The SHIFT South Gippsland Project set about to increase social connection opportunities for men and people who work non-traditional hours

Elbow Community Building was engaged to deliver a series of co-design workshops with the community to discover new and innovative ways for people to get together

South Gippsland Shire Council received funding from the Victorian Responsible Gambling Foundation to work with the community around social activities for shift workers – and other working non-traditional hours. In South Gippsland this was particularly relevant for the local farming community. The SHIFT project aimed to work with the community to come up with new ways to form and sustain social connections.  

There was also a project with similar outcomes but focused specifically on men running at the same time called the Local Men Local Communities project. This meant that similar workshop formats could be used across the two projects and findings shared between the two. 

Elbow Community Building ran workshops in a variety of settings and with a wide cross section of the South Gippsland community including: 

  • Council works depot in Foster
  • Vegetable farm workers in Tarwin Lower
  • Young Dairy network in Fish Creek
  • Local men in Leongatha
  • The South Gippsland Halls network

The co-design workshops were 90 mins in length and incorporated the use of a map of the local area so that activities could be visualised in the geography. 

Each workshop had three objectives

  • Understand the barriers that shift workers face in spending time with other people in the community
  • Map current opportunities for spending time with other people in the community
  • Create new ideas for spending time with other people that the shire can put on with some funding from the Victorian Responsible Gambling Foundation – this can be either modifying the existing activities or creating new activities altogether
Across the workshops there was engaging discussion about changes in the social fabric of the local area, as well as identification of the types of things that hold communities together. 
There were hundreds of pieces of feedback about existing and new opportunities to meet people – from night markets to open water swimming to activities targeted at children as a way of including the parents.
Many of these ideas have been adopted by local community groups who attended or by South Gippsland Shire.

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