Increasing impact and relevance

How the Western Bulldogs Community Foundation used co-design to help increase the impact of their Sons of the West program

In February 2019 the Australia Post Social Design team supported the Western Bulldogs Health and Wellbeing team to run a co-design session with participants of their Sons of the West program to identify practical ideas to improve the program’s value and impact.

The Health and Wellbeing team wanted to understand the health needs, habits and real-life factors that impact men’s health from the perspective of the participants to help shape the 2019 program.

A free 10-week program, Sons of the West helps men from all walks of life learn skills and build connections to help them improve their health and wellbeing. Now in its sixth year, the program provides education, physical activity and the opportunity to socialise with other men in similar situations.

With an increasing focus on social issues including violence against women and social inclusion, the Health and Wellbeing team wanted to complement their existing evaluation methods with co-design.

Using the ‘how to structure a co-design’ guide, the Health and Wellbeing team scoped out a two-hour group co-design session that would bring together 10 men to share their perspective, thoughts, opinions and ideas on a range of men’s health issues.

The co-design session took place in March 2019 where the men participated in a number of activities, as informed by the ‘activities to generate ideas’ guide, including the use of cards to help communicate and prioritise their needs and their drawing skills to sketch up ideas.

In addition to the practical ideas generated by this activity to influence and improve their programs, the Health and Wellbeing team observed the positive power of sharing information amongst peers, and gained a better understanding of the real life complexities surrounding men’s health issues.

The Health and Wellbeing team’s practical use of the Community Design Resources has also helped upskill them as both individuals and as a team to be able to apply the resources to a number of future programs, and helped enabled them to lead the way in their community about the benefits of this way of working.

To find out more about the health and wellbeing programs run by the Western Bulldogs Community Foundation and how to get involved, visit