Illawarra Community Infolink – “Your doorway to the Illawarra”

Illawarra Community Infolink
“Your doorway to the Illawarra”


The aim of ‘Illawarra Community Infolink’ is to create ongoing dialogue between community agencies and community members through the development of an online hub that connects people to their local organisations, groups and projects.

This will be achieved by developing a streamlined, online and consistent approach to the delivery of all community directories available (consistent terminology, templates and functionality).

The project also encourages Councils to go beyond a static display of contact details but for the directories to encourage the sharing of resources, knowledge and skills across the sector.

Project Pilot:

Shellharbour City Council is soon to launch a community website ‘Shellharbour Connect’. The draft website is available for viewing at The site aims to take a standard directory to the next level, providing the opportunity for hundreds of organisations to list their details on an online and searchable community directory. Listings are also able to post information about upcoming events, projects and news as well as list resources and skills they are willing to share with other organisations.

There is opportunity to utilise Shellharbour Connect as a pilot project and if successful use the concept and template across all directories in the Illawarra.

Key elements:

  • Consistency
  • Dynamic
  • Searchable
  • Community ownership
  • High integrity record keeping


  1. Hold a workshop with Councils, other owners of community directories (e.g. health) and community leaders to discuss current methods of developing directories and create solutions for a more consistent regional approach
  2. Development of a webpage (i.e. a door to the Illawarra) that links all the current directories.
  3. Joint promotion of online directories available across the Illawarra

Lead Groups/Supporters:

  • Wollongong, Shellharbour, Shoalhaven and Kiama City Councils
  • Southern Councils Group
  • Illawarra Shoalhaven Local Health District
  • Illawarra Shoalhaven Medicare Local
  • Illawarra Forum
  • Community Organisations and Groups
  • Businesses (Sponsors)
  • Community members


  • ASAP

Required resources:

  • Funding (or Shellharbour City Council’s template)
  • Representation from lead groups
  • Commitment
  • Time to input data
  • Community Champions to promote site and concept




 To have a team of volunteers who go into nursing homes using laptops and skype to connect residents with family and friends   Whilst a core of interested persons wasn’t formed, many contributed ideas and information:

 Thoughts and ideas:

  •  Volunteers could also teach facebook to some residents so they can connect
  •  This is happening overseas already; in some places with a skype robot that is wheeled from room to room
  •  Investigate Tech Savvy Seniors funding – Telstra seniors connected
  •  Telstra kiosks – look into
  •  Lobby that nursing homes should have wireless internet access
  •  Farmborough Uniting Care could be ideal place to start – they have had trial of it with residents and kids from Cedars Christian School across the road; good contacts there already
  •  Originally thinking young volunteers but be open minded, anyone who can help, maybe early retirees and people in 60’s and 70’s might really enjoy

 Resources & Contacts

  • Barnards might be able to get a couple of laptops and maybe skype on them, maybe monthly
  • Kiama Community Centre has the Silver Fox drop in centre, there’s peer to peer assistances, maybe tutors or volunteers
  • Illawarra Digital Strategies coming up – community round table
  • Lighthouse Church had someone come and train 15 people in computers (Sheree?)
  • WEA – someone thought they may done this already?
  • Uni students
  • TAFE Students – be a part of their community service element of their courses; aged care students?
  • The relatives of the patients – they could be great asset and keen to help set up and run; who do they know?
  • Mark Sewell – CEO Warrigal Care – might be worth talking to him

Interested?  Want to know more?  Have ideas? 

  • Please contact Louise Beaton, 0438 603 351  or email

Affordable Housing – Do Something!

Another Asset Based Community Driven project which came out of our Peter Kenyon Workshop!

Affordable Housing – Do Something!


Affordable housing for young solo parents that enables them to find stability in housing; to learn and develop life and education skills; to maintain stability long term. (Envisage a 1-2 year transition period into long term affordable housing)

4 Key Elements

  1. Affordable
  2. Central to services
  3. Provides appropriate education and training
  4. Support that builds on strengths to overcome need.

Key Stages

  1. Research – this is a large area – need to research available housing stock, possible stakeholder, government requirements, legal obligations etc, Community housing groups etc.
  2. Building a team of people to run with the project
  3. Financing the project  – what options are there for financing – what community involvement and involvement from banks philanthropists etc.
  4. Implementing the project

First Three Steps

  1. Team – people with expertise and the stakeholders.
  2. Building strong community Connections with stakeholders and other organisations and businesses within the community.
  3. Strategic plan.

Lead Groups

Community Housing and Housing NSW already work in this area in a broader sense.

Citylife Community Initiatives – driving the project with other organisations in the local community.

Potential Supporters

  • The Parents
  • Philanthropy groups
  • Businesses/banks
  • Community Organisations e.g Mission Australia, Anglicare, Counselling services,
  • Council
  • Education organisations
  • Housing Groups
  • Churches
  • Community Centres

Time Frame

Envisage a 3-5yr time frame.

