Community Network Forums - bridging the gap between community and leisure venues

by Nichole Edsall on April 13, 2021


Belgravia Leisure’s core values revolve around connecting communities to leisure. These values are embraced by passionate teams on the ground at each Belgravia Leisure operated venue who are committed to improving the health and fitness levels of everyone in their local communities to ensure no one misses out.

What are Community Network Forums?

Belgravia Leisure teams have found that collaboration and communication with communities is the best way to learn how they can best service their varying needs, preferences and priorities. Belgravia Leisure’s Community Network Forums, which have been held over the months of March and April this year, are designed to welcome key community stakeholders to participate in discussions on how they can collectively support their community.

At each Community Network Forum, Belgravia Leisure staff ask the very important question to community members - “How can we better serve our communities to ensure no one misses out?”

Belgravia Leisure National Access and Inclusion Coordinator Emma Lowe believes that the Community Network Forums are the key to facilitating two-way conversations between communities and leisure venues. “Community Network Forums were designed to promote community awareness and foster collaboration, partnerships and connections between local organisations, service providers, community groups and other bodies,” Emma explained.

The aim of the Community Network Forums is to have an improved understanding of the community’s needs, preferences and priorities and how Belgravia Leisure can partner and co-design future initiatives and programs to foster positive community outcomes.

Community Network Forums and local communities

Several Community Network Forums have been conducted in March at numerous Belgravia Leisure operated venues across New South Wales. Individually, the Forums provide venues with an accurate picture of how they can plan local services and programs. Collectively, the data becomes extremely valuable for future initiatives to best support the communities in which Belgravia Leisure operate in Australia and New Zealand.

“So far, the Community Network Forums have connected with over 100 people representing a large array of local organisations, businesses, community groups, community sport and local champions,” said Emma. “These Forums have helped identify the most discussed topics ranging from mental health to employment opportunities, service accessibility to program affordability, youth to older adults and cultural diversity to First Nations People, and everything in between.”

Belgravia Leisure’s Inclusion Coordinators and their role in the Forums

Instrumental to Belgravia Leisure’s 5-Year Access and Inclusion Plan, which focuses on Belgravia’s goal of ‘world’s best practice in access and inclusion’, is the role of the Inclusion Coordinator.

“Inclusion Coordinators are key staff members at each of Belgravia Leisure’s year-round operating venues,” explains Emma. “They are pivotal to the success of the Community Network Forums. Their role is to be a bridge between the community and their associated leisure venue. They look, listen and advocate for the needs of the community, most often supporting groups that are under-represented.

Belgravia Leisure welcomes ideas and suggestions from the local communities in which they operate to further support our understanding of the local needs and current gaps in programs and services. To provide suggestions or find out more about the Community Network Forums, please contact Emma Lowe via her LinkedIn profile.

To find out more about Belgravia Leisure’s Access and Inclusion initiatives, visit