Post-conference Wrap 2019
On September 17, 18 and 19, around 120 people came together from across four states to talk all things community hubs. Conference attendees consisted mainly of hub leaders, but we were also joined by a handful of support coordinators and some school principals. It was wonderful to host the hub family, to come together to celebrate our wins and plan for an exciting future.
Tuesday’s social activities were a hit with wonderful excursions throughout Melbourne. It offered everyone a chance to wind down and connect in an informal way outside the confines of a hub, a school setting and the conference setting. The evening gathering at Our Community House was a lovely way to kick off the conference and set the tone of making connections and sharing knowledge. After a long day of travel and chatting, the beautiful rooms at RACV City Club were a welcome and luxurious treat.
Official proceedings commenced on Wednesday morning with the The Honourable Linda Dessau AC, Governor of Victoria opening the conference with her keynote speech. I’m sure everyone agreed that there was such optimism in her speech and so heartening for everyone working ‘on the ground’ to know that those who hold such elevated positions, such as that of Governor, have an understanding of and empathy for the issues that new arrivals to Australia face.
The Café Conversations scheduled across the conference have brought to light some new and old issues for discussion. This was a great way to open the doors of communication and for some frank discussions to unfold. The staff at Community Hubs Australia are working on responding to a number of the topics that came up, so watch this space.
Our Hub Leader presentations were a highlight of the conference. Not only did they give us all a great insight in to the fantastic programs you are all running across your individual hubs, but we also got a real sense of the difference these programs are making to individual hub participants’ lives. It was clear that providing an enriching hub experience was a priority for all the hub leaders.
Special thanks to Helen Grdic from Heckenberg Public School in Liverpool, for her chair yoga and meditation, which I’m sure many will agree got us through the afternoon’s proceeding with a renewed energy!
We all enjoyed a fabulous conference dinner in the evening and were lucky enough to enjoy the company of Peter Scanlon, and other VIPs, whose work behind the scenes continue to make community hubs possible.
Hearing from Sulaf Hamid, Hub Leader at Smithfield Public School in Western Sydney, on how she started as a hub participant, moved on to volunteering, to now running her own hub was a highlight of the evening. Stories such as Sulaf’s underscore the vision of community hubs and truly illustrate what amazing things can be achieved with the right supports in place.
Day two saw us focus on the future, including the new Quality Framework, which served to demystify the framework and really showcase how it will benefit not just hub leaders, but all aspects of the hubs. Hearing from the hub leader working group illustrated that the framework isn’t just great in theory, it’s great in practice too.
We heard from both Sonja and Luke on the future of the hubs program, and Cassie’s presentation and activity reminded us of the importance and joy of connection. Hearing Luke and Sonja, and all the Hub Leaders and experts meant we finished with a great sense of optimism around community hubs. We all share the great privilege of being part of an organisation that is doing such life-changing work and it was wonderful to come together and be reminded of that, but also to celebrate what we have achieved, and more importantly, what we are going to achieve in the future.