Hands Up Mallee is a Social Impact Initiative, based in the Northern Mallee region. Hands Up Mallee was established to bring local leaders and community together to address social issues and improve health and wellbeing outcomes for children, young people and their families. 

Hands Up Mallee works in partnership with the community, local service providers, agencies and takes a place-based approach to solutions for local issues to ensure action taken is the right action for our unique community.


Hands Up Mallee makes local collaborative and evidence-informed decisions to address the social issues that are being experienced in the Northern Mallee. Responding to these issues locally means that action is tailored to the specific needs and underlying causes of issues in our community. Decisions are made in consultation with those who best understand the needs and challenges of individuals, families and our community.

Hands Up Mallee works through consultations with community, businesses, the services sector and funding bodies to identify where action and investment in our community will have the most meaningful impact. This means decisions are informed by:

  • drawing on data and evidence to better understand the outcomes and resourcing required to make change

  • combining this with local intelligence and engagement to make evidence based decisions about services and interventions that deliver better outcomes for the local population

  • connect organisations in a meaningful way

what does hands up mallee do?

Hands Up Mallee recognises that there is not a ‘one size fits all’ solution to the issues we face. For example what works in inner city Melbourne does not necessarily translate to the challenges faced regionally. In order to drive change that works for our community we have:

  • developed a common agenda with our community

  • our community identified that a preventative focus was needed for specific age groups within the 0-25 year old targeted population that we will focus on in

    • 0-2 First 1000 Days

    • 3-8 Best Start to Life

    • 9-14 Young People Matter

    • 15-25 Tread Your Own Path

  • recommends and supports changes to services and processes to reflect the unique challenges of these groups in order to gain the most successful outcomes

  • has joint ownership of results and outcomes, supported through a Shared Measurement System

  • uses data and evidence to drive improvements, ensuring investment is better coordinated and targeted to what actually works

how does Hands Up Mallee Support its partners?

Hands Up Mallee provides support to local services and agencies, including:

  • provides strong links to a community voice

  • facilitating evaluation of action and investment

  • building capability to understand data, evidence and capacity to work from a collective impact approach

  • advocating for changes to funding structures to support a tailored place based approach

  • work using a tight-loose-tight accountability:

    • tight: clear outcomes set

    • loose: how they are achieved

    • tight: close monitoring and accountability for achieving results



Valuing and including community diversity strengthens relationships and builds trust

  • Value and cater for diversity

  • Act with integrity, compassion and empathy

  • Collaborate and build trust to strengthen commitment and ownership

  • View children, youth, and families as drivers of change

  • Empower people, families, youth, and children to take charge of their lives

  • Respect and promote the
    self-determination of Indigenous Australians


Sharing ownership of the Common Agenda aligns resources to improve community outcomes

  • Engage all community in creating solutions to address the Common Agenda

  • Coordinate efforts and align resources to address the Common Agenda and its underlying inequities

  • Map the big picture so all can see where their work or responsibility links to the Common Agenda

  • Provide support for the short and long term

  • Ensure partnerships, teamwork and processes are effective and efficient

continuous improvement

Learning, leading and innovating builds community capacity, for Social Impact

  • Ensure our actions are mutually reinforcing to solve complex problems

  • Evaluate, innovate and adapt to get the best results

  • Build on existing evidence to achieve better outcomes

  • Use multiple ways to participate, communicate and coordinate effort

  • Listen, learn and lead for continuous improvement


Keeping ourselves and each other accountable to the Common Agenda ensures quality outcomes for our community

  • Adapt a shared responsibility to achieve the best outcomes

  • Develop and use a Shared Measurement System

  • Use measurement and feedback to ensure high performance

  • Inspire and inform the community

  • Share our community's progress

what is hands up mallee's community aspiration?

Collective Impact requires all participants to have a shared vision for change, one that includes a common understanding of the problem and a joint approach to solving it through agreed upon actions. This is known as our Community Aspiration.
 (Source: Collaboration for Impact Website)

The Community Aspiration was determined through a combination of two approaches. First, our partner organisations and service providers were consulted over a two year period after they agreed that we should adopt a Collective Impact approach to address complex issues affecting people in our community. This process and its outcomes can be found in our previous Directions Paper. Second we consulted with over 1,600 community members, from a diversity of backgrounds to get a strong sense of what our community feel and want. We also looked at what the research told us.