History and Overview
Port Phillip Community Group (PPCG) began life as the St Kilda Community Group in the early 1970s with the aim to ‘improve communication between, and co-ordination of, existing welfare services, conducting research and service planning and establishing a multi-service community centre where residents could go for assistance’.
While services and programs have developed and changed over the years in line with community needs and funding priorities, there remain two significant constants – a commitment to social justice and our main primary location. For over 40 years, PPCG has been based at the corner of Chapel and Carlisle Streets
PPCG’s innovative and responsive nature seeded several flourishing organisations in the City of Port Phillip, including legal, health and housing services.
As a local organisation, PPCG has always been strongly supported by the City of Port Phillip. Funding and support is also received from state and federal governments, as well as from grants and donations, and volunteers.
In 2013, our main office underwent an award-winning upgrade and renovation creating a light-filled, calming environment for volunteers, staff and service users. As of 2018, the organisation now operates from five sites across the Port Phillip and in partnership with the City of Port Phillip.
Becoming Part of the Community
PPCG’s services contribute to improved outcomes for people – children, families, residents and communities, who are vulnerable, by supporting people with material supports and assisting them to address their immediate and long term needs. This empowers people and communities to transform and enhances wellbeing while improving community resilience and social justice.
Every year our staff and volunteers provide thousands of food vouchers, free meals, fresh food parcels, free telephone calls and telephone cards to those in need. Rent assistance, no interest loans, travel passes, pharmacy vouchers, emergency cash, back-to-school support, and basic healthcare items have helped many more. As well as these emergency material supports, PPCG also provides financial counselling, access to no interest loans, and lodging tax returns, together with thousands of referrals and advocacy to specialist agencies, and answers a myriad of inquiries on a daily basis.
Around 25% of the people who seek our help are from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds – predominantly Russian, Somalian, Vietnamese and Chinese.
Those who are vulnerable are often socially excluded. To address this we have a range of programs and activities for people who are socially and economically disadvantaged in partnership with many agencies. These programs and activities focus on building confidence and networks, as well as directly assist people to participate in the community. Our recreation and access groups (bushwalking, tennis, gym, swimming), our performance and creative activities, our social meals program in partnership with Port Phillip rooming houses, and the facilitation of neighbourhood street parties, are all designed to give people opportunities to meet and mix with others, and to develop lasting connections and friendships.
In line with government directions and priorities, we are increasingly focusing on pathways to education and employment. We provide a range of targeted, informative and engaging education, training and skills development courses for people in Port Phillip, as part of the Learn Local network. Our education, training and skills development courses include literacy and numeracy, social and interpersonal skills, digital communication and computer skills, creativity and performance. Thousands of hours of education, accredited by the Victorian Adult Community and Further Education (ACFE) Victoria, support 100s of people to move toward further learning, training and employment plus expand their social networks and to live more fulfilled and engaged lives.
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