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Virtual Event Virtual Event

NSW NGO Researchers Forum 2023

March 30 @ 1:00 pm - 2:30 pm

Virtual Event Virtual Event


The NGO Researchers Forum is a non-formal gathering of not-for-profit organisations in New South Wales. It aims to provide a space for knowledge exchange, debate and dialogue between NGO researchers and relevant work partners (including people with lived experience, the broader community sector, community members and academics).

The forum aims to follow a Community-Led Research approach.

  • For history, objectives and meeting guidelines - please read ABOUT NSW NGO RESEARCHERS FORUM
  • To receive agendas, updates and virtual meeting links - please scroll down below and send an RSVP.

You can send an Expression of Interest (EOIs) to present a research-informed initiative at any time.

Keen to speak about learnings or ideas from a completed or ongoing research initiative?  Please send a simple expression of interest through the NGO Researchers Forum EOI form.

Meeting dates in 2023

Thursdays, 1:00-2:30 pm (online) on 30 March, 22 June, 24 August and 26 October.

To register

Please scroll down the page and read "how to register" , then click RSVP. Thank you.

Agenda for 30 March 2023

Organised Collaboration: how various NGOs supported the needs and aspirations of international students at the height of COVID-19.

Mark Riboldi - The University of Sydney

Research Lead, Sydney Policy Lab’s ‘Strengthening Australian Civil Society’ Research Team, 2020-2022.

A crucial feature of Australia’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic was the response of civil society.

To support the sector and communities, the Sydney Policy Lab at the University of Sydney and the Paul Ramsay Foundation sought to understand “how do for-purpose organisations respond to the needs of people and communities?” and “how can they be supported to strengthen their practice, rising to social and environmental challenges as they unfold”?

In this presentation, Mark will highlight the creation of the Oz International Student Hub (the first international student hub that is led and organised by international students), at the height of the pandemic.

This occurred within the context of Sydney Policy Lab’s research that engaged over a hundred civil society leaders across the country through a series of reflective interviews and focus groups between June 2020 and July 2021.

This case is just one of many stories that surfaced, as captured in the 2022 Report, Nurturing Links Across Civil Society – lessons from Australia’s for-purpose sector’s response to COVID-19.

Recovery Camp: Evidence on the efficacy of a collaborative psychosocial intervention program for people with mental illness.

Professor Lorna Moxham ACMHN- Co-founder, Recovery Camp and Professor of Mental Health Nursing, University of Wollongong

Dr Christopher Patterson- Co-Founder & Director, Recovery Camp and Senior Lecturer, University of Wollongong

Since 2013, Recovery Camp has had a profound impact on the well-being and recovery experience of people with a mental illness. They now have a family of over 600 people who have attended camp for their own mental health recovery.

At the same time, the program has provided over 1100 health students (nursing, psychology, exercise science, nutrition, and dietetic students) with over 88,000 hours of mental health professional experience placement.

Each Recovery Camp is designed to be a collaborative undertaking where health students and people with a mental illness contribute in equal measure to the experience.

In this presentation, the evidence for the effectiveness of their program approach and program features will be discussed.

Carer Knowledge Exchange: Connecting carer-related research to practice.

Joanne Kershaw – Sector Engagement Officer, Carers NSW

Sarah Judd-Lam - Executive Manager, Policy Development and Research, Carers NSW

The Carer Knowledge Exchange is a partnership project between Carers NSW and the Institute for Public Policy and Governance at the University of Technology Sydney, proudly funded by the NSW Government. It brings together carers, researchers, students, decision makers, professionals and service providers to share their knowledge about carers and learn from each other, with the aim of improving outcomes for carers across Australia.

The Carer Knowledge Exchange features an online research library, a range of opportunities (both online and in person) to connect and share knowledge, and a diverse national network and several communities of practice.

This session will share the purpose, achievements and findings of the project. It will also share how the community sector can share their own research, participate in events and communities of practice, and use the many carer resources that are available for researchers, policy makers, practitioners and carers. 

Info share Use Chat to share links, files, photos, project descriptions.

Recording and resources from 25 August 2022 forum

If you missed attending, simply scroll to 'MEETING RESULTS' down below, and click on the link to view a recording of the meeting, as well as resources shared by attendees.

Thank you Ellis, Carrie and Laura for the richly informative presentations. I was NUDGED to think about INVOLVEMENT, and ETHICAL and SAFE research. Great discussion and emerging areas for future sessions.  - attendee feedback from 25 August

Agenda for 25 August forum (COMPLETED)

Please click on Agenda NGO Researchers Forum 25 August 2022 to view timing details and speakers.

