Video transcript - Brimbank Empowering Communities

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Brimbank Empowering Communities


Exterior shots of the Visy Cares Hub. Exterior shots of the Youth Junction inc space. Door opening inside, shots of artwork of an African woman.


Supported by an investment of seven hundred thousand dollars through the Victorian government's Empowering communities program, the Brimbank community is working to maximize the life potential of young people by connecting them to culture, school and family and reduce Pathways into the youth justice system.

Jo Malcolm-Black, CEO – Youth Junction:

 There was a testimony from a young person who said to us, “I'm really proud of Brimbank but I'm not sure that Brimbank is proud of me.” There's the opportunity for those communities to work together to identify the problem and actually manage it.


Shots of colourful mural.

Danielle Cirillo, Community Coordinator – Youth Junction:

We are working together as a collective to understand the main issues that are facing young people in Brimbank, and working to involve those young people in designing solutions to address some of the main issues that they have raised within their community.


 It's provided an opportunity for the community itself to get together and decide how we might most effectively use the money.


Young people need to be involved in designing and delivering the solutions for the issues that they've raised and we're looking at a number of different, really exciting and creative ways to engage young people in the next phase of our project.


Shots of more artwork. People moving around the space, a foosball table, photo on the wall of smiling African children.


We're involving families - and what's happening for young people is important. Most of the cultures that we work with in Brimbank are collective cultures that assume and expect good engagement with family members. So being ready and willing to work with a whole family group - not just mum and dad - is important.


 Brimbank is a very multicultural, rural community and we're very proud of that and our community members are proud of that.


We would like there to be a really strong connected community. We think that communities often have the solutions for themselves, that's why Empowering communities is an amazing example.

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A staged approach to supporting community safety

Empowering Communities brings the community together to listen and respond to community concerns and ideas on how to tackle local issues that impact on crime and safety. The program is implemented in stages over a three year period.

Empowering Communities progress timeline

The timeline shows that the projects are in progress


Building Safer Communities Forum 

The Brimbank Forum was held online in November 2020, building on the collective wisdom of young people and local stakeholders to consider issues that impact young people in Brimbank. The key themes identified were:

  • youth boredom and the need for healthy spaces for young people
  • racism and its effect on getting employment
  • a desire for schools to facilitate and celebrate connection to culture, and
  • a strong sense of community pride held by youth representative.

Watch the Brimbank Community Forum video:

Action Group established 

The Brimbank Action Group was established in May 2021, bringing together key services and other stakeholders. The Action Group is responsible for connecting the initiative to the broader community and overseeing its implementation. 

Brimbank Action Group Organisations

The following organisations are represented on the Action Group:  

  • WestJustice 
  • Centre for Multicultural Youth
  • The Youth Junction Incorporated
  • Brimbank City Council 
  • Australian African Foundation for Retention & Opportunity
  • Victoria University Secondary College
  • Improving & Promoting Community Health
  • Making Media Australia
  • Youth Support Advocacy Service
  • Charis Mentoring 
  • Victoria Police  
  • Department of Education & Training 
  • Department of Justice & Community Safety

Common goal agreed 

Drawing on the themes established in the forum, the Action Group identified the link between youth entering the Criminal Justice System and disconnection across five key positive life domains including culture, community, education, family and employment.

The Action Group agreed to focus on strengthening and providing opportunities for connections to these domains to reduce likelihood of young people entering the justice system.

Empowering Communities Brimbank’s goal is to maximise the life potential of young people in Brimbank by connecting or reconnecting them to culture, community, education, family and economy and reducing pathways into the youth justice system.

Projects in Progress

The Brimbank Action Group considered the themes from the forum and conducted environmental mapping exercises to understand the crime prevention activity already being undertaken in Brimbank and potential opportunities to work towards their common goal.

The Action Group then worked within the local community and accepted expressions of interest for a ‘Partnership Approach’ funding stream, working closely with partner organisations to build capacity and scale existing programs and a ‘Youth-led Stream’ involving the facilitation of co-design workshops for young people to design and implement their own projects.

Projects will be delivered throughout 2023 and 2024.

Funded Projects


Women’s Words Program

Organisation: AAFRO

Funding: $70,000

Women’s Words aims to empower African Australian girls and young women aged 8–22 years in Brimbank to become positive contributors of the social and economic development of their local communities by promoting harmony and belonging through cultural identity and knowledge.


Tautai Lead/Reniu

Organisation: Charis Mentoring

Funding: $70,000

Tautai Lead and Reinu foster and strengthen cultural identity, to support the holistic wellbeing of young people and promote positive school engagement. The programs connect young Pasifika people to their culture and family by exploring the values and traditions of their Pasifika cultures and link them with inspiring role models to develop career pathways. Tautai Lead is a school-based program, while Reinu provides one-on-one support to young people in the youth justice system.


Live FM

Organisation: Making Media Australia

Funding: $50,000

The LIVE FM project is a live radio, podcast and media training broadcast initiative that provides participants with a modern media experience. The program teaches young people the process of producing, presenting, and promoting broadcast content, and aims to build social capital, create career and social and community networks.


Youth Space Project

Organisation: YSAS

Funding: $50,000

The development of a purpose-built youth space located at the YSAS office will provide young people with the opportunity to engage in the co-design of a space that meets their needs. The newly designed space will host youth-focused activities, training for workers offering services within Brimbank with a specific cultural lens, and community events.


Youth Voice/Hackathons

Organisations: The Youth Junction Inc & Endeavour Youth Australia

Funding: $240,000

Through a series of workshops designed and facilitated by Endeavour Youth Australia, students at Copperfield College, St Albans Secondary College, Victoria University Secondary College and the Western Bulldogs Community Foundation will be guided to identify and understand key concerns facing themselves and their peers, and work in groups to design projects that address these issues.

The workshops will culminate in a final Hackathon session where young people will pitch their ideas to their peers, and then vote for their preferred project. The winning project at each setting will be awarded $50,000 of Empowering Communities funding for its implementation throughout 2023/24.

Coordinating organisation 

Empowering Communities in Brimbank is coordinated by Youth Junction Inc. You can contact the Action Group via Danielle Cirillo at (External link).