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Co-designing community wellbeing

Laurels Education and Training is based in a growth corridor on the fringe of Melbourne and is the only RTO providing accredited training between Footscray, Ballarat and Geelong. Their mission is to provide educational and personal growth opportunities to support people to reach their full potential.

Main entrance of The Laurels
The Laurels Building

Laurels Education and Training acknowledges the significant impact the Covid pandemic has had on the Bacchus Marsh community. Of particular notice was the decline in people’s physical and mental health. The prolonged lockdowns affected the community’s ability to socialise and engage in education and training.

In collaboration with other regional Neighbourhood Houses, Laurels Education and Training partnered with local health practitioners to form the Wellbeing Script Program. The program aims to reduce loneliness, isolation and disconnection by encouraging community connection and engagement. The intention is to improve people’s health and wellbeing by participation in engagement and education programs as well as reduce the workload of GPs.

These community partnerships support general wellbeing by providing lifestyle interventions with purpose. All Central Highlands Neighbourhood Houses can make referrals to the Wellbeing Script Program. UK research showed that increasing local connections reduced hospitalisation and improved patients' overall health and well-being. This model was adapted for people to gain local social connections by joining various programs within the Neighbourhood House.

These include; art, technology, gardening, volunteering or life-long learning. The program has supported learners to pathway into Floristry courses, Introduction to Child Care and Aged Care.

After many years of social isolation, Laurels Education and Training have found some people need a little extra support to reconnect. Never before have the significant benefits of engaging and connecting with other people been so apparent.


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