Over the coming months we will be showcasing some of the best projects from the Champions of Innovation award. Casey Next is a project that used innovative approaches to engage hard to reach groups.
Recently City of Casey supported by Capire undertook its most ambitious community engagement program to date – Casey Next.
Casey is one of the fastest growing municipalities in Victoria and their community is continuously evolving. Council needed to ensure that they continue to deliver services in line with the needs, aspirations and priorities of their community.
Casey has a very culturally diverse population and also a relatively young population with the largest age cohort being 0-18 years of age. The challenge was to engage these culturally diverse and younger groups, who traditionally are not as involved in engagement processes as much as the older, anglo-saxon community members.
The Casey Next program was designed to build a deeper understanding of the rapidly growing Casey community including their needs and expectations of council. Council needed this insight to refresh the existing City of Casey Vision, to better understand the value of council services to the community and to assist in identifying priorities for the next Council Plan.
To overcome challenges such as engaging hard to reach groups and ensuring that Casey Next was as inclusive as possible a range of tools and activities were developed, including:
- Creating a Children’s activity where children under 8 could draw their responses. This was sent to 33 kindergartens and completed by 237 children with an average age of 5.
- Piggybacking off the success of Pokemon Go, Casey advertised that they were dropping lures at engagement events to attract young people. Staff would also approach people at high volume Pokemon Go areas, such as Wilson’s Botanic Park in Berwick (full of rare Onyx and Clefairy).
- Capire staff worked with Casey Diversity, Access and Inclusion team to identify existing meetings to attend to discuss the Casey Next Project, for example an Afghani Women’s Group who meet regularly meet at a primary school. Translation support was provided.
- Casey and Capire staff worked with the Casey Aboriginal Gathering Place to hold a community workshop with 45 local Aboriginal people. This event served as a six month celebration for the Gathering Place and a discussion about future services and programs.
- A pop-up was held at a Rooming House to talk to people who are in insecure housing. We were the first Council group to ever approach this rooming house for engagement purposes.
More than 3600 people provided feedback to Casey Next through a variety of channels. It is estimated that promotional activities for Casey Next reached up to 480,000 people.
In addition to the large volume of contributions, Council heard from a diverse range of community voices. This included people from the Afghani, Kenyan, Maori, Aboriginal and Islander communities.
In total, Casey Next engaged 712 people under 18 years of age; 23 percent of the total respondents. The overall age breakdown of participants was also very close to the population break down.
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