2024 ‘Cohesive Communities’ Category Honourable Mention

Melton City Council, VIC

We Can All Eat Bread community book project

2024 ‘Cohesive Communities’ Category Honourable Mention

The Initiative

The English Conversation Club at Melton City Library is an important community initiative established under the Adult Literacy and Learning Program at the library. It is an opportunity for adult migrants to not only enhance their English language skills but also to develop lifelong friendships.

In late 2022, the club embarked on a heart–warming journey when they decided to create a recipe book collating recipes from their combined cultures. This was a way the group could connect over the universal language of food and the stories that surround it.

The process of creating the book was incorporated into language learning by using food and cooking as a means to practice language skills. This creative approach made English language acquisition more engaging and effective, offering a fresh perspective on education.

Throughout this endeavour, the participants uncovered a treasure trove of personal stories and gained insights into the varied ways bread is perceived across the world. It was a truly eye–opening and heart–warming experience that transcended language barriers and brought them closer as a community.

The outcome was an extraordinary recipe book designed by the library team and professionally printed for the wider community. The recipes not only allowed individuals to share their cultural stories and traditions but also made these cultures accessible to a wider audience, contributing to cultural heritage preservation.

The Council printed 1,000 copies and distributed them freely within the community, with a second print run of 500 copies, quickly picked up from libraries and outreach events. Physical copies are still available for loan and a digitised eBook version is accessible via BorrowBox.

A joyous celebratory lunch to launch the recipe book was held in August 2023, where families, friends, and Councillors came together to celebrate. This gathering included participants from Egypt, Indonesia, the Philippines, China, Sri Lanka, Poland, Spain, and France, who all created an atmosphere of cultural appreciation, uniting people through their love for food and the stories behind it.

This project is an example of innovation in adult learning that generated engagement in language learning, built social connections and contributed to the Council’s celebration of our diverse community.

About the Category

The ‘Cohesive Communities’ category recognises local government initiatives which:

  • sustain and celebrate the cultural, linguistic and religious diversity of our society;
  • foster a sense of belonging, identity and shared values and promote civic rights and responsibilities;
  • develop accessible infrastructure to encourage participation in the local community and build community harmony; and/or
  • celebrate the cultural, linguistic and religious diversity of the community and foster an inclusive and respectful community.

Successful initiatives in this award category benefit communities by:

  • creating communities that everyone can belong to, identify with and contribute to equally;
  • increasing participation in local communities and building community harmony; and/or
  • celebrating differences, talents, and fostering an inclusive and respectful community.

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