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Voices of the South Side

Joy of dance. Image courtesy Kate Kelly. Port Melbourne Neighbourhood Centre
Joy of dance. Image courtesy Kate Kelly. Port Melbourne Neighbourhood Centre

Stay tuned for the upcoming screening of a series of digital stories showcasing Voices of the South Side in October 2016. For more information contact



Voices of the South Side is a program that provides opportunities for residents of public and social housing to speak out through training and support in various mediums including public speaking, storytelling and dance.



VoSS is a two year federally funded program facilitated by Robyn Szechtman and Deb McIntosh, delivered in partnership by Port Melbourne Neighbourhood Centre, Inner South Community Health, Port Phillip Community Group and Southport Community Housing.

The program has been running in various forms since its inception in 2009 as the Community Leadership Course with the City of Port Phillip, then later adapted by Port Phillip Community Group from 2012. It has continued to run twice a year since that time, with the curriculum adapted to suit the needs of participants.


Port Melbourne and St Kilda, City of Port Phillip


A 10-week ‘speaking out’ course is complemented by an outreach and engagement model which is built on extensive community networks. Participants have access to a diverse range of services through partner organisations to overcome barriers such as missing teeth, insecure housing or issues with Centrelink. The case management aspect of the program plays a vital part in its success. Referrals are available to access counselling services to help deal with mental health and lifestyle issues. This practical support in combination with a nurturing learning environment provides the foundation to begin the long journey of change.


Graduates of the Voices of the South Side program have gone on to further study, work casually in community research and stand on local committees within the City of Port Phillip including the Homeless Memorial. Participants have been employed to test a website for rooming house residents, become board members for Port Melbourne Neighbourhood Centre and become consumer representatives for committees for Inner South Community Health—including providing feedback to professionals working with marginalized communities.


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