Helping communities overcome layers of disadvantage requires investments of trust as well as money
The multiple ingrained challenges that disadvantaged communities face can only be addressed by authentically trusting, empowering and engaging the community to share their concerns, hopes and aspirations. This work requires ‘working with’ the community, not ‘doing things to’ it. The task of building trust is especially important as disadvantaged communities have been promised the world and let down so many times by governments and organisations. And it also requires a deep commitment and willingness to persevere beyond traditional funding cycles and timelines.
An example of a successful intervention is the work of The Australian Social Investment Trust (ASIT) in the marginalised community of Bellambi, a suburb of Wollongong, the largest social housing estate in the Illawarra region of New South Wales.
The member organisations of ASIT and its sub-fund, Illawarra Shoalhaven Social Investments, represent a group of government agencies and non-government organisations with the shared purpose of breaking the cycle of intergenerational social disadvantage and promoting long-term sustainable development.