Grassroots Placemakers is a not-for-profit company designed to employ, support and train community-based placemakers in the growth corridors around Melbourne, and in community hubs and care facilities.

While placemaking and community building efforts are encouraged and valued by most developers and local authorities, much of the community work is taken on by people who do not live in the neighborhood. Our placemakers are committed to being invested members of the community. They live alongside the people in the target neighbourhood and experience all the challenges and joys that place has to offer. This gives them a pronounced advantage.  They constantly take the pulse of the community and know what is most wanted and needed.  It also allows for initiatives to emerge from the ground up rather than imposed from well meaning outsiders. This is grassroots placemaking.

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What do placemakers do?

Placemakers cultivate neighbourliness and community.  Developers and governments are increasingly aware a neighbourhood is more than the built environment.  An enriched, healthy, safe, and fun place to live will always involve connected neighbours.  That’s where we come in.  Through genuine concern, rigorous research, and careful planning our placemakers create opportunities for neighbours to know and trust one another.  This means sharing streets, footpaths, and parks.  It also means keeping an eye out for one another and as well as allowing each person to find their place in neighbourhood.  There are no obligations for residents to be involved at any level, just opportunities to belong and feel good about the place where they live.

How we do it

In Situ– our placemakers live alongside the people in the neighbourhood and experience all the challenges and joys that place has to offer.

Our framework is asset based Community Development which empowers local residents to create their preferred futures.

In partnership with local residents we will:

  • Employ, support and train community-based placemakers to create public spaces that promote the health, happiness and well-being of individuals in particular localities across the State of Victoria
  • Provide skills training for local people experiencing unemployment to improve their chances of employment
  • Facilitate and provide community meals in localities to feed those in need
  • Develop and encourage community gardens in localities to promote interactions that connect people and address loneliness, isolation, dislocation, poverty and social exclusion
  • Address isolation and loneliness through positive use of places in local communities and through engaging residents in localities
  • Promote multicultural understanding and integration through promoting interactions in local communities
  • Address food insecurity issues of people experiencing poverty in localities by providing access to food preparation skills
  • Provide employment and training services for unemployed people in localities
  • Connect people in need of welfare and socialisation to community hubs and facilities, especially those individuals that are unemployed or marginalised, enabling them to achieve a sense of belonging to the community
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Jono headshot

Place Manager: Jono Ingram

Jono’s primary role is placemaking in the new Woodlea Estate in the suburb of Aintree, in Melbourne’s North West growth corridor. Jono’s experience has been in small rural communities and regional centres which has seen him work with youth and families in public housing estates, primary schools and football clubs in areas of welfare and wellbeing, and in the development of community gardens. Jono’s interest in community gardens and urban farming has displayed itself in a desire to see communities play a vital role in producing their own local, fresh produce in a sustainable way. This has seen initiatives such as local neighbourhood food and swaps, and the development of seasonal vegetable stalls from community gardens and growing spaces.

Jono’s key responsibilities at Aintree involve:

  • Listening to and empowering the local community
  • Co-ordinating and programming the Aintree Community Garden with working bees, educational workshops, and market stalls
  • Facilitating the Neighbourhood Pizza Nights and other events at the Aintree Community Garden
  • Facilitating and supporting neighbourhood initiatives, such as a Neighbourhood Association, playgroups, new business, community events & initiates
  • Supporting local sporting initiatives, such as new sports clubs, activation of playing surfaces, development of junior sport such as Auskick and Milo Cricket
  • Supporting Woodlea Community Development team



Place Manager: Simon Reeves

Grassroots Placemakers partners with Norlane Community Initiatives by supporting Simon to coordinate and integrate many placemaking opportunities including:

  • the community garden and workshop at Coasthaven
  • Unearthed Community Leadership Training Program
  • Peoples Pantry Cooperative (55 members in the cooperative)

Kaylene Reeves manages the social enterprise Cafe The Aviary at the Coasthaven hub.


Placemaker: Caz Coleman (interim)

The Swan Court Placemaker assists:

  • Tenants with applications to access Government/medical services which helps reduce stress levels by explaining complicated processes.
  • Elderly tenants with transport, accompanying them to medical appointments, enabling a tenant to remain independent in their own home for longer and feel supported.
  • Organise communal BBQ’s, Morning & Afternoon Tea’s at the communal pavilion, named by tenants as “The Shed” and celebrate special days eg. Australia Day, to encourage social inclusion and overcome loneliness.
  • Celebrate significant events, eg. tenant’s birthdays and anniversaries
  • Assist elderly tenants with IT related issues.
  • Provide opportunities to use talents and abilities eg. Community garden, so that tenants gain a sense of fulfilment and self-worth.


Grassroots is currently developing a plan in partnership with Now and Not Yet to deliver placemaking initiatives with Mirvac at Olivine… stay tuned!


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General Manager

Brent LL Headshot

Brent Lyons-Lee

Brent has almost 20 years of community development and placemaking experience. He has an Honours degree in Social Science and has recently studied Urban Design at Deakin University. Brent spent significant time with Urban Seed pioneering and managing social inclusion projects and social enterprise initiatives in areas of generational poverty.

Contact Grassroots Placemakers directly through Brent at


Grassroots Placemakers is owned by the Baptist Union of Victoria. The work undertaken with developers takes place as the BUV ‘trading as Grassroots Placemakers’. Our work with Baptcare is undertaken through Grassroots Placemakers Ltd which is a registered Public Benevolent Institution. The Directors of this company are Union Council members of the Baptist Union of Victoria.

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