Cook and Chat enables individuals to enter a safe space to learn and interact with others. Within this space, we seek to build confidence through learning together in a judgement free environment. The participants of the group have shown a steady growth in cohesion through the willingness of participants to mentor one another when working on new skills and topics. This has allowed communication skills to develop and a sharing of cultures and traditions to bring people together.

Key achievements of this program include participants have developed their communication skills and confidence to a level that has allowed them to enter into formal studies including English Classes, TAFE courses and basic computer literacy classes. Participants within the group have stated in feedback that they feel more socially connected and more aware of local services within the area.

Focus connect seeks to develop social cohesion through building awareness of local and government organisations and services and creating opportunities to build on social connections. Gaining a greater understanding and awareness of other community members allows participants to achieve not only understanding of other cultures, but strengthens local community bonds. Events such as their recent International Women’s Day demonstrates this cohesion with many group members working together to plan, prepare and serve the meals for members of the wider community in attendance on the day.

Future plans include taking the group on outings into the wider community to share experiences of other cultures, including Indigenous culture. Through this, Focus connect seeks to further build on social cohesion.