Our guest speaker Sherryn Prinzi, (pictured below) Youth &Family Services Strategic Development Officer, with Banyule City Council, told us that Banyule has a diverse community of about 118,000 residents. The number of people living in Banyule is expected to increase by a further 7,000 people in the period to 2020. By 2031, forecasts indicate the population will approximate almost 140,000 people. Greatest predicted growth is in the over 60 age group. About 18% of people living in Banyule spend time doing unpaid voluntary with a community organisation. Registered marriage remains the principal form of marital arrangement within Banyule, though it is declining with associated increases in de-facto relationships and people who are not married. Families with children remain the main family type, though the proportion is gradually decreasing as families without children and one parent families become more common. Associated with changing family types has been an increase in sole-parent households and households without children. SEIFA (Socio Economic Index for Areas) The SEIFA index of Advantage and Disadvantage has “been constructed so that relatively disadvantaged areas have low index values while relatively advantaged areas have high values”. The Index of Relative Socio-Economic Advantage/Disadvantage is derived from attributes such as low income, low educational attainment, high unemployment, jobs in relatively unskilled occupations and variables that broadly reflect disadvantage rather than measure specific aspects of disadvantage (e.g. Indigenous and Separated/Divorced). At the advantage end of the scale, households with high incomes, high education levels, large dwellings, and high numbers of motor vehicles, spare bedrooms and professional occupations contribute to a higher score. High scores on the Index of Relative Socio-Economic Advantage/Disadvantage occur when the area has many families with large houses, high incomes, low unemployment rates and professional occupations. Low scores on the index occur when the area has many low income families and people with little training and in unskilled occupations, as well as children in households with jobless parents. Unlike the index of disadvantage, a high score on this index indicates both a lack of disadvantage and a high level of advantage, based on these attributes. Our affluent suburbs are Ivanhoe East, Eaglemont and Ivanhoe. These areas are characterised by: HIGH SEIFA ratings, fully owned medium density housing, workforce participation, mothers in the workforce, income households, average youth unemployment. LOW Youth disengagement, social housing, mortgage and rental stress. Our less affluent areas are Heidelberg West, Bellfield and Heidelberg Heights. These areas are characterised by: LOW SEIFA ratings, couples with dependent children, low connection to broadband HIGH Housing density, social housing, rental stress, culture & language diversity, indigenous population, number of people moved residence in last 5 years. Single parent families with children, young couples without children, people in need of assistance – disability, developmentally vulnerable children As a municipality, Banyule provides universal services to children and families including universal maternal and child health, immunisation, education, playgroup and child care, community health and wellbeing, fee for service specialists, family support, and Medicare local. The aims of universal services are: ” Health and development monitoring, health education, anticipatory guidance, parent skill development, support for mothers, fathers and carers, community capacity building. ” To further support families who are vulnerable, disadvantaged or at risk, the municipality provides enhanced support services including enhanced maternal and child health, enhanced family support, enhanced allied health, enhanced health and wellbeing. Current research indicates interventions are best undertaken early in a child’s life. Investing in early intervention and prevention is proven to facilitate better life long outcomes and has long term social and economic benefits to society. Special family support programs run by Banyule Council: Banyule Community Camps Thanks for the donation to the 2014 Banyule Community Camps. Council worked with family support case workers, schools and emergency relief providers to send 26 children on camps between 3rd and 23rd January. This year the camps were facilitated through the YMCA and the Edmund Rice Foundation. The overarching aim of the camps were to improve the wellbeing of participants who were identified as at risk or vulnerable. Sherryn gave details of a case study where three children from a family of 16 in the district were sent to camps in January, and an outline of the benefits they gained. The older child, a 16 year old boy, had such a positive experience he was invited to come back to be trained as a camp leader when he turns 18. The camp leaders believed in his leadership qualities and are keen to foster his future development. The young man is looking forward to this opportunity in the future. The middle child, a 10 year old girl, after an initial incident with another child, wanted to come straight home. The camp leaders assisted her in understanding the incident and helped develop her skills in coping with difficult situations. She stayed on for the rest of the camp and was reported to have enjoyed all experiences. The younger child, an 8 year old boy- needed extra support due to medical conditions. He loved being able to go to the beach and learn to surf. On his return he was confident to sleep by himself. All children came home eager to return to the camp. Already the parent has contacted Council to enquire of the next camping opportunity. Toys for Tots Aims to provide support for families with complex needs and those, experiencing disadvantage over the Christmas period, and build community connectedness through inter-agency collaborations. 260 children referred to the project from family support agencies and schools within Banyule. 26 volunteers packed gifts and referral agencies ensured the gifts were delivered to the families in time for Christmas. The Toy Box Playgroup Aims to mentor and support families, build capacity to appropriately engage with their children, link in with other services required for optimal health and development, social connections, consolidate partnerships with Banyule Community Health. The funding provided by Rotary Club of Rosanna will fund an eight week program run by qualified family support specialists and will: ” Introduce families to support services available in Banyule ” Build skills necessary to engage with child and promote development ” Guide parents on what to expect from children – normalise behaviour and provide context for further discussions. Sherryn receiving a donation of $1,500 from Sandra Bartelt, Chair of our Community Services Committee. For Further information: ” Id. Profile data Banyule ” Victoria’s Vulnerable Children Strategy 2013-2022 ” Australian Early Development Index ” Australian Bureau of Statistics ” www.banyule.voc.gov.au ” Banyule Community Health Service Reporter – Chris Hopkins