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, gender equity, 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 2019.
Transforming lives, strengthening communities, reducing disadvantage
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
We genuinely acknowledge and respect each other’s individual values, beliefs, efforts, ideas and cultural and religious backgrounds.
We maintain high standards of integrity, are ethical, honest and conscientious in our approach to work. We acknowledge and assume responsibility for our own actions and personal behaviour and we are entitled to expect the same of others.
We collaborate with the aim of empowering each other to be the best that we can, to connect communities, celebrate diversity and give voice to those who suffer injustice.
We are proactive and act flexibly to empower our community when responding to community needs.
We believe gender equity is fundamental in creating a just society. We will cultivate an equal work environment and will be a leader in gender equity as a means of achieving a thriving, safe community that is free from violence.
We actively support the principles of environmental sustainability, both locally and globally.
We boldly support human rights both locally and globally and aim to prevent and alleviate human suffering wherever it may be found.
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 an organisation would be capable of.
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.
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.
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 1970s.
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.
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.
After 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 services ranging from English courses to prevention of violence against women programs. 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.
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.
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.
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.