The Warwick Farm Community Mapping Project in 2008 revealed local concern around crime, safety, drugs, lack of youth services, food insecurity and community fear. The mapping clearly revealed few safe public spaces and amenities particularly for the women and children in the area, most of whom survive on a weekly income of $592 compared with the $1,027 Australian average.
Warwick Farm is a community of both severe disadvantage and incredible resilience. Recently news broke of a child prostitution ring run by two young women in Warwick Farm, forcing vulnerable and homeless children and young girls into prostitution. This shocking story highlighted the needs of young women and girls in the community, where there are inadequate youth services or support networks to prevent or intervene early in situations like this.
Warwick Farm is also a community where there are strong women leaders who are standing up to the crime and disadvantage and working to address the needs by providing community based solutions. The Sydney Women’s Fund of the Sydney Community Foundation has partnered with Liverpool Neighbourhood Connections (LNC) to grow Peppers Place Community café. This social enterprise aims to reduce social isolation, improve community safety and resilience, and provide employment for women and young people in Warwick Farm. Specifically the enterprise is providing employment for local women (often the first time a member of the family has been employed in generations), healthy and affordable meals, work experience placement for TAFE students, and a safe and enjoyable space for women and children.
Partnering with the Warwick Farm community on the Peppers Place social enterprise café is only the beginning. The community receives “band-aid” government funding and no large NGO, philanthropic or corporate funds for community building and regeneration initiatives. Sydney Community Foundation is embarking on a ‘place based philanthropy’ strategy to drive the funding, partnerships and human resources required for holistic community regeneration in Warwick Farm, and other highly disadvantaged and underfunded communities in Western Sydney. We plan to invest in innovative solutions to addressing critical need in education, child and youth services, employment and micro and social enterprise– and with a particular focus on women and children in the community.