Greater Shepparton Lighthouse Project Latest News...
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We sent out our first newsletter last week and quite a few of our subscribers requested more detail about the initiative - so while there is some duplication in this version there is some extra information for those who are interested. 

PS. Enjoy the silly season!  Lisa McKenzie

New Executive Officer

After a long period of gestation, the project has gained momentum with the appointment in August of an Executive Officer, well known Shepparton resident Lisa McKenzie. Lisa brings extensive networks, broad experience in communications, community engagement and community development and a track record of successfully leading community initiatives including the Fairley Leadership Program and the GV Community Fund. 

As well as the activities outlined below, a good part of her time over the past three months has been spent touching base with sector and community leaders, quietly establishing the Lighthouse Project in the busy education, health and community sector in Greater Shepparton.

The State of Greater Shepparton's Children Report

A foundation partner, the Fairley Foundation committed $150k for three years to the Greater Shepparton Lighthouse Project. The first tranche of funding was spent in the 2013-2014 financial year funding the development of the State of Greater Shepparton’s Children’s Report.

For the first time the document pulls together existing data on Greater Shepparton’s children and young people and provides a benchmark for action. The report, launched in September, shows that outcomes for Shepparton’s young people are behind Victorian averages across many indicators.  Whilst we knew this to be the case the report provides ready and demonstrable data that is specific to our particular area and will be of great use as we begin to tackle this project.

View Full Report

Youth Alliance

An alliance of Greater Shepparton’s youth sector leaders has agreed to act as the consultative committee providing insight and expert advice for engagement and activities relating to the youth cohort under the Greater Shepparton Lighthouse Project.

The alliance comprises Federal and State Government representatives as well as leaders in the community sector.

The group will provide advice and input into to the EO and Steering Group as well as identify its own areas for strategic activity.

Youth Sector Mapping

The Fairley Foundation has provided in principle support for the second tranche of funding to go towards a project to map the many and varied services currently available for youth (12-18) and their families in Greater Shepparton.

The mapping project will go beyond an audit of existing services with the aim of understanding the appropriateness and effectiveness of services and any possible duplication or overlap of services as well as areas where there may be insufficient services.
The youth alliance is now assisting with a detailed project scoping to enable the project to commence early in the new year.

Community Consultation

The McEwen Foundation, through Equity Trustees, is the major funder of the Greater Shepparton Lighthouse Project.

The foundation is directing this investment to funding the EO and for the major consultation that will be required for whole of community engagement in the project.
This period of consultation began at the end of November when 45 leaders from the youth, community, health and education sectors gathered to consider the findings of the State of Greater Shepparton’s Children’s Report.  The consultation was undertaken with Best Start and Communities for Children who partnered with Lighthouse in the development of the report. This was a first introduction to Lighthouse for some of the participants and an opportunity to test the appetite for the collective impact project. There was clear agreement that the data contained in the report was unsatisfactory and change was definitely needed.
The next phase of the consultation will be to broaden the engagement out to the wider community including parents, kids, business, the community sector, schools and school councils, local government etc. We will listen and learn and incorporate what we are told into strategic planning.
This work will commence with the support of a consultant early in the new year.

Learning Community

The Greater Shepparton Lighthouse Project has been selected as one of 14 projects Australia wide to participate in the Opportunity Child Learning Community.

Opportunity Child is a national community, business and NGO collaboration being lead by the ten20 Foundation. Its goal is to transform outcomes for Australia’s 65,000 vulnerable children aged 0-8.
Ten20 will fund and sponsor the selected communities to participate in Opportunity Child Learning Community giving them access to:

  • a community capacity building toolkit covering areas such as governance, backbone development, outcomes measurement and community engagement.
  • An international speakers program (for example, starting off in March next year with a session with Paul Born a world renowned expert on community engagement in collective impact and founder of the Tamarack Institute.  Paul who will be speaking about his recent book “Deeping Community”).
  • 10 half days of coaching from Opportunity Child Director, Dr Michelle Lucas
  • face to face learning  and training events and interactive webinars.
  • $5,000 to help cover associated costs.

Three of the communities in the Learning Partner group have been identified as Lead Partners.  Glenorchy City, Go Goldfields, and Logan Together will receive additional funding and coaching support from ten20.

