A community education program for residents to deepen their knowledge and skills to run local projects.


A community education program for residents to deepen their knowledge and skills to run local projects.

Capacity to Deliver -


The issue

THe Duba, Budu, Barra: Ten steps to a living river – the Parramatta River Masterplan has a strong focus on community engagement.  Step 7 “Involve the Community” focuses on community education to reduce stormwater and source pollution where it is linked to community behaviour and actions and Step 8 “Bring in Nature” focuses on habitats for icon and other species by developing community capacity and citizen science. 

Member councils of the Parramatta River Catchment Group each run Bushcare programs and other volunteer programs (such as Love Your Place) which make an enormous contribution to environmental management programs.  The challenge was to create a pathway for residents, passionate about healthy waterways, to affect positive change in an accessible and meaningful way.

The solution

The course connected like-minded people to work together to create fun, local projects that protect and restore the Parramatta River and positively impact its communities. PRCG built upon the community development work of our sister catchment, the Cooks River Alliance and The Green Living Centre (Inner West Council).   Run over 10 weeks, Changemakers was designed to inform residents about the variety of ecosystems in the catchment and current ways in which PRCG is working together via the Parramatta River Masterplan as well as building skills to do this in an engaging way so that participants can take action.

The impact

The participants are committed to continuing their community education projects with events and online learning.  Six Changemaker groups emerged:

  1. Greener Gatherings (reducing the use of plastics in outdoor gatherings)
  2. ParrAware (increasing awareness of the catchment at ferry stops and public events)
  3. Parramatta River Heroes (focus on icon species)
  4. MapHack (in development)
  5. The Lollipop Ladies (reducing litter and producer responsibility)
  6. The Diggers (mapping community gardens, engaging more residents)

The four event focussed groups delivered at community events in June: reaching targeted audiences.  These projects demonstrate the success of the Changemakers course in building the skills and confidence of participants and creating a pathway for them to take meaningful action.

Key facts

  • 22 participants completed the Changemakers Course – from 8 of 9 member councils, and ranging in age from 17 to 80.
  • The course was held over 10 weeks with a total class time of 30 in person hours.
  • Cost was $9,500 plus significant in-kind support - thankyou City of Ryde for workshop venue.
  • 6 Changemaker groups formed: ParrAware, Parramatta River Heroes, Greener Gatherings, MapHack, the Lollipop Ladies and The Diggers.