At SSI, the Community Engagement team creates pathways to meaningful engagement and inclusion in the Australian community. We are informed by community voice and achieve our goals through our community-based initiatives, developing community leadership and building capacity, stakeholder engagement, multicultural disability inclusion, our arts and culture program, and our volunteer program.
Our community based initiatives are not only a space where SSI leads and demonstrates social inclusion, but are representative of SSI’s values and goals. Our initiatives foster a spirit of community belonging and welcome, while also being strategic in supporting communities we work with in the ways that they need.
Community Engagement Overview
More than just a meal! At Community Kitchen people from different backgrounds and cultures share and learn from one another in a welcoming and fun community space. The community celebrates fortnightly events throughout the year with workshops, performances, activities, music and incredible food – every event is unique. In five years this initiative has served over 18,000 meals.
"Here I can talk to so many people from different parts of the world and always find something in common. We are all brothers and sisters here, this is my Australian family."
When: Every second Wednesday, 11am - 2pm
Where: Auburn Centre for Community, 44A Macquarie Road Auburn
We are always welcoming volunteers to the Community Kitchen. If you are interested in volunteering for the Community Kitchen or any other program, please enquire with our enquiry form.
The Friendship Garden in Auburn is a SSI community engagement initiative. 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. Gardening days occur every Thursday, and a Playgroup is run every Wednesday. Apart from these activities, SSI also organises excursions, workshops and external projects in collaboration with other stakeholders.
SSI Friendship Garden
When: Gardening (all ages) every Thursday from 9:30am - 12:30pm & Playgroup run by a Playgroup NSW trained facilitator for children 0 - 6 years every Wednesday from 10am - 12pm.
Where: Auburn Centre for Community, 44A Macquarie Road Auburn
We are always welcoming volunteers to the Friendship Garden. If you are interested in volunteering at the Friendship Garden or any other program, please enquire with our enquiry form.
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: Community Innovation Fund210.19 KB
Read more about the Community Innovation Fund and Meet the recipients of the Community Innovation Fund - Rounds 1 & 2
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?
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.
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.
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.