CatholicCare TAS features the MTP Project

CatholicCare TAS features the MTP Project

Mapping the Potential

Our key role in a nationwide study of disadvantage

One in eight Australians live in poverty

CatholicCare Tasmania has been deeply involved in groundbreaking new research that will make a difference to how social support is delivered in Australia. The data collected by this study will be used to better inform responses to people in need.

CatholicCare’s Executive Manager Social Impact, Belinda Clarke has involved our organisation as one of the key contributors to the study, helping to design the initial research framework and pilot-testing the research parameters.

“CatholicCare Tasmania has been one of the leading partners in this research, providing case studies to demonstrate the power of the research data and helping to analyse trends across Tasmania to build into the national narrative,” said Dr Ursula Stephens, CEO of Catholic Social Services Australia, who conducted the Mapping the Potential study, which aimed to provide a much richer understanding of disadvantage in the community.

“We have been blessed to have Belinda on our team – she has provided insights into the unique circumstances of Tasmania as well as highlighting the importance of place-based initiatives to improve opportunities to strengthen the social capital in communities.

“Belinda uses systems thinking, and her commitment to looking past situations to consider the social impact of interventionist action by government, business and community sectors has been an invaluable contribution to this important work. She knows we are all partners on this journey, and no one sector can do it alone,” Dr Stephens said.

The coming together of the project’s 21 partners resulted in a unique and bespoke research approach, driven by the need to identify useful responses, rather than just measurements.

Methods used in this research exposed finer details about poverty and disadvantage in Australia, and brought vital insight into the extent and location of disadvantage which had not been recorded in the past. It unveiled disadvantage that was hidden by the presence of relative affluence nearby. Furthermore, it is suggested that these very places may well be likely to have the greatest success from interventions.

CSSA flipped the conventional approach of academic-led study methods to adopt a design that would inform and assist in making decisions about the best ways to address disadvantage. This not only allowed it to be mapped more closely, but also revealed the most significant drivers of it. This was achieved with continuous engagement and input by service providers throughout the entire study from planning the method, to reporting the results in ways that would not further stigmatise certain suburbs.

The next stage of the research is production of communication materials for local use that focus on strengths and potentials in communities, and the release of data in ways that will benefit communities and service providers to drive positive responses.


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