Using ‘Nudge Theory’ to deliver evidence-based program improvements - Bridge Housing

In the busy world of delivering community services, staff are often quick to jump into action when a problem arises. But when it comes to addressing complex policy and practice problems, this tendency to launch straight to solutions can hinder critical analysis and may lead to interventions based on assumptions rather than evidence. Bridge Housing has been using nudge theory as a framework to deliver evidence-based program improvements, which in turn deliver better outcomes for tenants and a better experience for staff. This presentation will cover how Bridge Housing has used Nudge to drive improvement in approaches towards inspections, rent review and rental debt.

Building capacity of health consumers and researchers to support consumer involvement in health research: Are we there yet? - Health Consumers NSW

Since 2019, Health Consumers NSW has been working in partnership with Sydney Health Partners to create an ecosystem to support researchers and consumers to be involved in health and medical research.

This presentation will report on the findings of this work. It will also give simple practical examples of how to create and build these partnerships, as well as share some of the resources and tools that have been developed to support collaborations between researchers and health consumers. The presentation will also reflect on the lessons learnt, and pose questions for how to foster involvement and collaboration between health consumers, researchers and non-government organisations.

Understanding the support system for survivors of institutional child sexual abuse: A small-scale qualitative study of community and legal practitioners in Greater Western Sydney (GWS)  WESTIR Ltd

In 2021, WESTIR did a qualitative study among 21 practitioners in GWS, to understand the system of support for survivors of institutional child sexual abuse. The research highlighted the challenges, gaps, and potentials within the support system. WESTIR's research report and accompanying background report were published in December 2021. In this session, WESTIR will highlight the research process and key findings. The presentation may be of greatest interest to those seeking to conduct qualitative research, as well as services supporting children and trauma survivors.

Recording and resources from April and June 2022 meetings

If you missed attending, simply scroll to 'MEETING RESULTS' down below, and click on the links to view a recording of the meeting, as well as other resources.

Three equally informative and interesting presentations. Thank you for the generous sharing of your co-design journeys. Helpful resources too. A wonderfully facilitated session. - feedback from 28 April

Thank you to all presenters today for sharing your enactment of design and leadership with those with lived experience. Such valuable learning and inspiration. Congratulations to you all for your work. - feedback from 23 June

UPDATE, 11 April 2022


Please click on Agenda NGO Researchers Forum April and June 2022 to view the detailed schedule for both dates, as well as specific speakers.

Completed- Thursday 28 April, 10:00-11:30 am (part 1)

Aboriginal-led Co-design of the Aboriginal Guardianship Support Model for Better Outcomes - AbSec 

The Aboriginal Guardianship Support Model was the lead project under AbSec’s Aboriginal Commissioning Framework, a strategic approach to achieve better Aboriginal child and family outcomes.  Co-designers included end-service users and their family at the core of the service design, Aboriginal community members, service practitioners, government and funding body representatives.

Redkite’s Lived Experience Advisory Group (LEAG) 

In 2020, Redkite created its first Lived Experience Advisory Group (LEAG). It was made up of eight Redkite clients (including mothers whose child has or had cancer and young people living with cancer), from four different states across Australia.

The most important thing I will say about co-design is that it’s a term used with increasing frequency and yet it’s often mistaken for consultation, which it isn’t. It’s shared power, not (merely) checking in or consulting with consumers.- Redkite speaker

A Collaborative  Emergency Toolkit- Meals On Wheels (MOW) NSW - Eurobodalla Meals On Wheels & NSW Meals On Wheels

A Collaborative Toolkit (ACT!) was a partnership in 2018-2020 between Meals On Wheels NSW, NSW Rural Fire Service, Fire and Rescue NSW, SES and Red Cross. A co-designed toolkit was developed, aimed to increase the preparedness of vulnerable clients who live in high-risk areas in the face of increasing and more severe natural disasters. Gail will give an overview of the project, while Allan will provide a regional perspective on the level and components of co-design (including trialling in 6 MOW sites) that went into the toolkit.

Completed- Thursday 23 June, 10:00-11:30 am (part 2)

True co-design is courageous, visionary, honest and reformative - Flourish Australia,  Inclusion team

Through a deep co-design process, Flourish Australia developed co-design principles, accountabilities, guidelines and supporting policies to promote individual recovery pathways and opportunities that foster Social Citizenship. The Co-design Working Group conceived of 13 accountabilities. Co-Design Accountability 8 (which is brave, visionary and deeply inclusive) states: Co-design processes and outcomes must have a local focus but be aware and respecting of regional, national, global, intergalactic, all other dimensions, unique views, beliefs and realities. This presentation will discuss the need and reasons for including and promoting this accountability, and challenge & encourage services to engage in this level of co-design and co-production of services.