Lisa took part in an initial phone meeting with the group which highlighted the similarities between the project despite the diverse communities involved from Tasmania to the Northern Territory.

Youth Survey

The Greater Shepparton Lighthouse Project is also considering leading a major project involving the electronic survey of all 6,000 secondary school students in Greater Shepparton. The project would be based on similar work undertaken in Geelong which has been effective in highlighting young people at risk due to issues such as homelessness, family difficulties and mental health problems.

A project representative, Associate Professor David MacKenzie, of Swinburne University, has been to Shepparton twice -  on the first occasion he met with members of the Lighthouse Steering Group and interested education and youth sector leaders. On the second occasion he met with members of the youth alliance. Both groups acknowledged the merit of the project and were keen to see if it could be implemented here subject to support from schools and the youth sector and the availability of funding.

We are now organising for David to meet for a third time with potential partners.

The project effectively “triages’’ students from  the most vulnerable to the least vulnerable enabling appropriate services to be directed where they are most needed. It would align closely with the service mapping project enabling clear analysis of the relationship between services and the needs of young people.


The University of Melbourne has identified the Lighthouse Project as a priority partnership under its strategy for the Goulburn Valley.

Vice chancellor, Prof Glyn Davis, is a patron of the project and pro vice chancellor engagement Professor Ian Anderson has met with Lighthouse to determine how the university may be able to support the initiative.
Following the discussions, the University earmarked funds to undertake a study to determine the evaluation needs of the project and the role the university may play. Lisa will meet with the university next week to consider a project proposal.


In September, Lisa and a number of Steering Group members took part in interviews undertaken by the University of New South Wales Centre for Social Impact which is completing a research project on collective impact. The interviews were part of a study being undertaken in communities around Australia tackling complex social and community issues using a collective impact model.

Steering Group

The steering group has grown in recent months to include Sally Wright a consultant with expertise in early years and Trish Quibell, Deputy Director, Hume Region, Berry St.

They join Chair Adam Furphy, foundation members Craig Marshall and Ross McPherson and Anna Agati who is an accountant with MB + M Business Solutions.

The steering group is likely to grow over time as new expertise and representation is required.

Strategic Planning

The Nous Group has offered in in-kind support to develop an over-arching guide to strategic planning, decision making and implementation of the Greater Shepparton Lighthouse Project. 

Nous have provided a detailed proposal  that would engage a project director and project manager in interviewing  the EO, Steering Group members, Champions and partners to develop a systematic approach to growth and implementation.

The Steering Group is now considering the proposal.

Governance Structure advice from Herbert Smith Freehills

Alice Macdougall, Special Counsel at Herbert Smith Freehills who is renowned for her expertise in not for profit governance issues, has agreed to provide pro bono expert advice on the governance structure required for the backbone entity of the Greater Shepparton Lighthouse Project. Discussions have commenced with Alice to ensure we have the appropriate structure in place taking into account issues such as charitable and DGR status and legal and regulatory requirements.

Lesley Hart, Direct of Dawes and Vary Legal, and Lighthouse Champion and school volunteer will work with the steering group to enact the recommendations.

The Champions

The Champions group of committed community leaders was established early in the gestation phase of the Lighthouse Project.  They were patient and provided early insight and input as we grappled with the issues and possible mechanisms for tackling the complex issues impacting on young people in the region.

We have now moved busily into the “initiate action’’ phase and have not engaged with our Champions as much as we would have liked in recent months. We expect many new opportunities for them to  be involved as we undertake community consultation in 2015 and as they lend their ideas, expertise and resources as we “organise for impact’’ as described in collective impact.

We expect to hold at least four gatherings of the champions in 2015 and will provide dates soon to give them the best chance of participating.

Lisa McKenzie - Executive Officer
State of Greater Shepparton's Children Report Launch - September 2014
Attendees of the Raising the Bar Consultation - November 2014

We look forward to seeing you in the New Year. Meanwhile stay safe and enjoy the festive season.
Greater Shepparton Lighthouse Project.

Copyright © 2014 Greater Shepparton Lighthouse Project, All rights reserved.

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