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Born from the hearts of local volunteers and fueled by the vision to effect positive change, Community First Step originated as Fairfield Neighbourhood Centre in 1973. Harnessing a dynamic approach to community development, we quickly became a cornerstone resource for locals and neighbouring communities alike.


Over the past five decades, our services have expanded to address the evolving needs of South West Sydney, prioritising the empowerment of the most disadvantaged groups and fostering social connection. Our transformation into Community First Step in 2007 marked a pivotal moment, enabling us to broaden our reach and offer a comprehensive range of services tailored to meet the diverse needs of our community.


Today, we continue to grow and adapt, guided by our unwavering commitment to local capacity building and social inclusion, ensuring that no one is left behind as we collectively shape a better, more equitable future for all.


Discover the impactful ways Community First Step supported the communities of South West Sydney last year:

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Community First Step worked in collaboration with Urbis to measure the value of the community services work we deliver through a Social Impact Analysis.

This analysis found that for every $1 invested in Community First Step’s work, society receives $2.88 in social and economic returns.

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This means that last financial year alone, over $5 million of social benefits were generated through our community services work.

The strength of these outcomes indicate that the community services work delivered by Community First Step is producing significant benefits for the people of South West Sydney and the broader community, helping to shape a better future.

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In collaboration with Community First Step's leadership, a Theory of Change for our community services was developed, outlining long-term outcomes for individual clients, including improved self-determination, financial, social, and emotional wellbeing, and enhanced family functioning.


Additionally, long-term outcomes were identified for the community, including breaking the cycle of inter-generational socio-economic disadvantage and fostering an inclusive and resilient multi-cultural community where everyone has an opportunity to thrive.

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"I felt so isolated when I first came to Australia. It was me and my 3 children… I didn't have any support or know how things worked. Community First Step helped me find a job, talk with the schools, manage money… I met other people like me that I could talk to and got parenting support. They helped me be more confident and find my place here."

- Recently arrived mother


A bespoke, five-step approach has been utilised to identify and measure the social impact of Community First Step’s Community Services. It is based on the development of a Theory of Change, a systematic way of describing and documenting how resources are utilised to deliver services that generate outcomes and impact to address specific problems. Community First Step's data is used to measure the scale of their inputs, activities, and outputs. Given the limited primary data on outcomes, a review of research and evidence was undertaken to link the organisation’s Community Services to the outcomes and impacts identified in the Theory of Change. The final steps involve estimating the scale of outcomes and impact, and where possible, associating financial proxies with these outcomes and impacts. This approach provides a robust measurement of Community First Step's social impact but has limitations.

1. Identifying the impacts: Theory of Change

A Theory of Change was developed with Community First Step's staff to identify the inputs, activities, outputs, outcomes and impact related to Community First Step's Community Services. Outcomes were categorised as short, medium and long-term. Long-term outcomes were then synthesised into individual and community outcomes. The Theory of Change was then cross-checked and refined with reference to Community First Step's funded programs, including Targeted Earlier Intervention.

2. Analysis of Community Services data

Analysis of available input, activities and outputs data on the current level of Community Services activity was undertaken to populate the Theory of Change to understand the scale and nature of Community Service activities.

3. Linking the outcomes and impacts to evidence

Extensive desktop research was undertaken to gather secondary research and evaluation evidence for each identified impact. The evidence reviewed includes academic and grey literature on relevant research and evaluations. This evidence was used to link Community First Step’s activities to the identified outcomes and impacts.

4. Estimating the scale of outcomes and impact

Estimate the scale of outcomes and impacts using available Community First Step data on outputs, data from the Department of Social Services DEX portal; and metrics derived from the research and evidence.

5. Apply financial proxies to outcomes and impact

Data and financial proxies from established measures and publicly available sources were used to translate outcomes and impact into a dollar value. In recognition of the limited primary data available, low, medium and high attribution rates were applied to develop a range of social impact. This range of social impact reduces the risk of over-stating the financial value.


Community First Step has an ambitious vision dedicated to supporting and empowering the communities of Fairfield and South West Sydney.


With your help, we can continue to address personal, social and economic inequity through innovative programs, community development initiatives, and advocacy efforts.


Learn more about our work and ways you can support us. 


Together, we can continue to create impact with heart for the lives of people in Fairfield and South West Sydney.

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