Community Commons

Working together for long term results for communities


This year seems to have seen the beginning of a perfect storm, where community needs keep on rising but the availability of funds has declined or become increasingly competitive. This has put many big NGO’s under pressure, but for many of the community managed organisations who engage volunteers to help respond to grassroots issues in their local communities, the issues have been overwhelming.

A proactive group of 15 local community groups in the Whitsundays, Mackay and Isaac (WIM) have banded together with the support of the Coalition of Community Boards and Volunteering Queensland to explore how they can survive the ‘perfect storm’ and come out stronger.

This project will identify the community groups' needs at a local level, and Volunteering Queensland in partnership with the Coalition of Community Boards, will work to enable them to develop the capacity to effectively harness resources to gain traction on the initiatives they need to get results – long term results – for their community.

We are looking to demonstrate how this project could work in other communities, and while the groups involved will identify outputs that match their needs (such as baseline research, training, mentoring and models of collaboration), Volunteering Queensland will be seeking to demonstrate how capacity, involving volunteers, can be embedded in communities and maintained locally.

The Queensland Community Foundation, one of Australia’s largest community foundations who, since 1997, has provided an excess of $10 million to a range of charitable organisations for the ongoing benefit of the community, has provided the much needed financial support for this initiative. Queensland Community Foundation has funded this pilot project $130,000.

Positioning Paper

Hear the collective voices of community-led organisations in this recently launched Position Paper developed in partnership with the Coalition of Community Boards relating to social outcomes.

Download a copy of the Position Paper 'Keeping organisations on the political agenda'

Visioning Report

At a workshop sponsored by the Mackay Regional Council, the community groups have identified a collective way forward that will see them collaborate to better understand the capacity they have to meet community needs, and how they can work together to better support each other, and collectively inform future investment into local communities.

They have crafted a vision to more effectively meet the needs of the people who make Mackay, Whitsundays and Isaac their home. Many of these organisations are led by volunteers who bring with them a wealth of experience and heart, but who after decades of battling to provide services in a constantly changing environment, need support to find new and different ways of working together to create sustainable futures.

Download a copy of the Visioning Report that outlines the outcomes to be achieved as part of the Community Commons Project.


See our video animation highlighting just how this project works:


Watch Carmel Daveson, Chair of WIM Coalition of Community Boards sub-committee, launching this initiative during National Volunteer Week 2014:


Hear the local voices that make up the Community Commons in the Mackay, Whitsundays and Isaac regions:


Participating organisations

  • Regional Social Development Centre
  • Bowen Neighbourhood Centre Inc.
  • Youth Space Proserpine Inc.
  • Mackay & Region Community Legal Centre Inc.
  • Domestic Violence Resource Service (Mackay & Region) Inc.
  • Lowanna House Inc.
  • ELAM Inc.
  • Mackay Street Chaplaincy Inc.
  • Kalyan Youth Services Inc.
  • Mackay Youth Connections Inc.
  • Collinsville Community Association Inc.
  • Youth Information and Referral Service Inc. (Mackay)
  • Moranbah & District Support Services Inc. (Isaac)
  • Community Accommodation & Support Agency Inc.