Creating Capable Communities

Creating Capable Communities is a community strengthening program that is delivered through our Family Support services within high-need communities.  The place-based activities provide the focus for coming together, strengthening families and promoting the well-being of children through activities such as:

  • Creating-Capable-Communities-collageBreakfast Club
  • After School Club
  • Playgroups
  • Creating Capable Leaders
  • Capable Teens
  • Capable Families
  • Creating Capable Kids
  • Community Bubs
  • Community/family events

Creating Capable Communities was  funded by the Australian Government through the Department of Family, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs (FaHCSIA) from 2001 to 2008, after which time we received funding from FaHCSIA for our Creating Capable Leaders which is current.  Our broader Creating Capable Communities initiatives are made possible thanks to funding from diverse  sources including community grants, philanthropic donations, partnerships and the good will of our fantastic volunteers.


‘Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world.

Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.”

(Mead in Shields 1991:240)

In 1970 a small group of people who were local volunteers got together to share their ideas about supporting others in their local community. This was the start of the work at Family Life which over time has created a vision and embodied its experience and learning of local needs into the work of Creating Capable Communities. Partnership with families is a core principle which has driven the success of the Creating Capable Communities program.

Our goal is to engage and involve residents and parents in activities and projects gradually building from participation to volunteering, to local leadership and employment. It is this local leadership which provides the foundation for sustainable change and improved wellbeing for children in disadvantaged neighbourhoods.

Creating Capable Leaders

Creating Capable Leaders training is delivered over 8 sessions and teaches skills including leadership, communication, participation, collaboration, networking and stress management. Following on from the training, support is provided so participants’ achieve their project goals.

Participants complete a retrospective pre-post survey at the completion of Creating Capable Leaders training. Below are the findings from a round of training delivered in 2013:

  • 87.5% reported an increase connection to their community
  • 87.5% reported an increase self-confidence
  • 100% reported  an increase skills in being an effective leader
  • 100% reported an increase confidence to make a difference in their community
  • 100% reported an increase level of knowledge about community development
  • 100% reported an increase confidence to seek out job, study and/or volunteering opportunities
  • 100% reported an increase motivation to seek out job, study and/or volunteering opportunities

Participant outcomes include: employment,  further study, volunteering and personal growth.

Over the years, Creating Capable Leaders graduates have planned and implemented numerous school and community-based projects aimed at improving the wellbeing of children and families:

Recently, Family Life staff shared the delivery of Creating Capable Leaders training with a local College.  Eight local residents graduated from the training with the following outcomes being achieved:

  • One graduate gained casual employment as a teacher’s aide
  • Four graduates went on to complete Certificate 1 in Vocational Preparation
  • Two graduates have registered to volunteer at the college
  • The training has increased parent engagement within the school community
  • Four graduates went on to plan and deliver their school based project “Healthy Little Rainbows” which provides affordable fresh fruit and vegetables to local families.

Community Housespic10

Part of the Creating Capable Communities integrated strategy includes Community Houses. These are safe, secure, relaxed places where:

  • Mums, dads, grandparents and carers go to make friends, join play groups and develop skills;
  • Family Life staff and volunteers promote children’s wellbeing and development;
  • Staff and volunteers help parents to build local networks of support.

Family Life has established Community Houses at:

  • 12 Keith Street Hampton East
  • 199 Bluff Road Sandringham
  • 10 Carmichael Street Tootgarook

The Community Houses are fundamental to assisting local people to maintain and develop community networks, friendships and a sense of belonging.

Creating Capable Communities Publications


Creating Capable CommunitiesCreating Capable Communities – celebrating a journey

Our story includes children and parents, young people, service providers, government departments, local business people, philanthropists and members of parliament.

View publication



Creating Capable Communities Toolkit Guide

An overview and framework of the Creating Capable Communities program which can be adapted for other communities. Includes one complete sample module.

Download Toolkit

Contact us to order copies of these publications.