Fund amount:
$300,000 over three years

Program area:
Educational Equity

Location:
Southern Metro

Year:
2020

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Backing the expansion of Our Place in Frankston North

The Ross Trust has joined with several large philanthropic organisations and the Victorian Government to support the expansion of Our Place – a tried and tested model of opening up schools to the whole community to help turn around entrenched disadvantage.

The Ross Trust is contributing $300,000 over three years to support the establishment of Our Place in Frankston North, which will be the first of its type working with more than one school.

The Colman Education Foundation has been working on the Our Place model since 2013, based on a successful implementation at Doveton College, and their purpose is to ‘help children and young people in disadvantaged communities in Victoria to have a positive and broad educational experience that sets them on a path to success in life’.

In 2017, the Foundation formed a 10-year partnership with the State Government, for the Our Place model to be established at 10 sites across Victoria.

Frankston North Our Place is one of the 10 sites where place-based and integrated education approaches are being established.

The Ross Trust’s Educational Equity challenge and change grant will see Our Place established with one high school and two primary schools – Aldercourt Primary School, Mahogany Rise Primary School and Monterey Secondary College.

Equity Trustee’s RM Ansett Trust is the major supporter of the Frankston North project, committing to $3 million over 10 years.

The Colman Foundation’s purpose, and Our Place model, fit exceptionally well with the Ross Trust’s Educational Equity funding priority. Ross Trust Program Manager, Meghan Weekes, says it makes sense to partner with other philanthropic organisations to support a model which regards schools as the place where families and support services come together for greater learning options, to address health and wellbeing needs and to create greater connections between the school and the community.

“One of our key levers of change is strengthening school and community connections, with an overall objective of ensuring young people in Victoria complete secondary school.

“We know we cannot make this happen on our own, so joining with partners on successful and new models is just one part of how we will support communities to work towards these outcomes,” Meghan said.

The idea of Our Place is that school becomes the place where so much community activity occurs – from the traditional classroom learning, to adult education, volunteering and employment pathways, as well as the provision of early childhood development and health and wellbeing services all in one location. By bringing these services together in one spot, the aim is to set up children, families and communities for long-term success.

The Frankston North area has long been the focus of community development initiatives. While some success has been realised through interventions such as the development of a child and family centre at Mahogany Rise Primary School, ongoing, sustainable, impact has yet to be achieved.

The Frankston North Our Place is expected to be fully operational in 2021.

CEO Sarah Hardy said, “This kind of collaborative approach is how we like to work – ensuring that a strong program is backed in this way brings in different perspectives but also helps to ensure a sense of sustainability.

“Some of the longer-term commitments are what is required to help achieve change. The whole of government governance model is also a very powerful underpinning of this work and we’d like to congratulate the Colman Foundation for taking such strong leadership to improve outcomes for Victorian families.”

For more information on the partnership model between the government and the Colman Foundation and the involvement of the wider philanthropic community, read this recent piece from the Philanthropy Australia newsletter.

For more on Our Place and the work of the Colman Foundation, visit: https://ourplace.org.au/our-work/