To examine the impacts of the pandemic, community members created an online event for people who lost their jobs due to the COVID-19 outbreak or were impacted in different ways to gather and share experiences.
Community Support Chat
Group Community Project was hosted on 26 of November 2021. The goal of this project was to create an atmosphere for a casual chat, and participate in an open-forum style, thought-provoking conversation. The event invited community members from diverse backgrounds, to get together for a meaningful discussion over the physical and mental impacts of losing jobs. The facilitators encouraged members of the community to find solutions to address the unemployment phenomenon by sharing their strategies and assisting one another other in achieving the best possible solutions.
The project was conducted online due to nature of the state restrictions. However, this did not stop our volunteers and participants to engage in emotionally and thought-provoking discussions. Everyone had the chance to open talk about their experiences, both and good and sometimes difficult, during the COVID-19 lockdown. Participants then worked with facilitators to come up with strategies that create more community resilience to hardships. This community project placed a great emphasis on community and the community’s willingness to strive to get back up on it feet by allowing members of the community to use their strengths in coming up with universal solutions to help fix the problem of unemployment. This project was well organised and successful as it included everyone in all the phases.
What was the reason behind creating the event?
COVID-19 introduced to the global community many challenges. One of which significantly impacted the Australian community was employment. Employment is a milestone of the economy and enables us to support ourselves, family members, and communities. Employment relates to mental and physical health, and it is a practical key component for overall wellbeing. Hence, COVID-19 has had considerable diverse impacts on global economics and employment rates. Unquestionably, involuntary unemployment has had long-term adverse effects on individuals’ mental health. To examine the impacts of the pandemic, an online platform was created for people who lost their jobs due to the COVID-19 outbreak or were impacted in different ways.
The event wanted to look at the widescale unemployment statics and the reasons behind the reductions in working hours due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Furthermore, an evaluation of the significant consequences of public health was conducted through a conversationalist approach. We aimed to explore with the participants what it felt and meant to be in isolation through their perspective, if they lost any significant income and how they overcame that obstacle and if they had any fears that may have triggered any mental health conditions or if this exacerbated any existing mental health conditions, even just stress, as consequences of COVID 19.
What were the outcomes of the event?
The event allowed people to openly talk about and share their stories on what happened to them during the COVID-19 lockdown. This allowed people break down the silence that usually occurs when the first step to change is needed. As a result, people felt like they were not alone and supported. It created a dynamic of friendship and togetherness where everyone was safe to talk about what was on their mind and respected no matter what their views, beliefs, experience, or opinions. Everyone worked together for the betterment of society.
At both the individual and communal levels, there were several outcomes. Individuals who have been directly involved in this community development project have seen improvements in their skills, knowledge, empowerment, and self-efficacy, as well as increased social inclusion and community connectivity. Community members become more empowered as a result of community development efforts like this one, and they are better able to recognise and oppose situations and structures that are contributing to their disempowerment or negatively harming their well-being. This community development and empowerment initiative resulted in long-term effects such as stronger and more cohesive communities, as indicated by changes in social capital, civic participation, social cohesion, and better health at the community level.
Do you encourage others to create community-led projects?
Yes of course! Not only are projects a fun and mentally stimulating challenge, but a chance to build new networks and friendships. We encourage people to create community-led projects as when people do, locals are empowered to pull themselves and their communities out of adversity by empowering members to define and realise locally owned visions and objectives. This is done with the aid of community members who equip individuals and families with the skills and information they need to improve themselves and their communities. Volunteering, especially, in the community expands your horizons by allowing you to better grasp the needs of the society and the population you are attempting to assist via the project you are working on.
Community-led projects enhances a community's vitality by bringing together and weaving the contributions of everyone who is connected to a place. People feel more connected and feel like they have a purpose when they have others who also share the similar story, beliefs, and values. Community-led projects improves social relationships, allowing communities to thrive. What may begin as shaky ties might develop into the confidence to execute one-off tiny acts. Communities grow organised, expanding their influence and participation with other allies outside their own neighbourhoods, based on local strengths and achievements. Collaboration and local leadership all aid in the speeding up of greater change.