Planning - Strong and Connected Communities
We encourage Local Drug Action Teams (LDATs) to link with and/or build on existing activity approaches that have been shown to work.
Select an existing evidence-based activity
Existing activities may have an alcohol and other drug focus, or possibly a different overall focus such as preventing gambling harm, or enhancing mental wellbeing. Be prepared to look outside the alcohol and other drug sector for possible approaches; for example, activities that share a focus on strengthening communities to improve other health and social outcomes.
A limited number of existing activities are listed below. You may also find other activities through local health services, peak bodies and by drawing on local knowledge and networks you have access to.
Existing strong and connected community activities in Australia:
Delivered by the Alcohol and Drug Foundation , the Good Sports Program works with local sporting clubs across Australia to provide a safe and inclusive environment, where everyone can get involved. The activity has run for nearly two decades and is proven to reduce harm and positively influence health behaviours, as well as strengthen club membership and boost participation.
Established 25 years ago, Big hART engages disadvantaged communities around Australia in art.
Community Hubs provides a welcoming place for migrant women and their children to learn about the Australian education system. With strong evaluation to support the effectiveness of the program, Community Hubs focuses on engagement, English, early-years and vocational pathways.
A national organisation that uses sport and art to improve the lives of people experiencing complex disadvantage.
If you have found some existing activities that could be incorporated, it is useful to seek out further information to find out if it is relevant.
You might want to consider the following questions (some answers may be available online, others you may have to seek directly from the organisation):
- Does the activity align with your community needs?
- Is the activity available in your geographic area? If face-to-face delivery is not available, is remote access an option?
- Has the activity been shown to be effective at strengthening community cohesion and connection, and reducing and preventing alcohol and other drug-related harms? What evidence is available to demonstrate this?
Due to the limited number of existing activities available and the need for tailored approaches, many Local Drug Action Teams will work with partners to develop and deliver a targeted activity in their community. Review the paragraph below d. Determine resources required and Map your steps for insight into what is required when developing new approaches.
Set your objectives
Setting objectives for your Community Action Plan activity is an important part of the planning process. It is recommended that LDATs use the Community Hub page Set your objectives to think about using the SMART process.
Some example objectives for actions relating to ‘Strong and Connected Communities’ are provided below. You can develop your own objectives by engaging with your community to determine needs, although you may find these a useful starting point.
Over the next six months, work with (xx number) key partners of the (xx name) community to:
- Establish partnerships with (xx number) community organisations to plan, develop and deliver (xx number) (select - sports/ art-based/music) community event in the next (xx time) months
- Work with (xx number) community partners to engage with (xx number) community members to generate interest in (xx name) event and to ensure community engagement with (xx name) event
- Provide support to (xx name) local high school/community centre to build an art project focused on reducing stigma around health topics relevant to students/young people over the next (xx time) months
- Establish (xx number) new partnerships with healthcare service providers/local organisations in the community in the next (xx time) months to deliver health messages to (xx name) community group
- Establish (xx number) new partnerships with healthcare service providers/local organisations in the community in the next (xx time) months to engage (xx name) community group with their services
- Engage with (xx name and/or number) local faith leaders, multicultural groups and other cultural groups to develop ideas for, and to develop shared space that celebrates diversity in the (xx name) community over the next (xx time) months.
- Engage with (xx number) local media outlets within the (xx name) community to help ensure accurate and stigma free reporting on alcohol and other drug issues in the next (xx time) months
- Working with (xx number) community leaders to establish and address (xx number) key strategies to influence the socially acceptable nature of alcohol consumption within (xx name) community over the next (xx time) months
- Work with (xx number) local healthcare service providers to identify and reduce at least three barriers to health seeking behaviour present within the community over the next (xx time) months.
Working with community partners
Strong partnerships are critical to your success in preventing alcohol and other drug-related harms in the community. LDATs should work with a variety of different community partners to deliver ‘Strong and Connected Community’-related actions. These could include arts organisations, sporting clubs, local councils, and other organisations that work directly with the Alcohol and Drug Foundation’s priority target groups.
Partners can support your action in many ways, including delivering your activities, promoting activities, recruiting participants, financial support, and much more.
Your specific approach to building strong and connected communities may influence the type of individuals, networks and organisations that your group partners with.
Partners may include:
- Sporting clubs
- Arts organisations
- Community leaders (e.g. local faith leaders)
- Representative groups (e.g. Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Gender Diverse and Intersex)
- Local council
- Schools (primary, secondary, tertiary)
- Lions, Rotary and Apex clubs
- Community development, health promotion and youth workers
- Local employers and workplaces
- Traders and business associations
- Multicultural groups and other cultural groups
- Primary health services (e.g. general practitioners, pharmacists, dentists)
- Community health centres and neighbourhood houses
- Health services and hospitals
- Alcohol and other drug services and sector workers.
Useful resources: Working with community partners.
Determine resources required
All alcohol and other drug activities need to be adequately resourced. Below is a list of the types of resources that community organisations need to build strong and connected communities. This is not an exhaustive list, and LDATs should be mindful that the resources required will be influenced by the Community Action Plan activity being undertaken by your group:
- Basic administrative tools. Access to stationery and office supplies, printers, phones, and a workspace for administrative duties
- Venue for meetings. This may include in-kind use of meeting rooms from a partner organisation, local library, school or community hall (your local council will have a list of available places for community use), or schools. It is not appropriate for meetings to be held in people’s homes or private venues
- Funding for catering at events and meetings. Basic refreshments available before and/or after the event are often sufficient (e.g. tea, coffee, water, biscuits)
- Checks. Funds to undertake police checks/ working with children checks where necessary
- Insurance. Insurance and liability coverage (where appropriate)
- Funds for additional activities. This may include improvements to local facilities, delivering an arts activity, running a media campaign or publicising an event..
Consider measures to success
While you are planning your activity, it is important to consider measures of success for your activity. Determine how you will evaluate the success of your activity, linking your evaluation measures to your objectives (see Measuring your success).