The COVID-19 pandemic had an impact on every part of our work during 2021-22.
Our communication efforts centred around community vaccine uptake throughout 2021-22.
But we worked with other agencies to help get the virus under control.
We shared messages through a range of channels including:
- 3 letterbox drops and 3 feature articles in Inside Moreland, all distributed across the entire municipality, sharing FAQs and promoting the COVID-19 support line
- over 19 location-based letter box drops promoting neighbourhood vaccination clinics
- targeted messaging through our Connector Program and Local Partner networks, with a potential reach of over 260,000 members across over 60 channels
COVID-19 has highlighted the strength of our local community.
We received $58,965 funding under the Local Partnerships Grant to provide outreach to our culturally and linguistically diverse communities.
Some of our achievements include:
- 50 community vaccine information sessions
- 32 pop-up vaccination clinics
- 7,629 vaccines administered
- 6,200 Rapid Antigen Tests delivered to community organisations
- 1,698 food relief packages distributed
- 259,600 hard copy flyers distributed to date.
We participated in the Community Liaison Officer Program with $20,000 funded by the Victorian Department of Health from April 2022.
We hired 3 Community Liaison Officers (CLOs) from multicultural and multilingual backgrounds to support older Victorians in COVID-19 health responses including vaccination, testing, COVID-19 positive pathways, and COVID-safe behaviours.
- 430 members of the seniors and women’s groups received the latest COVID-19 information and Council’s free support to get vaccinated
- 234 community members received an information call from CLOs
- 49 people booked their COVID-19 vaccinations through the CLO program
- CLO program flyer developed in 7 community languages and distributed through letter box drop-offs
Despite some challenges we faced from lockdowns and restrictions, we kept providing essential support for our community.
We continued to provide library services in different ways during lockdowns and COVID-19 restrictions.
We continued our services, with:
- 162,477 items supplied by a contactless click and collect service during lockdowns.
- 26,686 items delivered to the homes of older or housebound residents over the year.
We continued to help residents improve their digital literacy.
- 440 participants received 187 Digital Literacy sessions and 61 of these sessions were online or over the phone during lockdowns.
- Some of these Digital Literacy sessions were offered in Turkish, Arabic, Greek, and Italian.
- Library staff conducted 12 outdoor COVID certificate sessions which were attended by 93 participants.
Leisure and aquatic centres
COVID-19 restrictions continued to have a significant impact on attendances and memberships at our Active Moreland centres.
Our centres had to close during lockdown periods. When they opened, they often had ongoing capacity restrictions and there was a state-wide staff shortage of qualified staff.
We automatically suspended memberships during closures. We also provided online workouts and information for members and the community to help them keep active.
We continued delivering a modified Maternal and Child Health service for families during 2021-22. Most of our service returned to face-to-face appointments with clients. We also offered a mix of telehealth and short consults in some situations.
We supported other local councils during the surge with telehealth appointments. Our immunisation services kept running with extra health and hygiene measures in place.
Service delivery was affected by older people experiencing social isolation and a reluctance to have people providing support in their homes.
We focused on maintaining essential services, including:
- direct support and care for people at home
- small group opportunities for socialisation
- delivery of meals
- increased our regular newsletters to our clients and seniors clubs.
Oxygen Youth Space reopened with programs, bookings, tenants, and partnerships with more than 2000 attendees and drop-in programs running 3 days per week.
We delivered community outreach programs both online and face-to-face including:
- 20 people attended a Changing Gears learners licence program across 2 sessions with a 100% success rate.
- 12 participants received a swim teaching course and completed supervised hours through the YMCA.
- 17 young people received a lifeguard training course to gain the qualification.
- 15 participants received a girls-only boxing class weekly.
- 8 participants received white card training.
- Helping Hoops female-only basketball program recommenced with an average of 12 participants attending.
- Reclink weekly female basketball program has 30 participants.
- More than 30 young people attended weekly homework programs across Pascoe Vale, Glenroy, and Fawkner.
- Female-only self-defence program from the Glenroy Community Hub has recently commenced with a boys’ soccer program set to start in term 3.
