboration between UOW and the Wollongong Liquor Accord.

Duress, Social Security Debt and Domestic Violence. This project provides independent advice and casework assistance to individuals dealing with social security issues. It responds to the needs of social security recipients who are victims of domestic violence. This community, comprised primarily of women and children, continues to be disproportionately targeted and unfairly impacted by social security compliance mechanisms, including by the new robo-debt technology. The project will also produce a report, advocating for policy reform.

Masthead picture: On Wednesday, last year’s recipient Dr Robert Ogle shares about the achievements of his CEGS-sponsored project to deliver emergency message in multiple languages.

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