Why do we need Community Hubs

Migrant and refugee families are among Australia’s most vulnerable residents. They can quickly become isolated from the rest of the community, particularly parents caring for pre-school children. These young children are undergoing a critical stage of human development. Without access to early childhood learning and development experiences, they are at risk of starting school developmentally behind their peers. Early intervention to reach and support these families, and especially their children, is the best investment in moving people out of poverty into self-sufficiency. Evidence indicates that the best way to achieve successful settlement outcomes for these hard-to-reach families is to establish trust-based relationships that engage them at the local level.


What are the benefits of hosting a Community Hub for schools?

A recent evaluation of the National Community Hubs Program found that it led to a number of benefits for the school and the wider community; that the hub enhanced the schools’ capacity to form collaborative partnerships with families, and to respond to the needs and aspirations of families.

Principals and school staff also reported that their awareness of, and connections to, early years and other community services has increased as a result of having a hub. Furthermore, most local community service staff and principals reported that as a result of the hub the school and community services were working collaboratively to develop shared plans to work with migrant communities.


How does the National Community Hubs Program work?

Hubs are supported by the school Principal and the school community; by a hub coordinator and other hubs; and nationally, by Community Hubs Australia. The key to their success is due to the team; the hub coordinator, hub leader, and school principals and leadership team.

Each community hub is different, because each hub responds to the needs of its local community, available services, and characteristics of its host school.

Although there are two hubs based in community centres, we are not seeking expressions of interest from community centres at this stage.


How is a community hub managed?

Each hub is managed by a hub leader, who is employed and hosted by the school for at least 20 hours per week. The hub leader acts as a liaison between the primary school’s staff, women and children and their families, and other community organisations and key stakeholders, such as local migrant resource networks, to establish the best possible interface between families and services.

Community Hubs Australia supports professional development of hub leaders and support agencies, and provides opportunities for support and engagement of principals across the hubs network. A coordinator supports hub leaders, providing: training, facilitated workshops, coaching, and advice on building hub capacity and linking with the local service system around the hub, as well as providing material to support network meetings and quality improvement activities. The hub coordinator will work closely with each school principal and hub leader.


How are Community Hubs funded?

The Australian Government Department of Social Services, in partnership with Multicultural NSW funds the program in New South Wales, including the proposed new hubs in Liverpool.  Schools are expected to co-fund the community hub after two years

For this round, funding is currently available until the end of 2019.


What do schools need to be eligible for a community for a community hub?

The following are key to the success of a community hub:

  • Your school Principal and leadership team must be committed to actively supporting the hub, its programs, and the community hub leader.
  • Your local community must have a diverse population.
  • You must be able to provide a designated space, such as a classroom, for the exclusive use of the hub. The space must be big enough to run group activities, and be accessible to the community during the day (subject to standard school visitor processes). The hub leader should be able to access other spaces in the school where possible and within reason (e.g. a kitchen, library or hall).
  • Your school Principal must be committed to attending quarterly principal meetings to be hosted by your local support agency, and to releasing your hub leader to attend regular network meetings and professional development events.

How does the expression of interest process work?

Primary schools are invited to submit an Expression of Interest to be considered for inclusion in the National Community Hubs Program.

Please follow this link to access, complete and submit your Expression of Interest for your area.

The EOI covers such aspects as:

  • whether your school meets the compulsory eligibility criteria of:
    • being a primary school
    • having a dedicated space available
    • committing to co-fund the community hub after two years
  • whether you commit to attending regular principals’ meetings
  • your current activities to engage with newly arrived migrant families
  • whether you agree to actively advocate for the community hub within your school, and to create an inclusive environment for your hub leader
  • the diversity of your school’s local community, and what are the top three geographic regions represented.

CHA

Community Hubs Australia. The lead agency facilitating the relationship between the funders and the Support Agencies that manage the community hubs.


NCHP

National Community Hubs Program. The NCHP aims to strengthen social cohesion and inclusion within local communities and deliver long-term outcomes for children, families, schools and the wider community.


Support Agency

the local support for the host primary schools to run their hubs, in this case it is Liverpool City Council.


Support Coordinator

the dedicated resource who works within the Support Agency to assist the Community Hub.


Host school

the school that has a community hub.


Hub Leader

the person who manages each community hub. Each community hub has a full-time or part-time hub leader who manages day-to-day operations, employed by the school.