In 1999, the suburb of Miller in South West Sydney was a community in crisis. Visible drug dealing, petty crime and antisocial behaviour, including an attempted fire-bombing of the community health centre in the town square, led to heightened community fear, media frenzy and the removal of essential health services.
Two intersectoral complex community intervention projects with strong resident involvement were implemented in response to the crisis: Wellbeing in the Valley (1999 to 2002), which focused on Miller, and Community 2168 (1999 – ongoing), which focused on Miller and all seven suburbs within the 2168 postcode.
The Centre for Health Equity Training, Research & Evaluation (CHETRE) has been involved in the mixed-methods evaluation of both projects since their inception and has collated long-term data documenting the successes and challenges in both complex community interventions over time.
In 2010 Liverpool City Council and Community 2168 were successful in obtaining a grant from the Community Services Community Builders Fund. They contracted CHETRE to establish STaR and disseminate learnings from the project through ongoing training and research.