Clayton CANVAS

The Clayton CANVAS program was developed in response to Monash Council’s concerns about the impact that poker machines, online gambling and sports betting are having on the Clayton Community.  In 2014-15 this site-based pilot prevention program delivered a range of initiatives and activities across the Clayton community with a particular focus on reaching at-risk groups where they live, work, study and play including:

  • People of Asian backgrounds (especially young people);
  • International Students;
  • Older people experiencing social isolation;
  • People from low socio-economic backgrounds; and
  • Young males who play football and cricket    

 Media release - $205,000 to tackle gambling harm in Clayton

Clayton Canvas Summary Report 1 July 2014 - 30 June 2015 (pdf, 2MB)

Clayton Canvas Presentation - December 2015 (pptx, 24MB)

Clayton CANVAS strives to promote supportive environments to prevent and reduce gambling-related harm amongst its diverse community. The program has also engaged with local short-term loan agencies, sporting clubs, and poker machine venues to address risk factors that may be associated with problem gambling.

Clayton CANVAS is an initiative of Monash Council and is funded by the Victorian Responsible Gambling Foundation (VRGF) as part of their local prevention program across 15 health and community organisations across Victoria.

Monash Council is the only local government to have been awarded a prevention grant. Monash Council was awarded $205,052 to deliver the Clayton CANVAS program between 1 July 2014 and 30 June 2015, and has since received a further $34,032 funding to continue until 1 December 2015.  Clayton CANVAS has recently been invited by VRGF to apply for a further 19 months funding to continue this community strengthening work in Clayton until June 2017.


Why Clayton?

In 2013 Monash Council commissioned municipal-wide research titled ‘Impacts of Problem Gambling in the City of Monash’ which identified the suburb of Clayton as a hot spot for gambling-related harm in Monash.  Clayton has a very high density of poker machines per adult population, nearly twice the Victorian average and has been identified as the most disadvantaged suburb in Monash. More than $16 million was lost in the Clayton community across 4 venues in Clayton and Clayton South in the 2014/15 financial year

View the report Impacts of Problem Gambling in the City of Monash here (pdf, 4MB)

Compared to the rest of Monash  Clayton has the:

  • Largest population of young people aged 18-24 years
  • Highest number of university students
  • Highest percentage of people speaking a language other than English at home (62%)
  • Highest percentage of unemployment (13%); and
  • Lowest medium personal income.


Clayton is a vibrant, inclusive, multicultural and diverse community.. In response to community advice from the Clayton, Clayton South and Clarinda Leadership Group, the Clayton CANVAS program has partnered with Kingston City Council and broadened its geographical scope beyond the suburb of Clayton, to also include Clayton South and Clarinda as part of the ‘Clayton community’. 

Clayton CANVAS has been working in partnership with local community organisations, groups and leaders, Gamblers Help services, youth services, neighbouring councils, Monash University, community health services and local businesses in the planning and delivery of this program. The Monash Mayor and Councillors have also provided extensive support to the Clayton CANVAS program, along with collaborative efforts from various internal departments of Monash Council including Community Planning and Development, Monash Youth and Family Services (MYFS), Active Communities, Positive Ageing, Economic Development, Aged and Community Care and Monash Gallery of Art (MGA).



Launch of Clayton CANVAS program

Stalls at local festivals

Impacts of video games workshop

International student initiatives

Monash Innovators

International Students Leadership Group

Arkadia Youth Event

Activities for Older People



Launch of the Clayton CANVAS program

Monash Mayor Paul Klisaris launched the Clayton CANVAS program on 3 December 2014. More than 80 community members and professionals attended the launch. Serge Sardo, CEO of the Victorian Responsible Gambling Foundation, also spoke.

Stalls at the Clayton Festival, the Clayton Multicultural Festival and the Chinese Festival

Engaging community members in conversation about gambling-related harm in the Clayton community.

Impacts of video games workshop

The purpose of this workshop was to build the capacity of professionals working with young people to respond to the links between mental health, video gaming and gambling.

More than 35 youth practitioners in Monash attended the workshop in February 2015 representing a range of diverse agencies including Monash Youth and Family Services (MYFS), Monash University, Link Health and Community, Victoria Police and Headspace. The fworkshop was facilitated by the Founder and Manager of and was supported by a key note speaker from Gamblers Help Eastern/EACH.

