We believe Universities should be grounded in their neighbourhood and part of their work be devoted to understanding, explaining and helping solve challenges and needs identified by its community members.
The Glebe Community Development Project (GCDP) was established in 2004. For almost 20 years it has worked with its neighbourhood to address issues of social concern and develop and implement strategies to improve the quality of life for the community. Currently, the GCDP has four main aims:
GCDP works with the Aboriginal Cultural Space Working Group in its offices at Glebe Town Hall to provide a safe space to for Aboriginal, Torres Strait Islander and Australian South Sea Islanders to meet, share stories and develop projects and activities that are a response to the emerging needs of the community.
Social-housing tenants are invited to work in partnership with GCDP team members to identify community need, develop locally co-designed research, and implement research strategies to identify the source/s (and potential solutions) to the issues being investigated.
These collaborations foster links between University of Sydney departments and the Glebe community which, in turn, enable shared learning between community and students.
GCDP engages in strategic collaboration with community members, University of Sydney departments and schools, the City of Sydney, government and non-government agencies and other stakeholders to develop leadership in the community and effectively advocate for local issues.
This involves supporting local individuals and groups to build capacity; making space for community members to step into leadership roles and supporting the development of advocacy skills and knowledge in the neighbourhood.
Team members and University staff working with GCDP provide a conduit for the University to share its knowledge, resources, research data and information with the neighbouring Glebe communities, including providing advice about how to design research projects and apply for funding.
As well, through the relationships developed and nutured by the GCDP, the program is linked to teaching units of study to students in the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, including providing community organisations in its neighbourhood with Social Work students undertaking the placement components of their degrees.