The Our Place Carlton journey, so far

The Our Place Carlton Journey Report provides in-depth insight into the story of Our Place evolving in Carlton over the past several years.

Who is the community at Our Place Carlton?

In contrast to the wider profile of Carlton, the Carlton Our Place site is located within a distinct pocket of significant disadvantage. The majority of families enrolled at Carlton Primary School are from Somalia, Ethiopia and Eritrea, many of whom have arrived as refugees, living in the adjoining high rise housing estate. Most of the children living in the flats and attending Carlton Primary School speak English as an additional language.

Becoming an Our Place Site

Carlton Primary School’s transformation into an Our Place site commenced in January 2018, with the original concept envisaged for the Carlton Our Place site driven by a long-standing commitment to supporting the local community by Carlton Primary School. By November 2019, Carlton primary school had undergone a re-build. It maintained its existing external multilevel building structure and had all interiors refurbished. This re-build has resulted in Carton Primary School being located on the first and second floor, an Early Learning Centre, Maternal and Child Health, family services and community spaces being available and located on the ground floor.

Carlton Our Place was officially opened on 6 January 2020 as an integrated child and family centre and primary school, now referred to as the Carlton Learning Precinct. Our Place currently funds three positions for this site, including one partnership manager and two community facilitators. A site partnership group is also established and consists of representatives from Our Place, Carlton Primary School, Gowrie Victoria, City of Melbourne (CoM), Department of Education and Training (DET), Department of Families, Fairness and Housing (DFFH).

Positive outcomes

Building on the existing good work and strong working relations onsite, many positive outcomes have been achieved within this relatively short journey, with many more well on the way. The case study below, included within the Carlton Journey report, helps to demonstrate the benefits of a site such as Carlton and highlights the power and value of partnerships.

Case Study: A single mother of three children living in the housing estate, who had no schooling as a child, was supported by the Carlton Community Facilitator early on. While she had learnt English as an adult to a reasonable standard, she could not read or write, limiting her capacity to be her own advocate. Her daughter’s teacher introduced her to the Community Facilitator because she produced beautiful weaving and was looking for support to find customers. The Community Facilitator was able to connect her with two organisations that led to a cascade of opportunities for selling her craft and realising her dream to make a living from her weaving. In addition to this, Our Place donated craft materials, arranged professional development and supported the weaver to create a small-scale ‘aqal’ or Somali hut for the early learning centre at Carlton Learning Precinct. Following an introduction to Craft Victoria, the mother participated in a window installation in a local festival and a stall in a local craft market. Another introduction was then made with the CoM Park Rangers, who assisted the weaver to find suitable grasses and materials for her craft, substituting peppercorn branches for acacia found in Somalia.

The Carlton Journey Report Publication

The Our Place Carlton journey report provides readers with the opportunity to learn about how the Carlton Our Place site came about, who was involved, understand how it fits with the Our Place approach and the community of Carlton. This report describes the Carlton Our Place site’s journey from its original conception to the end of its first two years of operation. The journey is still underway, and it is important to recognise that it takes considerable time to make progress in the different Our Place elements and outcome areas. This report in its entirety can be downloaded for free here