Shepparton is a great place to live. It’s part of life that people die there too. Pine Lodge Cemetery, run by Shepparton City Council, is reaching capacity, and needs to be expanded. Shepparton City Council hired Group GSA, Co-Design Studio and Annie Bolitho & Associates for the development of the cemetery master plan. They wanted to get the community view on the future of this cemetery. Annie Bolitho & Associates organised the productive initial stakeholder consultation, to include Council managers, local funeral directors, Indigenous representative, aged care providers and catchment managers. With Co-Design Studios we stepped in to the local community with pop ups at the Shepparton Summer Markets. The master plan reflects the extraordinarily successful community engagement on what a future cemetery should look like, be used for, and how the Council should take future climate into consideration in its design.
The Office for Environmental Programs (OEP) offers a unique and highly sought after 100 and 200 point Master of Environment. It is renowned for inculcating interdisciplinary skills and outlook. Students also value a degree that carries the University of Melbourne badge. The OEP values its rich learning environment. They observed students and stakeholders putting increasing emphasis on pathways from the program to employment, and capstone experiences. Annie Bolitho & Associates was hired to review the course in two stages. Stage 1 (2013) brought to light stakeholders’ expectations of the course. It ensured that learning outcomes were clearly aligned with the Australian Quality Framework (AQF). In Stage 2 (2014) the review made sure that curriculum options are flexible and attractive to students. The successful review enabled important curriculum decisions for the future, made stronger connections between the OEP and industry, and enhanced marketing and communication.
Brain injury is tragic, complex and rehabilitation long and arduous. Melbourne’s Alfred Hospital recently opened a brand new Brain Injury Rehabilitation Centre at the Caulfield Hospital, supported by the Victorian government, Latrobe University and other partners. Of course, they’d like rehabilitation practices at the hospital to be smart as the new building itself. Research evidence gives some clear directions. Researchers at Latrobe University asked: What if an ordinary community member was exposed to the research evidence? In this complex terrain, would their preferences lead in the same direction as the research? Within budget constraints, what would they consider essential for successful rehabilitation? They approached Annie Bolitho & Associates to advise on the design of a citizens jury and facilitate the two-day jury. The citizens jury explored what a randomly selected group of people with no stake in the issue whatsoever had to say, after being exposed to research evidence and deliberating together. ‘Annie provided us a clear idea of how to convey concepts that we as health professsionals take for granted. Her guidance was very much about helping us understand what the citizens jury approach is capable of delivering. The process was completely novel for us, and Annie’s knowledge of what jurors need was essential. We needed to know what had to occur on the two days of the jury and how that would play out,’ said Assoc. Prof Natasha Lannin when the jury wrapped up.
The local government sector in Australia is adopting participatory budgeting, following its successful use in the US, Europe and Latin America. Darebin City Council voted in favour of undertaking a participatory budget, as an approach to more transparent decision-making, championed by then Mayor, Gaetano Greco. The process was set up to inform how $2million from a newly created infrastructure fund would be used. Annie Bolitho & Associates put in a successful bid to conduct the project. Annie and Martin de los Rios, a highly experienced community engagement, conflict resolution and facilitation specialist steered the jury through from first meetings to rigorous recommendations. The jury’s recommendations were innovative, and driven by criteria such as access to community infrastructure by all citizens. They were adopted unanimously by Darebin councillors. Budgets are a key driver in government decision-making. Enabling citizens to allocate resources and prioritise spending educates citizens about the budget, and provide managers and councillors with insight into diverse citizen perspectives on spending.
In 2011 residents at Richmond Housing Estate and workers at multiple agencies were anxious and disturbed by the issue of public drug use on the estate. Annie led the design and facilitation of a multi-faceted engagement process bringing together young people and parents of different ethnicities, residents from the surrounding area and community minded estate advocates to explore the impact of public drug use on their everyday lives. This genuine engagement introduced new ideas and projects and new support and recommendations for different approaches to community engagement on the estate.