Think Tank Ballarat is an experiment in taking shared community responsibility for our collective prosperity.
It believes that a prosperous community is one in which opportunities and resources are shared.
It’s about harnessing the latent desire of people in our communities to act with generosity.
It’s about identifying and enhancing community assets by enabling simple platforms for connection and action.
An estimated 75 people are sleeping rough in Ballarat each night, with another 300 to 400 people sleeping in insecure accommodation. An additional 50 to 70 families are waiting for housing.
We want to halve those numbers by creating innovative approaches and an active network of community members able to work together with existing service providers.
Halving Homelessness: Think Tank Ballarat events
New forms of leadership
Given the opportunity, leaders can emerge from many places, providing ideas, influence and energy. Think Tank Ballarat has placed responsibility for acting in the hands of its participants… every idea generated, developed or pursued has come from those who take part.
By initiating and supporting Think Tank Ballarat, LBWR, Committee for Ballarat, and UnitingCare Ballarat provided platforms for new leadership to emerge, and allowed for the formation of new and unconventional networks. This was pretty brave, given the results could not be predicted and outcomes could not be measured.
A networked approach
We are familiar with existing forms of leadership – our governments and institutions provide authority for decision-making in our communities.
Think Tank Ballarat seeks to enhance – and in some cases maybe even bypass – conventional hierarchies by instead favouring the spontaneous connections that are enabled through online technology and the smart use of space.
New forms of participation
Participants are free to take part in Think Tank Ballarat as much as they want – through driving and working on developing new ideas and business cases, for instance, or as little as they want – say by attending an event, or engaging through social media.
It is based on the idea that effective community participation and leadership can be pursued in different forms to traditional volunteering, board membership or donation.
Cool venues, an interesting vibe
It’s been a blast. Being part of a new change network isn’t always a drag! Think Tank Ballarat happens in places where people want to go.
Thanks to the support of Housey Housey, Ballarat Tech Park, sponsorship from Bank Australia and the use of social media, Think Tank Ballarat has had a laid back and creative atmosphere that people want to be part of.
Activity on the Halving Homelessness: Think Tank Ballarat Facebook page and in the community continues with a range of ideas and projects on the go.
Some, like the housing supply project which is focused on the development of mixed social and private housing on government land, are necessarily long and in-depth processes that will take time.
Likewise, lobbying of local, state and federal government is an on-going process.
The benefit of the Facebook page is that you are able to share with each other opportunities to take action now to support those in the Ballarat community who may be experiencing homelessness.
We encourage you to keep sharing ideas and opportunities and link in where possible to all of the agencies and groups in Ballarat who are currently supporting people experiencing homelessness and working towards the goal of reducing the rate of homelessness in our city.
To provide more support to the Halving Homelessness network, we have pitched to the state government for funding for a Community Catalyst position and we continue to look for other funding avenues for this resource.
The Community Catalyst would be dedicated to connecting ideas, initiatives and HH network members with each other to make change happen.
Check out our video pitch at the top of this update or by visiting https://youtu.be/-8Q4CnwqPt8
We are excited to be continuing this process utilising a new approach to community-led innovation.
We are providing a neutral table for the homelessness sector and government departments to collaborate and think creatively on how to engage the community to solve this problem.
So keep connected and keep thinking about these issues and sharing creative solutions.