Community development in the City of Sydney paves the way for Australian and NZ centres

Dave Owen, Community Development Coordinator at Belgravia Leisure’s City of Sydney venues.

Belgravia Leisure and City of Sydney have partnered to create the new role of Community Development Coordinator.

The City of Sydney sites, with key input from Dave, will serve as a testing ground for disability and diversity initiatives, potentially helping to shape our access and inclusion program across Belgravia Leisure sites internationally.

At the City of Sydney, Dave is working on access and inclusion programs Take Charge, Swim Champs and several recently established initiatives with local not for profit organisations, and is soon to start NDIS trials. 

Dave hopes to boost access to our facilities for those who face barriers such as disability, disadvantage and diversity.

“I want to nurture partnerships among agencies to foster long-term service delivery, so there is ongoing opportunity – particularly for the hard-to-reach community – to be engaged in physical activity, tackle social isolation and improve their health and wellbeing,” he said.

To date, Dave has worked with the local mental health and welfare organisations to extend City of Sydney’s swimming and water safety lessons.

“We have also provided swimming and water safety lessons to the Freedom Hub, a support service for survivors of human trafficking and slavery,” Dave said.

Dave and the City of Sydney centres have also:

  • formed a partnership with the Asylum Seeker Centre and Reclink, where asylum seekers are engaged in a 10-week swimming and water safety program
  • started developeing a lifeguard mentoring program where young people connected to the PCYC shadow lifeguards at Prince Alfred Park Pool and are supported by the Royal Life Saving Society to complete their Pool Lifeguarding qualification
  • written a Transgender and Intersex use of Change Rooms and Bathrooms policy, enabling all five sites to be accredited as an ACON Safe Place venue.

There are currently 27 different programs and community groups accessing the City of Sydney’s aquatic and fitness centres via inclusion programs. More than 1800 visits are made monthly by community groups and approximately 660 of these are by people with a disability through one of our programs.

In addition, there are more than 2500 monthly visits by City of Sydney Access Card holders, a reduced-cost initiative targeting those from financial disadvantage.

Belgravia Leisure proudly manages City of Sydney's Ian Thorpe Aquatic Centre, Cook+Phillip Park Aquatic Centre, Andrew Boy Charlton Pool, Victoria Park Pool and Prince Alfred Park Pool.