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Docklander - February 2014

11 Feb 2014

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Community a priority for Andrew

Andrew Ward could arguably be described as Docklands’ most community-minded worker.

He’s worked in Docklands for the past three years as manager of YMCA Victoria Point and ANZ Centre and, in that time, has become involved in the local community.

Prior to working in Docklands, Mr Ward spent 15 years living in Hong Kong and working in an executive role in the health and fitness industry. Upon returning to Australia he was keen to take on a more people-focused role.

“I was attracted to working in Docklands because of the emerging community,” Mr Ward said.

Over the past three years he has introduced a range of initiates at YMCA Docklands including a riverbank clean-up program, a health and wellbeing service for asylum seekers and has forged partnerships several charities to provide fitness programs for people suffering disadvantage.

This year he hopes to continue to introduce initiatives at the YMCA and hopes to provide opportunities for Docklanders to get involved and offer support themselves.

Mr Ward also represents Docklands workers on the Docklands Community Forum representative group, providing a voice for the working cohort.

Mr Ward thinks the forum is a great initiative and has the potential to continue to make positive contributions to Docklands.

However, he said there should be a stronger involvement and greater representation of people who have made a long-term commitment to living in Docklands.

“Maybe what needs to happen in the future is that people who live and invest here have a stronger voice,” Mr Ward said. “Even my voice is the voice of a worker.”

In addition to the forum, Mr Ward thinks Docklands has plenty going for it, describing it as accessible, modern and active.

“I like the active nature of Docklands. People like to get out, they like to run, they like to ride their bikes to work,” he said.

He said the multi-purpose sports courts, which opened last year, have been great way of coaxing people out of their offices and creating a dynamic, community space.

According to Mr Ward, Docklands is also a very friendly place.

“When you walk around the CBD I think people are much more inclined to keep their head down, they don’t interact, they don’t talk. Whereas down here people are out and about and interacting.”

“That young professional, corporate environment is really alive.”

And as for those who knock Docklands because of the somewhat erratic weather? For Mr Ward it’s all part of the package.

“The weather is part of Docklands’ personality,” he said.

“People talk about Melbourne having four seasons in one day, well Docklands can have six.”

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