Arts initiative at Frankston North adds colour to community connection
Published on 16 September 2021
Members of Frankston North Community Centre have participated in an important arts initiative to build community connections and break down isolation during lockdown.
North West Ward Cr Sue Baker said Frankston City’s vibrant community centres and neighbourhood houses are at the heart of our diverse communities.
Cr Baker added: “Our Community Centres both offer and host an amazing range of programs and activities to support, enhance and strengthen community connections. While we haven’t been together in recent times due to lockdown restrictions, our Community Centres have maintained strong connections online.”
Run by the Big hART organisation, the arts initiative was run both at Frankston North Community Centre and Monterey Secondary College this year and remotely in line with COVID safe practices.
Gillian, who participated in the initiative at Frankston North Community Centre, said: “It’s been a privilege to be a part of this, I can’t tell you how much I’ve loved it. I love being part of community. This is a wonderful community here and it’s been exciting to do the kind of work we’ve been doing.
“Because COVID has made a more intimate friendship difficult, right now I'm happy that the girls know that there are many of us who have something to contribute to the life of our community,” Gillian said.
Lucy added: “I get to connect with young girls in my community and hopefully empower them to find their voices and passions.”
Big hART’s Connecting Lines has been running since December last year supporting social connection and community engagement between young people and the senior community in Frankston North, using the arts as a vehicle to deepen intergenerational understanding and bring the community together through unique creative collaborations.
Connecting Lines is an extension of the Big hART initiative Project O, which works with young people in Frankston North to build their skills, confidence and capabilities and deepen their connections within their community.
Towards the end of lockdown in 2020, Big hART producers observed a lot of our young people were feeling socially disconnected.
Big hART Produce Natalie O’Donnell said: “We also recognised that senior members of the Frankston North community were particularly vulnerable to the impacts of isolation.
“Big hART reached out to the Frankston North Community centre who had similarly observed many of their community member were feeling the impacts of social isolation due to extended lockdowns and from these conversations Connecting Lines was developed as an opportunity to connect with others emerging from times of COVID 19 isolation and to build relationships between senior and young people in Frankston North,” Ms O’Donnell said.
Ms O’Donnell added: “One of our project highlights was a whole community workshop for Frankston North Community Centre’s ‘International Women’s Day 2021’ celebrations called ‘Choose to Challenge’. In these workshops our young participants, supported by the seniors, led and facilitated conversations with the wider community around a variety of social issues.
“It’s been incredibly special to see the bonds forming between younger and senior participants, and in particular, to observe how the work is moving outside our workshops,” Ms O’Donnell said.
Connecting Lines is supported by the State Government of Victoria through the ‘Let’s Stay Connected Fund’, an initiative of the Office for Suburban Development, Department of Jobs, Precincts and Regions, The Crown Resorts and Packer Family Foundations, The Angior Foundation, Australia Council for the Arts, Monterey Secondary College and Mahogany Rise Primary School.
The State Member for Frankston, Paul Edbrooke MP, said: “It’s really exciting to see the innovative way Connecting Lines uses the arts to bring together the young people and members of the senior community in Frankston North. Supported by the team at Big hART, young people and seniors have collaborated to develop powerful creative works, which highlight the importance of social connection and celebrate community.
“Importantly, Connecting Lines has created the opportunity for meaningful intergenerational exchange as young people and seniors get to know each other to share and learn from each other’s experiences,” Mr Edbrooke said.
To view a video of the art project, please visit https://vimeo.com/515630365/cbf8269e5b
Frankston North Community Centre is one of four Community Houses directly managed by Frankston City Council. Another five independently-run Community Houses are supported and maintained by Council to help build and strengthen communities.
For more information about Frankston City’s community centres and neighbourhood houses, please visit https://www.frankston.vic.gov.au/Things_To_Do/Community_Centres_and_Neighbourhood_Houses