Call for Social Innovation Fund
1 December 2015 at 10:23 am
The Victorian Government has been urged to set up a Social innovation Fund to allow local communities to be partners in solving social problems through local leadership and collaboration.
The Victorian Council of Social Service (VCOSS) said in areas of Victoria struggling with entrenched social disadvantage, traditional top-down approaches aren’t working, where different government agencies each try to solve a tiny piece of the problem in isolation.
“There are already dynamic and active community leaders building on local strengths and networks to create change in communities across Victoria,” CEO of VCOSS, Emma King, said.
“This enthusiasm can be harnessed by the Victorian Government by establishing a Social Innovation Fund to provide additional resources to ignite the potential of these place-based collaborations.
“The insight, on-the-ground experience, and leadership of local communities are essential to make long-term improvements in their trajectory. Only with local support, energy and collaboration can the wide-range of government programs, grants, volunteers and philanthropy make a meaningful impact.
“A Social Innovation Fund can provide the ‘glue’ that holds local collaborations together, and gives them the capacity to engage, consult, and design innovative approaches adapted to local needs, as well as measure their results.”
King said local community collaborations were an essential tool to tackle entrenched disadvantage.
“Turning around a community takes time and resources, and requires communities to work together towards unified goals for the long term. Services and projects need to be co-ordinated across government silos so they are working together – not at cross-purposes,” King said.
“Communities need to be able to determine their own shared priorities, rather than be told from outside, and have the capability and resources to innovate and try new ways of working. Governments need to have the confidence to trust communities to work in their own interest.
“Across Victoria, we see communities looking for ways to unite behind a common purpose. Shepparton is currently hosting ‘1000 Conversations’ about how to provide a bright future for their young people. We see organisations like the Ten20 Foundation hosting conversations about children’s education and development. We see successful stories like ‘Go Goldfields’ making real, measurable progress in turning around disadvantage in a community.”
The VCOSS call is part of the peak body’s State Budget Submission: Putting people back in the picture.