About Us

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Banksia Gardens Community Services is a vibrant neighbourhood house and community service organisation located in the heart of Broadmeadows. With a strong commitment to community development and action research principles, our programs focus mainly on early childhood, education and training, young people, environmental sustainability and community participation and advocacy. More than 30 groups and Associations are based at our Centre, which was used by more than 80,000 people in 2013.

We Are Our Mission Our Values Our Strategic Plan Our Story Our History Broadmeadows

We Are

  • A charitable, not-for-profit community services organisation
  • Managed by a Board of Governance
  • A member of the ANHLC
  • A registered Learn Local Provider
  • An organisational member of AHRI
  • A Public Benevolent Institution
  • A Tax Concession Charity
  • A Deductable Gift Recipient

Our Mission

Transforming Lives, Strengthening Communities, Reducing Disadvantage

Banksia Gardens Community Services will be a leader in Education, Training and Community Engagement programs in Hume City and the Northern suburbs. Our services will provide opportunities, particularly for those experiencing disadvantage and poverty, that lead to further education and employment pathways, enhance well-being and transform lives. Banksia Gardens Community Services will also focus on social justice advocacy and give voice to those in our community who suffer injustice.

Our Values

RESPECT: Valuing other beliefs, cultures and opinions.

INTEGRITY: Being accountable, ethical and honest.

INCLUSION: Connecting communities, celebrating diversity, and giving a voice to those suffering injustice.

RESPONSIVENESS: Proactively and flexibly responding to community need.

ENVIRONMENTAL SUSTAINABILITY: Supporting principles of environmental sustainability.

HUMAN RIGHTS: Supporting human rights locally and globally.

Our Strategic Plan 2015-2020

Banksia Gardens Community Services will-

  1. be a leading provider with program plans to maximise community benefit.
  2. consolidate and enhance flexible policies, processes and systems to maximise efficiency and effectiveness.
  3. develop a comprehensive Communication Plan to support and fulfil the organisation’s mission.
  4. develop an innovative and sustainable Social Enterprise Hub to address the high unemployment needs of its community.
  5. develop a realistic place management plan for the organisation’s ongoing work on local housing estates.
  6. plan and build new physical facilities to maximise the ability to fulfil the organisation’s mission.

Our Story

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Broadmeadows invariably features in the list of Australia’s most disadvantaged postcodes. Yet, beyond the statistics for poverty, unemployment, illness and poor educational outcomes is a community brimming with ingenuity, cultural diversity, skills, experiences, hopes and aspirations. Nowhere encapsulates the energy and creativity of the Broadmeadows community like Banksia Gardens Community Services.

This relatively small but dynamic organisation has managed to recruit some of the most inspiring and dedicated staff, who help to attract a wide range of local residents to get involved in the services offered. They broker some ground-breaking partnerships with larger organisations – including all levels of government, not-for-profit and corporate partners – to achieve results beyond what you might think such a Centre would be capable of.

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The 80,000 people who come through the doors each year to attend playgroups, study groups, classes, training courses, workshops, celebrations, meetings and other events are the greatest testament to the difference Banksia Gardens is making to lives in Broadmeadows. Young people willingly come to study groups after school to ensure that they get the most out of their education. Their parents may not be able to speak, read or write English, they may never have had the opportunity themselves to finish school, yet they understand how vital it is for their children to fulfill their educational potential. Other young people who have not found a place in mainstream schools come to complete their learning, training and work readiness in a setting that supports their learning needs and aspirations.

Women who have never had the chance to finish school, or find work and some financial and social independence, have gained training and qualifications in childcare in a supportive environment that takes account of their multiple needs. Older people learn the skills necessary to stay connected to an increasingly technological world and to mix with a ranges of age groups so vital to healthy aging. Different

experiences, cultures and abilities (e.g. same-sex attracted young people, people with disabilities, recently arrived migrants and refugees), are celebrated and developed to ensure that everyone can make an active contribution to their community.

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Banksia Gardens is not a place of one-way relationships. It is not a service where paid staff ‘help’ the less advantaged clients and then go home. It is a community in every sense, where relationships are truly reciprocal. Everyone ends up sharing their skills, cultures, languages, extraordinary life experiences and acquired resilience with everyone else. They also share their opinions and ideas, they get involved in the life of their community and have a say about their future. Banksia Gardens is about giving everyone access not just to opportunity, but to civic engagement, to meaningful participation – in short, to great justice.

Our History

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There has always been a great demand for housing in Broadmeadows. In order to meet this demand, the Ministry of Housing began construction of the Banksia Gardens Estate in the early 1970′s. It was completed in 1975 and, soon after that, workers at the Broadmeadows Welfare Advisory Committee, encouraged and supported by the participation of all public tenants and people of the Broadmeadows area, lobbied the Ministry of Housing for a unit to be used as a community flat. In 1981 the flat (Centre) became an Association which encouraged the participation of all Public Tenants and other local residents.

The Centre provided support and services to disadvantaged people in the area: sole parents, low income families and young people. In the early 1980′s, there were few families from non-English speaking background. The community bonded together to lobby against Target for the reintroduction of Lay-by, which they won. By then most Banksia Gardens residents knew about the Centre and newly arrived residents were warmly encouraged to come along and make new friendships. Activities included youth groups, camps, a women’s group, a fruit and vegetable cooperative, and a Child Care Centre in El Dorado Crescent. Newsletters were sent out regularly to local residents.

However, not all was great during this time: The Banksia Gardens estate became known as the ‘Bronx’ due to vandalism, violence and drugs in the area. Newly planted trees and shrubs became hiding places for criminal activities and it was difficult to establish a community commitment to the Centre as the estate was a transit area. On top of this the Centre became cramped and too small, and the need to change with the times was ever growing. It became apparent that more emphasis on women’s lives was needed.

iwd2008After several years of lobbying, in 1993, the Office of Housing built a multipurpose facility on the Banksia Gardens estate for the purpose of running various programs for the tenants and the local community. The Banksia Gardens Management Committee has managed the Centre ever since it opened.

Nowadays, Banksia Gardens Community Services is available to be used by everyone working, living or studying in Broadmeadows regardless of age, race, religion, political beliefs, gender, sexuality or abilities. The Centre provides a wide array of programs and courses ranging from Introduction to Childcare to Yoga or Taekwondo. The Centre maintains a strong focus on the Banksia Gardens estate as evidenced by the requirement that a number of the Management Committee members are public tenants.

Broadmeadows

Broadmeadows is located in the South-East of Hume City in Melbourne, Victoria. Its surrounding suburbs are Jacana and Westmeadows to the West, Dallas to the North, Campbellfield to the East and Glenroy to the South. Broadmeadows is a major town centre within Hume City and consists of a mix of residential areas, retail precincts, and public services and facilities.

As a suburb, Broadmeadows is more than 150 years old. During this time it has developed and grown from a farming community to a vibrant and growing suburb for housing and industry. The population in Broadmeadows is a diverse mix of cultures, incomes, religions, ethnicities and races, and has a mix of homeowners and public tenants. People chose to live in Broadmeadows due to the central convenience of work, schools, medical and health centres, public transport and shops. Banksia Gardens Community Services exists to serve the needs of this diverse range of local people.