The Community Activation Program is a new VicHealth investment that aims to create and activate places within local communities that increase access to opportunities for physical activity and social connection.
Find out what’s going on in your council
Encouraging regular physical activity is one of VicHealth's key focus areas as outlined in our Action Agenda for Health Promotion 2013–23.
For VicHealth, Community Activation means physically and visually transforming a public space or place within your community, then 'activating' it in a variety of ways that inspires and involves local people who are less active to get more physically active.
The Community Activation Program involves the following aspects:
Transforming a street, public space or place: short-term low cost and rapid makeover to convert a disused or underused public space into a vibrant, safe and accessible place that enables and inspires people to meet up, move their bodies and have fun. This may be a disused car park, a street or laneway, an underutilised green space or any other space in the community that could be transformed for people to be active.
Getting people active: bringing people to the space to get active through providing a diverse range of physical activity opportunities that may include sport, dance, circus, walking and any other form of active recreation. We’re really keen to get people who aren't active enough in their daily lives, to have fun and get moving in the space.
Longer term change: transformed spaces are initially temporary in nature but with a view to greater permanence and change within the community in the longer term. As well as creating a new vibrant and active space, we’re keen to see how these approaches can be embedded within the council’s policy and planning mechanisms to support the ways the temporary space can become more permanent or applying the approach to future sites for community activation. Equally it’s about getting people moving in the short term in a way that encourages them to be active in the long term.
Five councils were selected to share in $240,000 over the period June 2015 – June 2016 to plan and pilot approaches to transform and activate a selected space within their community, with a view to it becoming a permanent site for physical activity:
Brimbank City Council
Pollard Gardens on Corio Street in Sunshine will be converted into a pop-up leisure centre that will target mothers with young children and young people in the area. The centre will feature shipping containers for storing equipment, dancing boxes, pole art gardens with bike-powered lights, and a sports area. The range of activities to be offered from local providers and the council may include tai chi, body pump, volleyball, circus skills and kids fitness.
Golden Plains Shire Council
The council plans to transform a local car park and grassed area on High Street in Bannockburn which will target families and women. The park will focus on adventure, nature and water-based play areas, art installations, giant games and will also have a grassed area for fitness and games. The range of physical activity opportunities will include a giant 3D jigsaw puzzle, adventure and play as well as organised activity delivered by local providers and clubs which may include soccer, tai chi and dance classes.
LaTrobe City Council
The north-western end of Tarwin Street in Morwell will be converted into a public plaza with synthetic grass, temporary landscaping, tables and seating, Wi-Fi, and a space for physical activity opportunities. The community will be encouraged to participate in a range of fitness and movement classes such as tai chi, dance, giant chess, join walking groups, learn to cycle or participate in tug of war, bocce and sports.
Manningham City Council
The plaza forecourt of City Square in Doncaster will be transformed to include a vertical green wall, exercise stations and dedicated spaces for fitness and sporting activity as well as yoga and dance. A grassed area, sandpit and sporting equipment are also included in the council's plans. The council will encourage local providers and clubs to organise dance, hula hoop, tai chi, Zumba, all abilities basketball, hip hop, skate classes and golf lessons. For more information about upcoming activities and events go to https://www.manningham.vic.gov.au/join-in-the-fun-at-the-plaza-park-project.
Melton City Council
A piece of vacant land on the corner of Palmerston Street and McKenzie Street in Melton will be transformed to encourage a range of physical activities ranging from circus skills and dance to tai chi and sport. The council is planning to install comfortable surfaces, moveable objects for play and light exercise and artistic elements in the park which will be designed for use by everyone in the community. For more information view https://www.melton.vic.gov.au/files/assets/public/council/major-projects/melton-town-centre-redevlopment/mtc-newsletters/melton-town-centre-news_edition-1_spring.pdf (PDF).