Festival organiser, Unison Housing, is a not-for-profit organisation and the largest Housing Association in Victoria, managing just under 2,600 tenancies and delivering homelessness services in Melbourne’s West to over 3,000 households a year.
Unison’s vision is to create communities that thrive, and our service philosophy puts people and community first. We provide social and affordable housing, and reduce disadvantage and social exclusion for people who have previously been homeless, by helping to create vibrant and sustainable communities around them. We know that housing is a powerful platform. However, housing alone doesn’t end marginalisation and disadvantage. What alleviates disadvantage is connection to things in life that create meaning, and to the wider community.
Unison manages the mixed tenure redevelopment of the former Kensington Public Housing Estate and has coordinated the Festival for 12 years.
The Festival started out in 2008 as a small event initiated by Kensington public housing tenants as part of the Victorian State Government’s Housing Week. The Festival’s aim was to celebrate the diversity within the Kensington redevelopment (a former public housing high-rise estate regenerated into mixed tenure housing) and connect with the broader Kensington community.
Today, the Festival is a stand-alone and much-anticipated community event and a fabulous example of how diverse community connections can achieve great things. It is an excellent example of Unison putting into practice our vision of communities that thrive, along with our local community partners.