International student initiatives

 A strategic partnership with Monash University was formed to develop innovative work experience opportunities for international students. The following initiatives were delivered:

Monash Innovators

In May 2015 Clayton CANVAS partnered with Monash University to deliver the ‘Monash Innovators’ program to 30 international students who all live, play and study on or near the Clayton campus. 

This initiative offered these international students the opportunity to gain professional volunteer experience with Monash Council and apply their skills and creativity through a team challenge. 

Research has found that international students are vulnerable to gambling-related harm in Australia.

The Monash Innovators initiative aimed to: 

  • Educate local international students and staff about the risks of gambling harm amongst international students
  • Connect local international students to local services
  • Engage local international students to develop innovative solution to preventing  gambling-related harm amongst international students in Clayton.
  • Engage local agencies to discover local responses to gambling harm amongst international students

Experts in the gambling field including Gamblers Help Eastern and Chinese Gambling Concern Inc and leading gambling academic Dr Charles Livingstone spoke to the students about the risk and protective factors and opportunities for action on this issue.  The students also took part in an interactive session to develop their own innovative idea for preventing gambling-related harm amongst local international students.   

On  8 May Monash Mayor Paul Klisaris opened the Monash Innovators presentation evening at Monash Gallery of Art.  Audience members heard the students present innovative, evidence-based ideas for responding to gambling-related harm amongst international students in Monash. Vladimir A Prpich, Executive Director, Campus Community, Monash University provided a welcome along with Dr Charles Livingstone, Academic and Researcher at Monash University. Serge Sardo, the CEO of the Victorian Responsible Gambling Foundation was a panel judge on the night and provided positive and encouraging feedback about the student’s ideas.  Community agencies and leaders present on the night were encouraged to harness these ideas in future collaboration.

This Clayton CANVAS initiative was supported by Monash University, Gamblers Help Eastern/EACH and Chinese Gambling Concern Inc and is just one of the Clayton CANVAS initiatives which have contributed to preventing and reducing gambling harm in the Clayton community. 

International Students Leadership Group

International students are one of many groups vulnerable to developing gambling problems, not least because of social isolation. As well as being home to a number of these vulnerable communities, Monash has the second highest concentration of pokies in Victoria.

The leadership group is one of several Clayton CANVAS activities aimed to reduce social isolation among young international students.

The group is designed to help participants both connect with the local community and become more aware of the risks of gambling, all within the context of volunteer work experience. 

Monash Youth and Family Services (MYFS) facilitated an 11 week leadership group which engaged 15 international students aged between 17-25 years who all live, play and study in Monash.

The students were responsible for planning, developing and faciliting a community video gaming event, Arkadia 2K15.

Arkadia Youth Event

On 15 May 2015, the Clayton Canvas International Student Leadership Group presented Arcadia 2K15 to the community. The Monash Youth and Family Services (MYFS) area at Clayton Community Centre was buzzing with families, children and teenagers playing video and board games together.  More than 300 people with of all ages, cultures and locations within attended. The parent forum presented by Steven Dupon from the Institute of Games gave a small group of concerned parents the opportunity to learn and discuss the current issues around video games in the home.   MYFS staff and the International Student Leadership Group were able to educate the community whilst providing alternatives to gaming in a youth and family friendly, free and healthy community environment.  This Clayton CANVAS initiative, facilitated by MYFS was  supported by the City of Kingston, Monash University and Gamblers Help Eastern/EACH. 

Activities for Older People

The Autumn Nights event was held in May 2015 and offered a safe social evening out for older people in Clayton. More than 220 people took part in the safe, social evening activities.

Four events were held - a "Mamma Mia" Ladies night (viewing the film "Mamma Mia"); a Mystery Chinese film screening; "The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel" movie screening and a food and fun night featuring pizza making, dance and pottery class

The event proved so popular that a second Spring Nights event has been planned for September and November.

Please view the Spring Nights flyer here (pdf, 259KB)

  • Film and Food night – Wednesday 23 September, 5pm – 8pm, Clayton Community Centre viewing "The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel" (PG – rated) - $5 includes film and food
  • Twilight activities in the park – Thursday 12 November, 5pm – 8pm, Namatjira Park, Clayton South - FREE

Bookings are essential by calling 9518 3555 or emailing

Short Term Loan Agencies engagement

A formalised group of organisations and services has been formed to investigate engagement strategies with local short-term loan agencies and their role in the community.

Poker Machine Venues locally specific training

A forum has been developed for local venues highlighting increased gambling risks to Culturally and Linguistically Diverse (CALD) communities


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Last updated: 11 October 2016