The English Family Foundation is incredibly proud to be one of the founding funders for Children’s Ground, an organisation working with First Nations communities to implement an innovative approach to breaking the tide of entrenched poverty and inequity in Australia. Designed with First Nations people, Children’s Ground builds on the ability, strength and culture of communities while responding to trauma and creating opportunities. Working where people live, Children’s Ground builds generational change by supporting each child, in every family within a community over a 25-year period.
The approach integrates education with health, community development, economic development and cultural life. It replaces a history of isolated, crisis driven programs and demands excellence over the long term to create enduring change.
Details of Support
English Family Foundation supported Children’s Ground in its foundational years to create a system of programs and services centred on learning, development and wellbeing that respond to the main life-stages and key transition points from birth to young adulthood. Since 2014 we have partnered with Children’s Ground, and since 2017 we have been supporting their new operations and continuing their key work in communities across Alice Springs.
Combatting intergenerational disadvantage takes time, and impact occurs gradually over lifetimes. Through a longitudinal evaluation and strategic and community level research agendas, Children’s Ground are monitoring and measuring change in education, health and wellbeing, economic, social and cultural outcomes – over the short, medium and long-term. Children’s Ground have engaged with over 3,000 family members, particularly children aged 0-5 years to embed learning practices and greater wellbeing from the very beginning.
Why did we pursue this partnership?
We think this audacious model could be what is needed to finally disrupt the intergenerational poverty which is still a reality for so many Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. It is a culturally driven and sensitive approach that honours the depth of knowledge and vision of the Indigenous communities in which it is applied, recognising that truly authentic, sustainable change must be led from within a community according to their hopes and aspirations for the future.
What have we learned?
First Nations people must be at the centre of any approach to achieve better futures for their communities. Their phenomenal expertise must be honoured at all stages. Work of this kind must be led by First Nations leaders, built on deep relationships of trust and understanding. Achieving impact is slow, but efforts must be respectful of the trauma that exists and the role that non-Indigenous Australians need to play in shifting cultural stigma.