Community collectives are ramping up efforts to invigorate Perth suburbs
A grassroots movement is springing up in suburbs across the metropolitan area, with local residents stepping in to invigorate Perth’s neighbourhoods.
Community collectives have sprung up in Victoria Park, Maylands and Fremantle, among other suburbs, to take on some of the role traditionally filled by local governments.
The new community groups have formed after the success achieved in recent years by the Beaufort Street Network.
The Beaufort Street Network was formed in 2010 when three passionate Mount Lawley residents decided to hold an annual street festival.
Five years later, the Beaufort Street Festival has become so successful that a third party is contracted to run the November event, which has attracted more than 120,000 people in recent years.
The network has also been working on other projects to inject art and culture into the suburb, with a monthly art market its most recent project.
A group of individuals in Victoria Park is following in the Beaufort Street Network’s footsteps by establishing its own community collective.
The Vic Park Collective was founded by a group of local businesspeople in May 2013 following a forum on local development arranged by the Town of Victoria Park.
Victoria Park residents were reportedly disappointed with efforts the local government had made to inject vibrancy into the suburb, especially with what was described as a lacklustre Christmas festival.
Vice-chairperson of the collective, Flavia Pardini, told Business News people attending the forum thought they could possibly do a better job and banded together to create the community group.
“It was about business people and those from local small businesses, along with the community, coming together and saying ‘what would we like to see happening in Vic Park’,” Ms Pardini said.
“Not that Vic Park isn’t a great suburb, there were just some things that we felt could be done and were not happening.”
The aim, Ms Pardini said, was to help Victoria Park become a suburb that people didn’t want or need to leave, which would have spin-off effects for local businesses along Albany Highway.
Its first project was facilitating a piece of public artwork in a laneway in East Victoria Park by international street artists The Yok and Sheryo, who were brought to Perth as part of FORM’s PUBLIC street art festival.
The collective then received approval to hold a street celebration, closing the laneway where the mural was painted, in June.
That event paved the way for local farmers market manager Bec McGhie to launch a weekly Twilight Hawkers Market in the laneway.
Mr Pardini said the collective was now looking at what other projects it could focus on, and was paying close attention to how the Beaufort Street Network had matured.
Project manager for the network’s latest project – the monthly art market – Lesley Thomas, told Business News she saw the opportunity for a daytime event that could benefit local businesses by not offering food or drink at the market.
“During the evenings Beaufort Street is buzzing because of all the bars, but it’s really dropped off in the last two years with retailers closing,” Ms Thomas said.