Five community scholarship projects announced

Following a competitive EOI process, ACU’s Stakeholder Engaged Scholarship Unit (SESU) has selected five community-initiated scholarship projects across Australia for funding in the 2020 round of applications.

Situated within ACU Engagement, the SESU emerges from a long-standing tradition of ACU engaging with its partners and builds on this by supporting partner-driven projects.

Vice-Chancellor and President Professor Greg Craven said the selected projects addressed key areas of need in the community.

“We expect that the projects will produce positive cultural, social and economic impacts for communities experiencing the most disadvantage and marginalisation,” Professor Craven said.

“We are proud to be partnering with like-minded organisations who are committed to service, equity, diversity and wellbeing, which are all key values of ACU.”

Understanding the impact of COVID-19

Bringing together five organisations – Catholic Social Services Victoria, Jesuit Refugee Service Australia, Lord Somers Camp and Power House, St Mary’s House of Welcome, and St Vincent de Paul Society NSW – the SESU is developing a broad, multi-faceted project that will address the social and economic impacts of COVID-19 on community services and their clients.

Transitioning to further education and employment

CatholicCare Melbourne’s project will evaluate their Geelong-based Settle Well program. This holistic school-based program seeks to facilitate the transition to further education, training or sustainable employment for young refugees and asylum seekers at risk of disengagement from school and community life.

Planning for older age and end of life

CatholicCare Sydney’s project seeks to investigate models that will deliver more effective education about ageing and dying. Working within the community, the project intends to produce more person-centred strategies to encourage deeper conversations about, and better planning for, older age and end of life – topics often broached with much discomfort.

Building an integrated health and housing model

Earlier this year, with funding from the Victorian Department of Health and Human Services, several facilities were established where people experiencing homelessness who became infected with COVID-19 could safely isolate and recover. Launch Housing, Brotherhood of St Laurence, and St Vincent’s Hospital Melbourne partnered to establish the Sumner House site. Due to low numbers of COVID-19 in the first wave of the pandemic, these facilities then transitioned into Respite and Recovery Facilities. People experiencing homelessness could stay and receive health and housing support. With the second wave of the pandemic, these facilities have moved back to offering COVID-19 isolation accommodation. Based on learnings from Sumner House, the project will investigate what a sustainable integrated health and housing model could look like post COVID-19. 

Impact of an alternative service for suicide prevention

Suicide Prevention Pathways’ project was initiated in response to the 50 per cent increase in requests for support the organisation experienced following the outbreak of COVID-19. The project seeks to evaluate the impact of its Talk Suicide Support Service, which offers a non-clinical alternative to suicide prevention in South-East Queensland for those at risk of suicide aged 15 years and over and for their support networks.

A small number of other scholarship projects were also shortlisted and may be underway later this year.

Read more about the SESU online and email your questions to

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