The Ballarat Social Innovators Program in 2021 saw 140 students from across Ballarat come together to create bold, innovative and inspiring ideas focused on enriching the lives of the people around them.

Ballarat Social Innovators

The program, led by Crazy Ideas College, generated a host of activity and impact across three phases: equipping young people with the tools and guidance to generate ideas; connecting them with community partners who can help them bring their ideas to life; and sharing the ideas of our young innovators extensively to a wider audience.

Year 7, 8, 9 & VCAL students from Mount Rowan Secondary College, Ballarat Grammar, Federation College, Yuille Park Community College, and St Patrick’s College worked in teams to develop their ideas, finding novel and transformative ways to foster mental health and wellbeing, strengthen community connections, promote care for the environment, and reimagine learning.

The teams then pitched these ideas to 16 community partners, who provided extensive feedback to our teams and helped connect them with the best people to aid bringing their ideas to life.

The community partners included Integra, Ballarat Community Health, Ballarat Health Services, Suggest it, Ballarat Tech School, Tag Health and more.

Of the 33 ideas developed, 9 are being brought to life, with two teams even receiving local funding, including one team who received a $10,000 grant from Midsumma Festival to run a pride festival in Ballarat, creating a safe space for members of the LGBTQIA+ community. 

The program was enabled with the support of Integra, Ballarat Tech School, Selkirk Bricks, RSM Ballarat and The Committee for Ballarat.

'As a strong believer in the value of community, Integra Group clearly see the benefit in supporting a program that aims to achieve positive outcomes for our young people. Delivering the program in a way that connects youth to industry and leaders in our community, we see genuine value for all the students involved. Integra benefit as an organisation by being able to follow and champion that journey, sharing it with our own staff and the wider community. Congratulations to the Crazy Ideas Team, we can’t wait to see what comes next.'

Matt McCabe

General Manager, Integra Group

“I would describe this CIC Social Innovators program as very exciting. I felt like I had a voice in this situation where I don't normally. It is just quite different from a normal day of school. I will definitely be using these learnings in the future.”

Lauren, Year 9 Student

Paper Seed Bags

The launch of Beyond: By Ballarat following the program celebrated the ideas and stories of our young innovators, by taking the ideas to the people of Ballarat and beyond. Idea posters filled shop windows, adorned the footpath in key locations, and were part of a social media campaign highlighting how people could support these ideas. This, alongside 12+ pieces in local media celebrating these ideas, ensured the creativity and ingenuity of our young people was shared extensively.

Some brilliant and clever ideas that are being brought to life in Ballarat include:

Teaching Tech
A program where students visit retirement homes to educate the elderly about technology, teaching residents the tech basics they need to connect with family and friends on their phones and online.

Passion Program
Passion Program taps into the diverse range of skills and talents within the community. Using an app to facilitate the connection process, this program uses a mentor-mentee design to build connections and make friends, with people who have similar (and often unique) hobbies and passions to one another, for example puppetry or pottery.

Paper Seed Bags

To combat the use of single-use plastics, the team developed compostable fruit and veggie bags embedded with seeds. After the bag breaks down, the seeds will germinate and grow into fruit and veggie plants. This team also won the inaugural Alfredton Rotary Environmental Challenge and received a $400 prize.

Dangerous Animals Podcast

A podcast that seeks to change the perception of “dangerous animals” such as snakes, spiders and sharks, sharing stories of the animals that foster respect rather than fear, while educating people on the benefits the animals have on our ecosystems.

“I know the students have progressed as independent learners. It has really opened their eyes as to what is happening around them.” 

- Dan Guerin, Design Tech Teacher

Mount Rowan Secondary College