Connected St Andrews

Connected St Andrews

The aim of the Connected St Andrews project is to build strong community and neighbourhood connections before an emergency, which help people to manage better during and after an emergency like a storm or bushfire.

Let's discover and make use of our local strengths, skills and resources to make St Andrews and surrounding areas more connected and better prepared.

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Upcoming events 

Connected St Andrews Project Grants 

Grants of up to $5,000 are now available for community projects that help build community connections and encourage people to prepare for emergencies together.

For information about the grants, including how we can support you to brainstorm your idea and get ready to apply, visit the Connected St Andrews Grants page.   

Project details

Project aims and community goals

The key aims of the Connected St Andrews project are:

  • Strengthening relationships and community connections
  • Building community skills, networks, resources and assets
  • Identifying shared community values and goals
  • Activating Wadambuk St Andrews Community Centre - a key asset for community connection
  • Supporting community awareness and preparedness for emergencies like bushfires and storms

During 2022, the Connected St Andrews project held sessions with community members to create a list of community dreams and goals for the township and surrounding areas:

  • Connecting neighbours or people living near each other
  • Connecting people and reduce social isolation in the community
  • Encouraging more people to get involved and volunteer in their local community
  • Encouraging people to use and visit Wadambuk St Andrews Community Centre
  • Attract more people (locals and tourists) to the St Andrews market
  • Encouraging people to work together to prepare for emergencies
  • Supporting local businesses and community groups work together
  • Goals other than those listed above that have ongoing benefits for St Andrews and surrounding communities 

Connected St Andrews is about building on the strengths, gifts, talents and resources of individuals and communities with an aim to create a strong, inclusive and sustainable St Andrews community. 

Project background

Following the 2009 Black Saturday Bushfires, the St Andrews community has been on a journey to understand how it can be better prepared for bushfires and other emergencies.

‘St Andrews – Living with the Environment’ and the St Andrews Conversations are some of the important steps the community has taken in this space.

Part of this journey has been the realisation that even before we can start talking to people about being prepared for bushfire, we need our community to be thriving, vibrant and connected. Everything starts with community connection!

Strong community and neighbourhood connections help people to cope better during and after an emergency. Community events, projects or activities help build connections.

This sparked the idea for Connected St Andrews.

Another important conversation that contributed to Connected St Andrews coming to life, was when Wadambuk St Andrews Community Centre reached out to Council for guidance with their Future Growth and Sustainability Plan. It is vital that the Centre remains open as it is a recognised community asset to connect and build relationships. Wadambuk can also be used as a key community hub after an emergency.

In early 2021, Emergency Management Victoria’s Risk and Resilience Grants opened. Council’s Communities First team met with Wadambuk and three community groups with strong connections to the Community Centre to explore a possible project.

Council, in collaboration with Wadambuk, St Andrews Men's Shed, St Andrews Primary School and St Andrews CFA Brigade, submitted a grant application for the Connected St Andrews Project, with support from the local Community Based Bushfire Management Project Officer from the Department of Environment Land Water and Planning.

In December 2021 we were notified that the application was successful.

What does the project involve?

The Connected St Andrews project started in February 2022 and will run until February 2024. There will be ongoing support to keep achieving the project aims into the future.

The key elements of the project are:

Community projects - $55,000

Funding for community projects that meet the project aims.

  • St Andrews Festival funding: a $5,000 grant to cover costs associated with running the festival e.g. traffic management and insurance
  • Round 1: 4 x $5,000 grants for Wadambuk, Mens Shed, Primary School and CFA Brigade to run events, activities and projects to benefit the community
  • Round 2: a grant pool of $30,000 for community projects that will meet the project aims

Round 2 grants will open in early 2023. All community groups who would like to deliver a project for the St Andrews community will be able to apply.

Activating Wadambuk St Andrews Community Centre - $50,000

As a key community hub, Wadambuk will receive funding to help build long-term financial sustainability.

This will support Wadambuk to continue to operate as a key community asset and a place for building community connection.

Wadambuk can use this funding for training, equipment, upgrades and to increase staff hours.

Community bushfire education and preparedness - $20,000

With such a high bushfire risk in St Andrews and surrounding areas, it’s important to build a connected community that is aware of risks and knows how to prepare before the next bushfire or emergency occurs. This also helps communities to manage better during and after an emergency.

This funding will cover activities that will:

  • Build people’s risk awareness of bushfires and other emergencies 
  • Support people to be better prepared for bushfires and other emergencies
  • Build skills to support recovery after bushfires or other emergencies

Council’s Communities First team will support the community and grant recipients to deliver projects and activities that meet the key aims of Connected St Andrews.

What's happened so far?

What If? - Free community picnic and emergency scenario discussion

In February 2023, we held a free community picnic followed by a bushfire scenario discussion with Jamie Mackenzie from Red Flag Real Time Leadership. Over 60 community members from St Andrews and surrounding areas attended. 

Presenter in front of a projector talking to a room full of people.

Mapping our Community Workshops

Two Mapping our Community Workshop were held in November 2022 and February 2023. Facilitators from the Jeder Insitute introduced us to Asset Based Community Development (ABCD) and supported us to begin creating a map of the assets - skills, networks/groups and resources - already in the St Andrews community and surrounding areas. 

A group of people sitting around a circle talking.

June to October 2022

  • Three workshops were held with the Jeder Institute and Wadambuk, the Primary School, the Mens Shed and the CFA Brigade to start planning the project using an Asset Based Community Development approach.
  • A Connected St Andrews stall was held at the St Andrews Festival to talk to people about the project. People were asked to answer the question “During an extended power outage, where do you go for help?” which gave us great insight into how connected and prepared the people living in and around St Andrews are for emergencies.

Photo of Council Officers and Community Members standing at the Connected St Andrews Stall smiling.

January to May 2022

  • Conversations were held with Wadambuk, the Primary School, the Mens Shed and the CFA Brigade to revisit the project and its aims.
  • Two community development facilitators were engaged from Jeder Institute to work with community to shape the project.



If you would like to find out more about Connected St Andrews you can connect with us via the details below:

Communities First Team
Aimee Catterall, Edwina Moran and Georgia Ryan

Community Development Team
Allira Haeusler

  • Supporting Wadambuk with their long term sustainability
  • Supporting community-led ideas and projects that build strong connections and achieve local goals
    03 9433 3111

Community Based Bushfire Management Officer
Elly Hanrahan – Department of Environment, Energy and Climate Action (DEECA)

  • Supporting Connected St Andrews
  • Supporting communities with their ideas for being better prepared for bushfire and emergencies

Wadambuk St Andrews Community Centre


Jeder Insititute logo