Community Voices Program

Share your story, create change!

The Community Voices Program recognises that experiences and perspectives developed through living on a low income are a form of valuable expertise. This ‘lived experience’ expertise is vital when it comes to ensuring the systems, policies, services and decisions which affect Tasmanian communities are fair and inclusive.

I’m learning to turn my vulnerability into power through an outlet where I’m respected and my input matters.”

TasCOSS Community Voice Partner

People living on low incomes in Tasmania are often silenced, stigmatised or discriminated against and until now there has been no formal, recognised or dedicated platform for people with lived experience of living on low incomes to have a direct or collective voice in systems and decisions which affect them in lutruwita/trouwunna (Tasmania). That’s where the Community Voices Program comes in.

The program aims to ensure people living on low incomes have a place to make their voices heard. Importantly, Community Voice Partners receive training, support, payment and recognition for sharing their lived experience expertise.

  1. TasCOSS recruits, trains and mentors community members living on low incomes to become Community Voice Partners.
  2. An organisation expresses interest in engaging Community Voice Partner(s) to TasCOSS.
  3. TasCOSS matches that organisation to Community Voice Partner(s) with relevant lived experience and skills.
  4. The Community Voice Partner(s) and the organisation both receive support from us around how to engage in alignment with the program’s principles.
  5. Engagement then proceeds with minimal involvement from TasCOSS, but with support as needed.
  6. Community Voice Partner(s) are paid according to duration of the engagement with the organisation and receive recognition for their contributions.
  7. TasCOSS supports reflection and feedback from both the organisation and the Community Voice Partner(s)

TasCOSS Policy Conversation recording: Lived Experience in the Community Services Industry

 

 

There are two main ways you can engage with the Community Voices Program, either as an organisation seeking lived experience expertise or as a community member, providing your experiences and insight.

There’s lots of different ways Community Voice Partners can engage — from one-off engagements providing feedback on a service to longer-term working collaboratively as part of a project team. To help Community Voice Partners and the organisations they engage with develop shared expectations, TasCOSS has produced a Spectrum of Community Voice Partner Engagement.