Next Tuesday at the Summer Program, students in the Education and Social Work stream will visit the Glebe Community Development Project.
To get a taste for what they can expect, I spoke with Kayleigh Ellis about the Glebe program’s ongoing initiatives and why social work is important for communities.
The Glebe Community Development Project is partnered with the Faculty of Education and Social Work at the University of Sydney. Formed in 2004 with the original idea of working with social housing tenants in Glebe, it’s grown in its aims to bring together the local area’s unique community.
Glebe residents are from diverse socio-economic backgrounds, and the project celebrates this while offering full support to those in the most need. They also facilitate support with local organisations to plan community events and create safe spaces.
Some of the biggest issues are social cohesion, social housing and tenants such as single people or aged and unwell. Many tenants are prone to social isolation, which can lead to mental and physical illnesses, especially depression and loneliness.
To tackle this, the project focuses on creating public spaces for members of the community to meet and befriend one another.
One really successful project was the Have a Chat Café, in which they took over a local café and offered coffee and cake for members of the community, creating a space where people from all different areas of Glebe felt welcome.
The Glebe community has been fighting against the demolishment of public housing for a few years now, after 15 public housing blocks were demolished in 2011 by the State Government.
Therefore, one of Glebe Community Development Project’s biggest things is supporting co-housing action groups. Security of tenure is a big issue. They also help people who don’t have access to help, connect with members of parliament and people in positions of power, in order to access resources and find aid.
WMBB students attending next week will be introduced to Glebe, a great example of inner-city diversity. Particularly interesting for students coming from rural areas. It’s residents live together in close proximity from all different backgrounds, which can have both benefits and challenges.
In experiencing the Glebe Community Development Project’s important work, perhaps interested students will consider social work for their career.