CHETRE has been conducting a program of work in Locational disadvantage since 1999. The work undertaken in this program is aimed at improving the health and wellbeing of people living in locationally disadvantaged areas, and the capacity of communities in these areas to take actions that will enhance their health and wellbeing. To date the work has focussed on: improving the health of people who are unemployed; Health and the social environment in disadvantaged communities; Developing and running a ‘Working in locationally disadvantaged communities’ (WLDC) course’ across SWSLHD; and developing and managing a community based training and research hub, known as Community STaR (Service for Training and Research), with an outreach office based in one of the most disadvantaged suburbs in the Liverpool LGA. The goals and future directions of this program of work have been determined, and are described in the Locational Disadvantage program: program logic. As CHETRE is a unit of Population Health, South Western Sydney Local Health District (SWSLHD), the work conducted in the program aligns with the priorities of SWSLHD. For instance, the work will align with a priority action under SWSLHD Strategic Direction 7 – ‘reducing health inequity through primary prevention and multilateral community renewal programs in areas of locational disadvantage and ensuring services address health inequity.’
What: To create supportive environments for equity and health
Where: In the most disadvantaged locations in South Western Sydney
Through: Working adaptively and responsively with people and organisations
To enable: Trust, empowerment, the ability of people and communities to take control of their lives, and health literacy
For: Health, wellbeing, and equity
Streams and Activities
The Locational Disadvantage program works across three streams of work as shown in the figure below. Activities conducted in these streams of work will extend across the entire district focusing on areas of greatest need. Many activities are relevant to more than one stream. The Community STaR training and research hub and the ‘Working in locationally disadvantaged communities’ (WLDC) course’ play an integral role in the planning and conduct of activities across the three streams of work.
The Linking and generating research evidence stream is about the provision of access between researchers and communities, supporting community workers to conduct research, and conducting and disseminating research. Ensuring there is a two way conduit between researchers and the community that provides access for:
- service providers and community members to high level researchers and evidence-based findings will lead to more informed workers and community members who are encouraged and empowered to contribute to their communities;
- researchers from universities, government and non- government bodies to the insights, experience and knowledge of community workers and residents will encourage and develop community-based research, and the development of a trusting and supportive environment.
Activities in this stream include: learning activities; communication; identifying and responding to need; information and knowledge exchange; supporting community workers in project development, implementation and evaluation; and through the development, and conduct of CHETRE generated research and the dissemination of findings from this research.
The Building capacity of individuals, organisations and communities stream is about providing the skills, tools, resources and practices that will increase the capacity of communities in locationally disadvantaged areas to take actions that will enhance their health and wellbeing. This includes increasing their capacity and capability to appropriately access services. Activities in this stream include: learning activities; support; activities to promote or address local issues; collaboration with other organisations and services in shared projects and activities; resource development; employment readiness activities; leveraging local skills and capabilities, co-operative relationships; and community engagement.
The Developing and strengthening networks stream focuses on strengthening existing multi-disciplinary and inter-sectorial networks and or partnerships and developing new ones. This is done through learning activities, developing and promoting links and activities; formal and informal networking with organisations, service providers, communities and individuals; information and knowledge exchange; support; identifying and responding to local issues; and working together with, and or in partnership with other organizations, services, and or individuals.