Required Resources

  • Financial
  • People – workers, counsellors, house parents, managers, program providers, coaches
  • Land/housing assets
  • Legal – e.g solicitors, accountants

Community Engagement

This is all around the possibilities of relationship.

  • Building relationships with other community organisations and businesses
  • Connections with media and social media and their community networks.
  • Solo parents begin to engage with one another and with the community
  • Development of other community projects that can grow form the initial community involvement.





The Queen Street Servo Project

One of our Asset Based Community Driven projects which came out of our Peter Kenyon Workshop!

The Queen Street Servo Project


The Queen Street servo is an abandoned service station on the corner of Queen and king Streets Warilla.  It has been abandoned for the last fifteen-odd years.  The mechanic’s workshop to the right of the building has been tenanted for a few years but has now been vacant for the last two years.

The servo has been identified as a visual blight on the neighbourhood and serves only to drag down the visual and psychological amenity of the neighbourhood.  It has been said that if we could do something with the servo (and the park across the road) it would make a big difference for good to the perception of the neighbourhood to both residents and visitors.

The servo sits in the middle of a strip of community facilities — a strip of shops, a child care centre, a local park, a primary school and a community centre & Church — and casts a pall of neglect, both perceived and actual, across the precinct.

The servo is privately owned; the owners having very little to do with it apart from complying with council orders to clean it up from time to time.  The front of the service station was removed by the owner following a compliance order to provide clear line of sight into the building.  The bowser pumps are in a dreadful state of neglect bordering on dangerous and the underground tanks have not been decommissioned.  The owners have given verbal permission for the site to be cleaned up.  They have provided no assistance to that to date.  We have asked if, having cleaned up the site, can we use it and they have given verbal permission for that.  In regard to the existing mechanics workshop to the right of the site, they have not given any such permissions but have said that we can make them a ‘offer’ on what we would like to do with it.

The Vision –

To transform a neglected and abandoned building into a usable community asset.

 Elements of the project

Engage community members to dream about what thee site could be used for

Draft up a plan of what to do to get the site ready for the proposed use

Enact the plan in manageable chunks, giving ownership to those who are involved

When the site is ready for use, use it and celebrate that use

Constantly review the plan, adding to the usability and amenity of the site as community asset while it is not commercially tenanted.


  1. 1.    Clean up and beautify the site

Remove the rubbish

Kill and remove the grass growing through the concrete

Clean the walls and paint

Have the bowsers removed and the pipes capped to professional standards

Clean out the existing toilet space (make functional)

Clean out the mechanics workshop

2.    Utilise the site

Design and facilitate the painting of a mural inside the shell of the building using local young people as thee artists under the direction and tutelage of community artists

Encourage the skaters, bike riders and other informal groups of young people to continue to use the site and to encourage them to take some ownership and responsibility for the site

Use the space for community development training ‘on site’.

Run a ‘youth group’ from the site (in summer)

Hold gatherings of local community agencies and services on the site

3.    Develop the site and what we can do there

Design, build and install some recycled seating from old tyres and hardwood planking

Use recycled truck tyres as planters for started shade trees

Get water connected to the site

Develop the edged garden into a no-dig garden and invite local gardeners to develop a community garden

Obtain permission to use the mechanics workshop and open a ‘young men’s shed’ there focusing on car and motor bike maintenance.  Engage a couple of retired mechanics to oversee and mentor the work

Run bicycle maintenance workshops teaching children and young people who to care for and maintain their bicycles.

Get electricity connected to the site

4.    Build on the community capital raised to further develop the site, its usability and the projects/programs run from it

This is an evolving project dependent on the initiative of local resident to care enough to become active in its development.  To that end we don’t want to be prescriptive as to what will or will not happen on the site.

 Project Partners

Local residents

Child Friendly by Design – 2528 project

Healthy Cities Illawarra


Communities for Children (CFC)

Warilla North Baptist Church

Access Community Group

Local shop-owners

Warilla North Community Centre

 Potential future partners

Shellharbour Council

Department of Education

Illawarra PCYC

Dunmore Rural Fire Service

Other local churches

TAFE Illawarra

University of the Third Age (U3A)

Lead Agency

The project will be overseen by Healthy Illawarra as it is an integral part of the 2528 Project

Resources we still require

People with passion

Paint and painting equipment.  Mural paint – colours

A legal agreement with thee owner

Support from agencies and services in the form of passionate people and access to networks and affirmative support

Young people (or young at heart people) from the community to paint the mural

A scribe to write down the story as we go

Someone from Gilbarco (the authorised contractor) to remove and cap the bowsers

A few dollars to cover incidentals

 In the future  –

Some building supplies

A solicitor

Two car/bike mechanics

A rubbish skip (BIG!)

More people with ideas about projects that will use the place

A few more dollars for the incidentals we forgot earlier

 To contact us

For more information on the Queen Street Servo project go to

Or contact Brian Pember on 42295 1778 or 0425 382 568 (If I don’t answer the mobile send an SMS rather than leave a message) or at

For info on the 2528 Project go to

Or contact Nikke Gladwin on 4226 5000 or at