Campbelltown City Council in Western Sydney identified that one of its oldest town centres was continuing to deteriorate and attract a growing level of anti-social behaviour. The local police department was doing its part to increase its presence, creating an alcohol free zone and even promoting grants for local businesses to install CCTV, and the issues were still continuing to rise.
The council determined that a reason for the growing anti-social behaviours may be a result of the place looking like it just wasn’t loved; and so they created the ‘Love Minto’ project. The staff and elected members were also aware that organising on-going large-scale events was resource intensive and they couldn’t guarantee the community would attend council-led activities.
Town Team Movement was engaged to help the council identify the community leaders, create a local vision, identify new and creative ideas and help the residents and businesses feel more empowered and take ownership of ‘their’ place.
Define your Community Vision
The community leaders identified their place as being incredibly multi-cultural with people from across the world including Bangladesh, Nepal, New Zealand, Fiji, India, and so on. And Minto should be a meeting place the community can unite and come together. As a result, the ‘Uniting Minto’ Town Team has been created to develop new multi-cultural meeting places and cultural events.
Photo: Workshop Activation Exercises: ‘Love Lane Beautification Planning’
Erica Lane was the first place identified as needing some additional love and the creation of beautification works to create a community place people felt welcome to host their own activities and hang out in a more positive environment. And so, Love Lane was created with proposed murals celebrating the united cultural community, lighting and seating to make the place feel safer, native plantings to make the place feel better, colourful paths leading or wayfinding to the laneway and cultural events to celebrate the wonderful community.
Think Big, Start Small and Build your Town Team Momentum
Instead of getting ahead of themselves, the community champions built the project in stages of four months and started with quick and easy wins. The council helped out by delivering native plants, and the town team members hosted a busy bee event to get it done. A few hours later and the town team had completed their first action to create their love lane! Everyone felt good about themselves, empowered and motivated to do more.
Photo: Busy Bee Community Planting Day
Build Your Confidence & Tell the Story of your Local Place
Following the success of the groups first action, the team felt more empowered and confidence to take on a larger project, which was a street mural and colourful Bangli Art design uniting the different cultures through flora and fauna. Instantly, the place was transformed, felt more alive and a place people felt welcome and safe to start having meeting and catching up with friends. And to make the place even more attractive and safe at night, the Council installed festive lights and new planter boxes; the place was starting to come to life and the community was ready to celebrate!
Photo: Street Mural and Beautification Works
Organising the Team and Planning the First Celebration
The team was now feeling increasingly confident in their new place and hosting regular committee meetings in the laneway to plan their first event. Roles were being identified for each member, new ideas tested and a plan to make the celebration happen! The different community members reached out to their contacts for any gaps in skills and resources, the council helped with approvals and everyone banded together to promote the ‘Light up the Lane’, which celebrated the vision with cultural performances, a kids art competition, market stalls and food from local vendors.
Photo: Community Laneway Meetings and Promoting the Event in Key Locations
Making it Happen!
So, on a scorching 47 degree summer day the community came together! Businesses were happy, people felt great and the show went on! Different cultural groups were coming together, new connections were made and the Council and Town Team was starting to understand the power of a place-led approach. A few lessons were learnt and the Town Team is putting together their first Place Plan with actions to complete over the next few years. Minto showed how a local makeover can bring a place back to life through community spirit, cultural appreciation and developing strong partnerships with landowners, businesses council and other cultural groups in their hood. They feel great about making a great place and proud of what they have achieved, go Minto!
Photo: Uniting Minto Town Team Event, ‘Light Up the Lane’ Feb 2020
Contact David Snyder from The Place Team at [email protected] to find out more about this project and how we can help your local government deliver an exciting town team building initiative.