The key steps involved in building strong and connected communities are provided below as a useful starting point for developing your Community Action Plan. These steps provide an indicative guide; it is important to tailor your approach to your local community.
A whole-of-community approach to prevent AOD harm is recommended. Building strong, resilient, connected and harmonious communities takes time, and requires the active involvement of the community. A whole-of-community approach involves working with community partners to deliver multiple and mutually reinforcing actions. Be mindful that one-off, isolated events are not effective at creating change.
There is no one right way to build strong and connected communities. What works for one community may not work for the next, and so it is important to consult with your local community to design your approach. This will help ensure that the actions your LDAT takes are what local people want and need – and that it will be supported by and beneficial for the community. This will also help you identify what already exists within the community and what can be strengthened and built on.
There are a number of things to consider when planning your community action.
Be mindful that communities can be defined in different ways. Will you target a geographic community, where people share a physical space? A community of interest, where people share identity, values, beliefs and social norms? Or a virtual community, where people interact via technology?
Communities of interest may include:
What environment, or setting, will your project be delivered in?
Environments may include:
Details about how local action will be managed and what processes will be required also need to be considered.
Some questions to consider may include:
A critical role of LDATs is to engage with their community to support them to put strong and connected communities on the public agenda and to assist them to achieve it.
Tips for engaging the community:
LDATs can have an influential role in increasing participation and social connection. This may involve providing these directly, or working with partners to provide these opportunities through the work they do.
Consider action to increase social networks, build social connection through arts or sports participation, promote civic engagement and volunteering, increase people’s sense of belonging, and promote a culture where people support one another to engage in low-risk drinking practices and where drunkenness is not encouraged.
Examples of action that could increase community participation and social connection include:
LDATs can play an important role in improving the overall amenity of local facilities and communal spaces. Improving amenity should involve the local council and other partners, however LDATs may take a leading role in identifying and coordinating a project/action.
Consider projects that improve safe and inclusive environments, introduce new or improve existing local facilities, increase use of public spaces, and create shared spaces that can be used by multiple generations. All of these can build a greater sense of cohesion within a community.
Examples of action that could improve the amenity of local facilities and communal spaces include: