Beyond the Bell – working together for the success of children in the Great South Coast

State Trustees Australia Foundation has funded a new initiative to help children in one of Victoria’s most disadvantaged regional areas.

$70,000 was awarded to Beyond the Bell via RMIT University to enable groups in the South-West of Victoria use a collective-impact approach on one of the area’s biggest social problems. Run through the Great South Coast Group, the program will have learning outcomes as the benchmark for improving long-term health and wellbeing for young people.

The Great South Coast covers the shires of Colac Otway, Corangamite, Moyne, Southern Grampians, Glenelg and the City of Warrnambool. The area has a number of disadvantaged individuals, particularly youth and young adults. Currently, only 57% of individuals aged 20-24 have attained Year 12 qualifications in the area. This is below the Victorian average of 74% (Australian Bureau of Statistics, Census 2011).

Beyond the Bell was established 3 years ago under the umbrella of The Great South Coast Group. The Grant South Coast Group is a collective of local government, community partners and industry groups that are trying to make systemic changes to the educational attainment rates of their young people. Funding from State Trustees Australia Foundation will go towards funding a coordinator role and specific projects for children.

Funded through bequests and donations and administered by State Trustees, the State Trustees Australia Foundation is committed to funding programs which aim to work on social problems strategically.

State Trustees Executive General Manager, Melanie Lewis believes that the initiatives recognise the holistic approach required to achieve the best possible outcomes for disadvantaged children, both at home and in school.

‘This project is a systemic approach to granting. It works with a specific community, in this case, a regional group, in order to focus on an issue long-term.’
‘Funding a coordinated solution has the best chance of success. It will ensure the different groups regularly communicate with each other to identify any areas requiring improvements, as well as keep to a specific evaluation plan.’

Beyond the Bell is a ‘cradle to career’ initiative aimed at improving the following measurements:
• Rates of low birth weight babies
• Proportion of 3.5 year olds attending Maternal and Child Health checks
• Australian Early Development Census: % of children developmentally vulnerable on one or main domains
• Rates of student absenteeism
• Year 7-12 apparent retention rate
• Rates of 20-24 year olds who have attained Year 12 or Equivalent

About Beyond the Bell

Beyond the Bell utilises a collective-impact framework. This model is based on a collaborative approach, where groups share resources, and agreed measurements and goals. It aims to provide better cross-sector coordination, rather than rely on the usual isolated intervention of individual organisations. It is community-driven, and aimed at long-term interventions to promote lasting change.

About State Trustees Australia Foundation

State Trustees Australia Foundation has provided more than $2 million to more than 250 projects through the grassroots grants and a further $10 million provided directly to charitable organisations through bequests.

The Foundation has also established a ground breaking Ageing, Disability and Mental Health Collaborative Panel bringing peak bodies together to identify critical transitional opportunities following significant sector reform including the National Disability Insurance Scheme.
For more information on the State Trustees Australia Foundation or the Ageing, Disability and Mental Health Collaborative Panel please visit