Community Engagement

Overarching all SSI programs is the fundamental objective to support and build the capacity of individuals and families to participate, contribute and connect to one another in our Australian society. The Community Engagement team works diligently to create the pathways that allow people to prosper and make communities stronger.

If you are interested in partnering with us, contact the Community Engagement team, on This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Participants working on the SSI Friendship Garden Ashfield, Sydney
Participants working on the SSI Friendship Garden Ashfield, Sydney

Community Engagement Overview

Community Kitchen

At Community Kitchen, the community are active in building social cohesion through increasing intercultural understanding. Our vision is to create a welcoming space where everyone feels included, can participate, and assumes responsibility for making others feel welcome. Throughout the year, the community celebrates various events each fortnight that include workshops, performance, activities, music and incredible food - every event is unique. Community members are invited not only to attend the events, but collaborate in performance, workshops, activities and cooking. We invite everyone to participate in the sharing of language, faith and customs and help make our community strong through our shared diversity.

Friendship Garden

The Friendship Garden in Auburn is a SSI community engagement initiative in partnership with Cumberland Council. The garden welcomes people from diverse backgrounds, languages and ability to work together to build an inclusive and cohesive community. Since 2015, the Friendship Gardeners have transformed barren, disused land to be a green space for community, full of life, vegetables, flowers and friendships. Apart from gardening days which occur every Thursday, SSI organises excursions, workshops and external projects in collaboration with other stakeholders.

Community Innovation Fund

The Community Innovation Fund enriches the capacity of community leaders and groups to build a stronger, more vibrant and resilient life together in South West Sydney. The program aims to move away from prescriptive interventions and use strength based models and an intensive consultation process to define aspirations and challenges of the community itself to shape their own priorities and aspirations. The Fund is designed to  remove barriers to funding for the community and provide resources for those with ideas who can “do” but wouldn’t typically attract grant funding. It is a specially designed application process which allows ideas to be supported without making it necessary for applicants to have perfect grant-writing skills or  to be impeded by burdensome grant structures once funded.

Meet the recipients of our first round of funding (See below)

Find out more about the community innovation fund: pdfCommunity Innovation Fund210.19 KB

Read more about the Community Innovation Fund and Meet the recipients of the Community Innovation Fund - Round 1

Welcome to Sydney

Welcome2Sydney is a new project co-designed by City of Sydney and SSI. The project aims to encourage newcomers to explore and develop a sense of belonging in the City of Sydney. Hosted by volunteer Ambassadors who reside in the City of Sydney, welcome activities include social, cultural and recreational activities that match individual interests such as excursions to the Yabun festival, Australia day celebrations, Lunar New year events and Mardi Gras celebrations.

  • Interested in becoming a Welcome2Sydney Ambassador?
  • Are you a business or community group in the City of Sydney interested in hosting a This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Arts and Culture

Since 2014, the Arts and Culture program creates platforms for cultural participation and fosters engagement in the arts by all community members. The program is inspired by the belief that everyone deserves the opportunity to develop their creative potential and participate meaningfully in the cultural life of the community - no matter where they come from, what language they speak, or their level of ability. The program hosts festivals and cultural events that bring together new and existing communities and promote cultural exchange and positive narratives about newcomers.

Volunteer Programme

Each year, SSI draws on the contributions of hundreds of volunteers, students and corporate partners to deliver services to some of the most vulnerable individuals and families in Australia. The volunteer program plays an important role in the success of the Community Engagement while providing corporate partners an opportunity to connect with SSI’s Mission. Volunteers work in a variety of capacities including mentoring, entrepreneur coaching, housing assistance, teaching English, gardening, playgroups, assisting in social enterprises and so much more. We provide volunteer training to build the knowledge and skills of volunteers that enable them to provide professional and effective services as well as access to learning opportunities.

Disability Inclusion

One in five Australians identify as living with disability. A quarter of these, approximately 350,000 people in NSW, are from culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) backgrounds. Multicultural disability inclusion initiatives support connections with the CALD community and local government Disability Inclusion strategies as well as facilitate employment opportunities for people with disabilities. Some of this work includes:

  • Resource community groups, non-government organisations and businesses that work with multicultural communities in order to become disability confident
  • Resource and support inclusive employment initiatives
  • Assist multicultural festival organisers to make festivals more accessible and inclusive
  • Link organisations working in the disability inclusion space with multicultural communities
  • Promote inclusive events to multicultural networks and the broader community
  • Present on disability inclusion for communities outside of the National Disability Insurance Scheme
  • Provide information on federal and NSW disability inclusion strategies.

For information on disability inclusion in the multicultural sector, please contact Disability Inclusion Officer This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.