Community Psychology

In Pursuit of Liberation and Well-Being

by Geoffrey Nelson and Isaac Prilleltensky

Chapter 8: Social Interventions

Box 8.a
The City of Port Phillip spans the southern inner-Melbourne coastline and is home to more than 80,000 people who collectively speak more than 100 different languages. The area includes the popular tourist suburb of St Kilda. Compared to other Melbourne municipalities, the Port Phillip community accommodates extremes of wealth and poverty. The City of Port Phillip has a history of supporting people who are poor, homeless, and mentally or physically ill, through a dense network of health, welfare and housing services and a spirit of acceptance of diversity. As a result many marginalised people from across Victoria are attracted to and settle in Port Phillip. In 1999, the City of Port Phillip's Community and Health Development team commenced an intense process to develop its Municipal Public Health Plan. The team prepared surveys, focus group guides and health statistics, and trained over 50 local residents to conduct interviews with their neighbours and peers. An Alliance of community members was created to implement the plan. Their work has been coordinated into the following three portfolios: (a) prevention, (b) social cohesion, and (c) strategic communication

The Alliance

  • Respects and values the diversity of community life in the City of Port Phillip.
  • Adopts a broad conceptualization of health and safety that includes a focus on redressing disadvantage and improving social justice and equity.
  • Is committed to working together as a group to improve the safety, health and well-being of all our community members.
  • Recognizes that a critical aspect of the work is to keep relationships strong by valuing and practicing trust, openness, warmth, and caring.
Some of the projects undertaken by the Alliance include a local drug strategy, the development of sustainable community progress indicators, pedestrian and road safety, creation of public art by members of marginalized groups, community gardens, and other community-based projects. The community psychologists employed by the municipality play a vital role in coordination, planning, execution, and evaluation of various programs. For more information, visit:
www.portphillip.vic.gov.au/health_community_safety_plan.html

Box 8.b
Evaluating the Transformational Potential of a Community Program

This form may be used by project staff as well as by external evaluators wishing to assess various dimensions of a program. The form was developed to assess programs that are part of the alliance for health and safety described in box 8.3.

Using the rating system provided, please evaluate the project on the different dimensions presented.