Social Inclusion Week was established in 2009 by Dr Jonathan Welch AM, founder of the original Choir of Hard Knocks, which featured on ABC television and has inspired the formation of street choirs around the world. It encourages communities across Australia to reconnect and be inclusive of all cultures, age groups, nationalities and the disadvantaged.
In 2012, the Social Inclusion Week message is, ‘Collaborate, Connect and Celebrate’, and its focus is on mental health and engaging older Australians.
In addition to grass roots, community-created events, referred to as National Street Parties, there will be a number of national events and activities during the Week.
‘We’ve chosen Empty Fridge as our Focus Book this year because it is not only a very entertaining read for kids and families, but also touches on exactly the values we feel are central to Social Inclusion Week: people coming together and making connections,’ says David Jones, Manager of Social Inclusion Week.
Empty Fridge, written for primary school kids, tells the story of a group of apartment block residents who come home at the end of the day to find that they have hardly anything in their fridges. They bring whatever ingredients they have together to create a meal that inspires the whole neighbourhood.
Kids will be encouraged to read and discuss the book, with schools, families and libraries able to download a free resource kit. Kids can then upload their own creative responses to a special wikispace.
A number of copies of Empty Fridge will also be donated by Australian Rotary to schools across the country, with a portion of the money raised going to help fund the new School of Hard Knocks Institute, established by Dr Welch to provide professional arts, cultural and well-being programs to Australians experiencing homelessness or disadvantage.
‘We love to publish books that encourage kids to think about the world around them and their place in it, so we’re delighted Empty Fridge has been chosen for Social Inclusion Week. We’re looking forward to getting behind this year’s events,’ says Wilkins Farago’s Director, Andrew Wilkins.