Community based services the secret to community action on SDGs

Neighbourhood and Community Houses and Centres may be the perfect vehicle to educate the public on the Sustainable Development Goals. With over 1000 locations around Australia, they are perfectly poised within their community to include people to commit to collectively working towards the United Nations 17 Goals.

Central Ringwood Community Centre in East Melbourne is actively working towards many of these goals.

"Here at Central Ringwood Community Centre we have a passion for sustainability and over the past 6 years have been developing the Bedford Park Garden and Sustainability Hub. The Centre is now Solar Powered, we compost our food scraps in our free forage permaculture garden, we are the Eastern Regional Coordinators for the Lids4Kids bottle top collection as well as accepting other recyclable items, we are reducing our paper use by moving online, we host the Easter Region Food Co-op, we have a have a community seed swap library and run a suite of gardening and sustainability workshops throughout the year.

This year we held our 3rd Annual Local Sustainability Fair, a free event for both attendees and vendors alike where people share their space, together help set up and pack up and build a wonderful supportive network and creating a welcoming energy to our visitors. It is run by volunteers, is not for profit with the vision to provide a fun, engaging day where our community are presented with local businesses and community groups that could support them to live with a smaller environmental footprint, support local business and an opportunity to see how they could get involved.

The best thing we’ve found about this fair though, isn’t the food, or the entertainment or even the wonderful locally made market goodies. It’s the conversations. People leave this fair having met people, having had enlightening and uplifting conversations, having learned more about what is happening in their neighbourhood and feeling more connected and involved in their community.

We believe that a connected and supportive community is the key to wellbeing for both ourselves and the environment. Living through a pandemic brought this into focus and so at this year’s fair, we celebrated community by incorporate wellness, community building and cultural aspects to the fair this year. We had: Market Stalls, Plants for Sale, Live Music: Free West African Drumming workshop, beautiful local West Indian Violinist, a community choir and Peter Vadiveloo singing thought provoking melodies. We also had Kids Activities, Story Corner, Special Guest Speakers and a free Wayapa Wuurrk community mindful movement session born from Indigenous wisdom. We also invited Council representatives to promote Neighbourhood Projects and the Communities of Wellbeing as well as the Council Waste Education representatives and the wonderful Bushland team who ran a guided tour of our adjacent native bushland.

We are so proud to be part of the Neighbourhood House network who work at a community level towards the 17 Sustainable Development Goals. Our Local Sustainability Fair primarily focusses on SDG 17 by building a connected community and partnerships because we have a better chance of achieving our goals if we work together. It also provides resources and education to deliver on SDG 11 Sustainable Cities and Communities, 12 Responsible Consumption and Production, 13 Climate Action, 15 Life on Land as well as 3 Good Health and Wellbeing and is just one of the many wonderful things happening at our Centre and across the Neighbourhood House sector to make the world a better place."