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Celebrating 50 Years: Continuing the Journey of Supporting, Empowering, and Creating Opportunities for the communities of South West Sydney  

On 27 March 2024, Community First Step celebrated 50 years of service and dedication to the communities of Fairfield and South West Sydney with a special community celebration at the Casula Powerhouse Arts Museum. Led by former world no. 4 tennis player Jelena Dokic, the event served as a reflection of the collective efforts and enduring commitment that have shaped our organisation's legacy. 

Our sincere appreciation goes to all our wonderful guests who joined us – from schools, universities, TAFE, health, police, and government, to our Community First Step team members past and present, founding members, and other like-minded not-for-profit colleagues – all uniting under our common goal of supporting and empowering the diverse communities we serve. 


Opening with a captivating lion dance and closing with Arabic drummers and dancers, the evening reflected our dedication to celebrating diversity and inclusivity and emphasised the essence of Community First Step's mission.  


Our speakers delivered messages that resonated deeply with the audience. Community First Step’s CEO, Pandora Patterson, shared key insights highlighting the impactful social return on investment of Community First Step’s work, and our commitment to breaking the cycle of personal, economic and social disadvantage, creating an inclusive and resilient multicultural community where everyone has an opportunity to thrive. 

Chair Helen Wilson traced back the history of our organisation, recounting our journey from the Fairfield Community Council for Social Development to Community First Step. Throughout this progression, our organisation has consistently risen to challenges and effectively addressed the evolving needs of the community. 

We were privileged to hear a powerful testimony of resilience from one of our clients, showcasing the profound impact of our services on individual lives. Insights shared by David Saliba, MP for Fairfield, and Marie Saliba, Councillor at Fairfield City Council, reinforced the importance of collaborative efforts in driving positive change.

Jelena Dokic, our Master of Ceremonies, shared her inspiring journey of triumph over adversity, including growing up in Fairfield amidst poverty, domestic violence, bullying, racism, mental health challenges, and struggles with body image. Through her compelling story, she exemplified the resilience and determination that define our organisation's ethos. 


Reflecting on the past 50 years, we are filled with gratitude for the support and dedication of our team members, volunteers, community partners, and supporters. Their contributions and continued commitment have been instrumental in realising our mission of promoting equity and supporting thriving livelihoods for the communities of South West Sydney. We also extend our sincere gratitude to everyone who participated in our 50th Anniversary Key Raffle. Thank you for your generous contributions and congratulations to the lucky winners! 


As we celebrate this milestone, we reaffirm our commitment to supporting and empowering the diverse communities of Fairfield and South West Sydney with renewed passion, purpose, and dedication. 


During the evening, we also distributed our ‘50 Years of Creating Impact with Heart’ brochure, which included the findings of a Social Impact Analysis conducted in collaboration with Urbis to measure the value of the community services work we deliver. Click here to download the brochure.

Journey through the significant milestones of our history, spanning over half a century, in our '50 Years in 50 Seconds' video.

If you would like to learn more about our work and ways you can engage with Community First Step, we encourage you to visit our Get Involved page where you can explore opportunities to volunteer, donate, or contribute in other meaningful ways. With your support, we can continue to address personal, social, and economic inequity through our innovative programs, community development initiatives, and advocacy efforts, ensuring lasting impact.

Here's a collection of photos from the evening. Enjoy!

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