Seeded from a three-year collaborative partnership between the University’s Department of Social Work, the Faculty of Medicine, Dentistry and Health Sciences’ (MDHS) Engagement Unit and the Hobsons Bay Community Fund (HBCF), the Inclusion Project Partnership aims to help young people overcome barriers to participation in sports and recreation and has established a model for community-based placement for the University’s Master of Social Work students.
In 2014, University staff met with members from the HBCF to discuss how to engage Master of Social Work students with the Hobson’s Bay community, with the aim of improving the inclusion of young people who face barriers to entry in sports and recreation. Over the following three years the Inclusion Project Partnership allowed students to engage with the Hobson’s Bay community, working from a local business office space provided in-kind by a HBCF board member. The Hobson’s Bay Community Fund Project Team, comprised of Professor Lou Harms, Ms Janice Thomas, Dr Kathryn Sellick, Dr Nicole Hill and Ms Lis de Vries are the recipients of the 2018 Award for Excellence in Engagement – Teaching for their facilitation of the Inclusion Project Partnership alongside the HBCF.
Throughout the project students worked with parents, sporting clubs, disability workers and other stakeholders to establish community approaches to the broader inclusion of young people in sport and recreation. Students produced and promoted an inclusion guide that assists local community organisations to facilitate greater access to sport for all people. The inclusion guide offers the community a tangible resource to assist with the implementation of techniques to encourage inclusion throughout their various organisations and initiatives.
Not only does the Inclusion Project teach our students the essentials of active citizenship, the student-driven placement requires them to be active citizens as they engage with communities. The Hobson Bay Community Fund Project Team
The Inclusion Project Partnership allows students to oversee the implementation and success of their inclusion guide in the Hobson Bay community, as part of their required 500 hours of supervised field education. The partnership has generated further positive outcomes for the community, such as the annual grants awarded by the HBCF to sporting clubs who have promoted an inclusive environment.
What is significant about the partnership between Melbourne University and the Hobsons Bay Community Fund is the way in which it creates a real opportunity for engagement with community networks that influence the allocation of resources, policy decisions, and enable students to engage with a broad cross-section of interest groups, powerbrokers, and decision
makers. Hayden Raysmith, Chair of HBCF
Award recipients and attendees at the HBCF grant awards presentation and Sports for Everyone Guide Launch Event (2017).