What you can do
In 2020 our focus is on Ensuring all Australians have a home and partnering with the Everybody’s Home campaign . We will also continue to partner with the Raise the Rate campaign led by ACOSS to ensure unemployment payments never go back to $40 a day. That campaign was our focus in 2019 and we welcome the Federal Government’s decision to pay an extra $550 per fortnight Coronavirus Supplement but are concerned its planned removal in late September will plunge more than 2 million Australians into deep poverty. We will have some social media activities running ahead of October this year but meantime check out the Everybody’s Home and Raise the Rate campaigns for what you can do now.
It doesn’t matter if your activity is big or small. It’s important that your activity brings people together to reflect on how poverty affects us all and that there are ways that all Australians can help.
Check out our guide on Talking about Poverty that will help you frame your activity this year.
Each year, people from all over Australia including local governments, schools, organisations, universities, workplaces, and communities come together to host activities such as:
- lectures, debates, workshops and conferences
- letters to newspapers, petitions, surveys and publications
- open days, walks, rallies, sleep outs, film nights and concerts
- advice and training sessions, exhibitions and information stalls
- meal services, fundraisers and religious services
- competitions, award presentations and school projects
Other ways you can get involved
Tell people about poverty
- You could organise a talk or presentation by someone who has experienced the effects of poverty or worked closely with someone who has done so. For example, this could include a client of a welfare organisation, a Big Issue seller, a welfare or health worker or someone from an overseas aid project.
- You could hold an event at your workplace or social group or combine it with a social event like a breakfast, morning tea or dinner. Or you could just organise a simple get-together for staff at your work to mark the Week and help create interest.
- You could set up a display, exhibit or stall giving information about poverty issues at a local event, your work or a public place like the library. Or you could write an article for a newspaper, website or other publication.
Encourage debate or discussion
- You could organise a debate, forum or hypothetical about a local issue, and include for example local community leaders and identities such as MPs, councillors, heads of community groups and local media.
- You could organise a workshop, seminar or conference on particular poverty issues. It could be designed mainly for people who are directly affected by poverty, provide community or welfare services or work with disadvantaged people in some other capacity.
- You could carry out some research or a survey about the issue and use it as a basis for discussion at the meeting.
Call for action
- You could organise a submission or petitionwhich highlights key problems and makes specific proposals for action to address them. It could be delivered by a delegation or mail to your local MP or council or to the state or federal government.
- You could organise a rally, walk, march or sleep-out in your local area to raise awareness about an issue or to call for government action.
- For more impact, you could organise a series of these kinds of activities with other groups during the week.
Encourage people to express their views
- You could encourage people to write to their local MP or councilabout a particular issue. This could include providing pro forma letters or setting up a stall to help people write individual letters to politicians, public servants or other people who may be able to help address their problems.
- You could organise a question session with a panel of local councillors, MPs, public servants or community and business leaders. It could be held in a public place like a shopping mall, library or community hall (perhaps in combination with a lunch, dinner, breakfast or morning or afternoon tea).
Provide some practical help
- You could approach businesses such as law or accountancy firms, health or nutrition professionals, local banks or financial advisers, computer or internet businesses, hospitality businesses or other service providers like hairdressers to offer practical help to people experiencing poverty or hardship.
- They could provide individuals or groups with free training, advice or information in their areas of expertise (eg, tenant’s rights, family law, budgeting and financial planning, availability of benefits and tax, retirement prospects, health and nutrition advice or computer training).
- Brochures, guides or handouts could be provided, perhaps together with kits including other useful items supplied by sponsors. Or services like haircuts, dental checks or meals could be provided on a once-off basis or regularly.
Promote a local community service
- You could set up a display, exhibition or information stand about your organisation or service (eg, at a local library, shopping mall or community centre). Or you could hold an open day or social event like a lunch or afternoon tea to raise awareness of the service and encourage support for it, including volunteers.
- You could launch a brochure, publication or a new service during the Week. You could hold a competition to help raise funds for the service or conduct an award presentation. Or you could organise a project or activity with a local school.
Get the local community together
- You could organise a family day, festival, fete or award presentation. It could involve as many local people as possible from schools, welfare or community organizations, police, health centres, places of worship etc. Different groups could have stalls or exhibits which explain or promote their services or issues.
- The event could encourage community participation in programs to address local problems. For example, it could launch a program of community donations to help schools, sports clubs and other organizations provide free or low-cost services for low-income families.
Do something artistic or spiritual
- You could ask people in the general community or particular disadvantaged groups to produce art, photography or writing which reflects poverty generally or a specific issue. You could hold a workshop or an exhibition or display of the work in a library, town hall or shopping mall or at a particular function.
- You could organise a performance, concert or screening on a poverty-related issue. Some events could be designed especially for children (eg, a puppet show with a poverty related theme).
- You could hold a religious service on poverty or a particular aspect of it, either at a place of worship or a public place such as a local park or beach. Or a special sermon or prayers could be included in regular religious services.
Organise a collection or raise some money
You could combine almost any of the other ideas in this section with raising money (eg, through admission fees, ticket sales, gold coin contributions, raffles or auctions). You could organise a collection of used or new clothes, school uniforms, sports or baby equipment from the local community or businesses. You could organise distribution, or give them to a charity or aid organisation to distribute.
Volunteer or donate
- You could volunteer your services to an organisation working to address poverty and hardship, either for a one-off event or on an ongoing basis.
- You could also ask your employer to let you organise a volunteering program at work, or if you are an employer you could think about putting a volunteering scheme in place.
- You could donate money yourself and you could organise a donation scheme at your workplace. Donations could perhaps be made through direct deductions and matched by the company or business.
- See www.volunteeringaustralia.org for ideas and information about volunteering, or contact a local community service or your local council. See www.ourcommunity.com.au for ideas about donations.