Neighbourhood Partners named Local Heroes

May 17, 2024

City of Melbourne’s Neighbourhoods Team took out the top prize at the Vision Super Local Heroes Awards – an initiative which highlights the unsung heroes who work for local government.

The team is made up of seven neighbourhood partners who provide support to communities living in our ten neighbourhoods. The partners are Nas Mohamud for Carlton and Parkville, Rei Chin for CBD, Fadi Qunqar for Docklands, Kimberley Pierzchalski for East Melbourne and South Yarra, Melanie Del Monaco for Kensington, Tallia Gilarry for North and West Melbourne, and Ash Lee for Southbank.

The team was praised for its dedication to working with community.

Manager Neighbourhoods Michelle James, said: “The team works tirelessly to connect people in our diverse neighbourhoods, empowering them to lead their own change. They deeply understand the strengths and needs of our communities.”

(Acting) Director Community Development Rebecca Wringe, said: “We are so proud of our Neighbourhood Partners, who go above and beyond every day. I know how appreciated they are within the City of Melbourne, but it’s so important that their work with community is recognised beyond just our organisation.”

The Neighbourhood Partners play a vital role in simplifying sometimes hard-to-navigate processes for people living within our neighbourhoods. By considering the unique needs of our diverse communities, they also support strong connection.

In the recent Neighbourhood Survey the partners were described as "very effective in providing a bridge between the residents and CoM", "great at facilitating better neighbourhood connections" and that they helped community feel "consistently informed and (they) address our concerns".

Across the municipality, 46 per cent of people speak a language other than English at home. This is compared to the state average of 27 per cent. On top of that, 63 per cent of households rent within the municipality compared to 29 per cent in the state.

These figures show why for an area like the City of Melbourne, a place-based approach which considers the unique needs of these diverse communities is so important.

City of Melbourne implemented the Neighbourhood Model in 2022, following extensive community consultation. This resulted in the neighbourhoods priorities and community websites, the Neighbourhood Portals. The Neighbourhoods Team recently checked in on these priorities, consulting more than 4400 community members to find out what’s important to them.

The neighbourhood partners accept their award