The Conversation Club Program, initiated in 2010, is a weekly program aimed at tackling under-employment in the Strathfield local government area by reducing social isolation experienced by non-English speaking local residents and building a sense of community. The program is delivered in partnership with Strathfield Council and Metro Assist.
Positive outcomes of the program have been identified through a study of the program in 2016. This study found that a majority of the participants had developed:
increased confidence in speaking English and communicating with others from different cultural backgrounds
a stronger sense of social inclusion
an improved understanding of Australian culture, and
a greater wiliness to become involved in clubs or groups in the community.
In addition, the program has given participants an understanding of the services and information that are offered by Metro Assist and Strathfield Council and have increased community members’ awareness of ACU and what they can access at the Strathfield Campus.
ACU students give their time to this program by running activities and leading the group through conversations. This program is beneficial for ACU students in building cultural competencies and understanding the role of community organisations and local government in building resilient communities.
Students from all courses in NSW are welcome to volunteer to support this program and, if they are enrolled in a community engagement unit, to discuss with their lecturers whether this program is suitable as a community engagement placement.