Community Stories – Yangebup Family Centre

Justine FawcettConnecting Community 4 Kids Blog

CCK’s Role 

Connecting Community for Kids (CCK) works collaboratively with government, service providers and community to improve the wellbeing, health and development of children in Cockburn and Kwinana so that they arrive at school ready to participate and learn.

CCK is a collective impact initiative that tests ‘hunches’ founded by community feedback, engaging with key stakeholders in the community to help us test these hunches to see if they build community capacity and engage the community to co-design change.

One of our key stakeholders is Yangebup Family Centre.  We interviewed Sam Williams from Yangebup Family Centre to see how they have co-designed change as a result of community voice.

Reflecting on Yangebup Family Centre 30 years ago, how would you describe them?

Yangebup Family Centre was opened on the 14 August 1992 by Premier Carmen Lawrence. The centre was originally established to provide a four year old Kindy, and contributed to the overall well-being of locals with more than 150 families regularly attending the centre in 1992.

Yangebup Occasional Child Care and Yangebup Playgroup all started off at the Centre. With a very new and young population in Yangebup in the 1980’s and early 1990’s the groups were well received.

How would you describe Yangebup Family Centre today? 

The centre is a cultural hub where everyone can embrace diversity and belonging. We have built capacity through our flourishing community groups, collaborative partnerships and strong relationships with residents and stakeholders for 30 years. We focus on children, families, seniors and cultural diversity, providing a safe supportive place for people to connect.

We engage with our community every day by providing a safe supportive space where people can find opportunities, develop networks and build capacity by taking an active role in our community and develop confidence and skills.

Over the years the services provided have changed as the community has evolved. From Tai Chi to Kaya Time, from the Country Women’s Association to Cultural Cooking.

We have moved from a 4 year old Kindy to a multifaceted centre who support individuals, families and community groups through services, programs, networks, partnerships, initiatives and events. Over the past ten years YFC has built engagement into everything we do and have moved towards an asset-based community development approach, community collaboration and co-design.

Significant change as a result of community voice

Community voice, and data, told us that we had such a diverse community who wanted to embrace different cultures in the community. Our 2014-2019 Strategic Plan focused on growth strategies around our objective of welcoming all current and potential partners and community members to actively participate in our centre, providing opportunity for greater inclusion and diversity.

We collaborated with the City of Cockburn to provide the Women of the World group at the centre. Starting as a catalyst to meet new people and provide a local support network, the group undertook a variety of activities including arts and crafts, hosting guest speakers and continually evolving to meet the needs of the group.

As part of our commitment to cultural diversity we rejuvenated the totem poles at the front of the centre with the words ‘welcome’ and ‘hello’ in different languages represented at our centre.

The poles include flora, fauna and landscapes that reflect the cultural background of the participants. Children from the centre added their handprints to the poles.

In 2019 we opened Kaya Time, an Aboriginal Playgroup for families in the community to have a yarn and make some friends over a cuppa.  Initially the idea for this playgroup stemmed from seeing firsthand the hardships that can fall on Aboriginal Grandmothers, sometimes having to care for the whole family. We felt it would be fantastic for them to have an outlet where they could yarn, mingle and do some arts and crafts. We soon opened this up to the whole family and had many regular families attend.

Both the Women of the World and Kaya Time Programs have encouraged families from diverse backgrounds into the centre and they are now more confident to attend our regular programs.

YFC attend a range of cultural training including a workshop in 2019 with elder Neta Knapp where we learned about Aboriginal culture and traditions. These training programs have enabled us to create a welcoming and culturally appropriate environment at the centre.

In July 2022 Robyn and Enza from YFC attended the Silver Linings training, organised by CCK and delivered by Rainbows WA. Silver Linings appealed to YFC as a valuable tool to help develop emotional resilience amongst our older children at the centre, the program which has been written with support of the local Aboriginal community also seemed like a meaningful way to develop all of our children’s education around the Noongar culture. Having this program available at our centre will allow us to support any children working through changes and transitions in their lives, no matter how big and small.

This year we delivered our program to our pre-kindy children aged three to four, during term four of 2022, however, moving forward we would like to expand this and deliver this to our occasional care children, adapting the program to children of all ages. Term four seemed like the perfect time to roll out a program based around developing resilience as we prepared our children for a substantial change in their lives, leaving the centre and starting their new schools in 2023. During our Silver Linings sessions the children developed their knowledge of endings and beginnings, lifecycles, Noongar seasons, emotional resilience, and protective behaviours.

Community are encouraged to develop their skills and confidence by volunteering on the Celebrate Culture Cockburn Action Team. One of the first accomplishments of the Celebrate Culture Action Team was to host a Chinese New Year event at the YFC, the festival was an opportunity for the whole community to come together and experience Chinese culture and traditions. 

Action Team Community Champions helped to plan, and manage the event and were very excited to have the opportunity to share their Chinese culture with others in the community.

The Celebrate Culture action team were a passionate group and after community conversations in 2019 where the community voiced the need for more cultural events, the action team decided to run a series of cultural cooking events where the community could share their cultures through cooking.  

Since its inception the group has grown organically, and today the Facebook group set up for Cultural Cooking has over 875 members sharing cultural dishes.

We have also collaborated on other events in the community including the Long Table Lunch events. Through cooking we are promoting cultural diversity, friendship, and encouraging volunteers to be involved in the community.

Through these initiatives we have created a cultural hub and a safe inclusive environment for our culturally diverse community to share and support each other where everyone is welcome. We have been able to help empower the women within our community who have grown in confidence and social skills and have become active community members.

Some volunteers from our centre have been involved with the Community Mothers Program, a peer-to-peer support program for new mums.

Another great example of community-based collaboration are the Kids Go Wild events – a monthly event in the park for local families to connect, this has been especially great for families who are socially isolated in Perth. Through our co-design initiatives we will continue to build capacity in our community.

This is only a snapshot of the amazing programs, services events and initiatives that YFC run. Follow them on Facebook, or visit their centre to find out more.

Congratulations on 30 years Yangebup Family Centre! You mean the world to many people in the community who have built life-long friendships and memories through their involvement with your centre. Here’s to another 30 years!

“We engage with our community every day by providing a safe supportive space where people can find opportunities, develop networks and build capacity by taking an active role in our community and develop confidence and skills..”

Sam Williams