- Freeza delivered 2 live events with 210 people in attendance.
The COVID-19 pandemic has presented challenges to how we connect with our community. But we commit to delivering high-quality engagement to our community about the decisions that affect them.
During lockdowns, when it was not possible to meet with our community in person, we provided:
- interactive online workshops and forums
- digital engagement opportunities
- dedicated times when our community could call and talk with us about local issues
In the past 12 months, our digital engagement platform Conversations Merri-bek has seen:
- over 128,000 people visit the site
- over 16,000 contributions or submissions
- over 350 online engagement activities including surveys, polls, interactive maps, forums, and open commentary
Notable projects we engaged our community on within the last 12 months include:
- renaming Moreland City Council
- reducing our waste, improving our service
- making walking and cycling safer
- community budget ideas
- Budget 2022-23
- Brunswick Central Parklands redevelopment
- cat curfew proposal
- Glenroy Community Hub design and construction
- various streetscape and local park improvement projects.
Businesses have faced significant challenges as a result of the pandemic. In response, we implemented a range of economic development programs and activities throughout 2021-22.
We continued to work intensively with hospitality businesses to enable safe and accessible outdoor dining opportunities, including with the support of the State Government’s COVID-safe Outdoor Activation Fund. During this time, our Love Moreland, Dine Local program included a range of initiatives, such as:
- installation of 4 new parklets, as well as ongoing parklet and street furniture maintenance
- $3,000 grants to businesses for the installation of long-term parklets
- reduction of fees payable by businesses for outdoor dining
- a range of activations across the municipality
- graffiti removal and mural projects
- a variety of activations including live music pop-ups, art programs, and markets.
Our list of programs to support businesses included:
- Love Merri-bek, Buy Local campaign - ongoing campaign to encourage people to shop locally
- Council’s shopfront improvement program - Melville Moreland Shopping strip
- Local Supplier Register to enable more of Council’s procurement spend to go to local businesses, First Nations businesses, social enterprises, and disability enterprises
- MoreSpace -vacant shop program to enhance shopping precincts and showcase local businesses and products
- Plus One - pilot program supporting the growth of micro businesses (largest local business sector)
- Brudi – supporting the continued transformation of 420 Victoria Street to accommodate and grow start-ups and enterprises
- Shopping Strip Renewal Program provided mentoring and business development programs
- Regulation Reform Incentive Fund (State Government) awarded $590K to implement a local business database and create commercial priority guidance material
- Christmas decorations delivered across the city, focused on retail precincts
- Brunswick Design District - Council partnership with RMIT and Creative Victoria to elevate Brunswick’s profile and create an environment that attracts design enterprises
We delivered vital support through the Flourish arts grants program, providing $206,000 to 29 projects, along with opportunities for professional development.
We reimagined Fawkner Festa as a community-generated zine, with 15 local artists, organisations, and individuals involved. We held pop-up carol events and funded 5 end-of-year community celebrations.
Over 14,000 people attended Brunswick Music Festival in March, which featured 11 shows at Gilpin Park, 6 pop-up events, 5 special events, and 29 venues.
At the Counihan Gallery in Brunswick, the removal of artist fees saw a record number of exhibition applications for 2023 – up by 50% from the previous year. Highlights of the program included the online and in-gallery presentation of Banj Banj Nawnta in partnership with The Torch, the International Women’s Day exhibition, public programs in partnership with Brunswick Music Festival and partnerships with the Human Rights Arts and Film Festival and 4A Centre for Contemporary Asian Art, Sydney.
We maintained flexible working-from-home options for staff, in alignment with State Government requirements. We also continued to update protocols to provide guidance for team leaders on how to respond to positive cases in the workplace.
We provided special COVID leave and access to Rapid Antigen Test kits to support staff, as well as support to obtain vaccinations for staff and family members. We maintained records of staff vaccination to comply with State Government requirements for staff to be vaccinated against COVID-19.
Our involvement in the Working for Victoria initiative saw us recruit more staff.