Behind the scenes project: Co-designing a strategy for supporting people with co-occurring mental health and alcohol use needs. - Flourish Australia, Professional Practice team

‘Behind the Scenes’ was a co-designed research project aimed at supporting people with co-occurring mental health and alcohol use needs. The lived expertise from committee members guided the approaches to the research, particularly with regard to ethics, recruitment, data collection and analysis. The project team met regularly to discuss scenarios and issues that arose as the project rolled out and as COVID presented many challenges. A key learning from the project was that the co-design approach led to opportunities for introducing and upskilling members of Flourish’s Community Research Advisory.

‘Head to Health’ and the voice of lived experience - Neami National

Neami is actively embedding the voice and leadership of Lived Experience in its staffing mix, governance structure and Philosophy of Care for each Head to Health service. This presentation will speak about phase one of Penrith ‘Head to Health’ co-design which included three online co-design workshops, a consultation session with the Nepean Blue Mountains Primary Health Network’s Lived Experience Advisory Group, two individual phone conversations, and five written feedback. In total, 21 people with a lived experience of recovery, or their carers or family, and 16 agency stakeholders (mental health professionals, support services and first responders) from the Penrith area were engaged. Read the Penrith Head to Health Co-Design Report here.

Co-design and Peer Support - The power of lived experience researchers - Community Disability Alliance Hunter (CDAH) and Diversity and Disability Alliance (DDAlliance) 

CDAH) and Diversity and DDAlliance are peer-led organisations, run by people with disability for people with disability, with over 400 peer members. "Our peers are people with disability who provide a wide range of peer support to people across Sydney and NSW. We foster diversity and inclusion of people reflecting the social model of disability. Both organisations are driven by the principle 'Nothing about us, without us', a central tenet of the disability rights movement."

In 2020, CDAH and DDAlliance commenced a research project exploring the challenges and benefits of peer support with a team of eight lived experience researchers with ethics approval through the University of Newcastle. The research is being undertaken across Sydney and NSW, and commenced in April 2021 and will be completed in March 2023.

2022 forum dates 

Meetings were held on fourth Thursdays bi-monthly at 10:00 -11:30 am: 28 April, 23 June, 25 August and 27 October. 

MEETING RESULTS (notes, publicly-available recordings & resources)

9 March 2022



Meeting Notes (CLICK)

28 April 2022


Video recording: Co-Design (28 April meeting)

Aboriginal-led Community Co-Design: Commissioning for better Aboriginal child and family outcomes (Carla Ware/AbSec, pdf)

Resources shared by meeting participants:

Innovation in Action: Aboriginal-led Commissioning (John Leha, AbSec 

Engaging with Children and Adolescents: A Systematic Review of Participatory Methods and Approaches in Research Informing the Development of Health Resources and Interventions

Remuneration and reimbursement of health consumers: Health Consumers NSW position statement

Monash Partners Remuneration and Reimbursement Guidelines Consumer and Community Involvement Activity

NSW Meals on Wheels: Strengthening the emergency preparedness of vulnerable older people

Pre-meeting documents:

Agenda/program, NGO RF 28 April

Call out for presentations (22 March)

23 June 2022 NGO EXPERIENCES WITH CO-DESIGN IN RESEARCH & PRACTICE, part 2 Agenda/program, NGO RF 23 June

Part 1 video recording, Co-Design (23 June meeting)

Part 2 video recording, Co-Design (23 June meeting)

CHAT BOX-NGO Researchers Forum 23 June 2022 (de-identified)

25 August 2022

various themes

Agenda/program, NGO RF 25 August

Video recording, NGO Researchers Forum 25/08/22

'Piano stairs' video demonstrating Nudge (Fun) Theory

27 October Cancelled. See you in 2023!

How to register

This forum is designed for NGO community organisations and relevant research partners/work colleagues in New South Wales. It is free to attend, but registration is required.

  • By registering, you agree to be on the NGO Researchers Forum updated mail list.
  • You may opt out of the mail list at any time by emailing (ATTN: NGO Researchers Forum).
  • Please scroll down the page and click on the RSVP button.
  • Registration is one-off. Previous registrants (2022 dates) need not register again.

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March 30
1:00 pm - 2:30 pm
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