Welcome to Mt Druitt!
Mount Druitt, or “Mounty County” as it is affectionately known by the locals, is a community of contrasts. Shattered glass, boarded-up shops covered in graffiti and burnt-out cars sit alongside community breakfasts, kids clubs, and free plant giveaways. Many people volunteer their time to help others, and most wouldn’t want to live anywhere else.
The sense of community is strong, and there’s a real optimism that things can get better. But while a state of the art community hub was opened in Mount Druitt in 2011, the only place in neighbouring Bidwill you can buy bread, milk and nappies is still the bottle shop.
It’s here that we’re seeking to establish our first Family by Family program outside of South Australia. But we know that it isn’t as simple as taking what we’ve done with families in Adelaide and replicating it here. Family by Family was built around what works in real life for families, and there are unique challenges and opportunities in every community.
So we spent time in Mount Druitt, getting to know as much as we could about local families, what’s tough, what they care about, and what they aspire to. It’s what we call scoping.
Scoping doesn’t aim to reinvent the model in each new area, but to reshape it so that Family by Family is a genuinely local network of families helping each other to thrive.
In scoping Mount Druitt, we have also considered how our process and what we learnt can be useful to other local organisations and the broader service system in NSW. We hope Family by Family can offer a model for creating highly localised and person-centred services.
Many families commented, “You’re the only ones who have ever asked what would work for my family.” There is much that Mount Druitt families have to say that can help all of us to better meet their needs.
It seems that families in this community have a much greater load to bear than others we’ve worked with: not only do they have their own problems and challenges, they also have to deal with outside judgement and the stigma of the area.
But despite the way it has been portrayed in the media, Mount Druitt has some great strengths – we were inspired by the people, their community, their hope for something better, and their willingness to help others get there.
This report is the story of the families and services we’ve met, and what we’ve learned from them.Development, Mt Druitt, Publications, Scoping, TACSI