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CE's Blog 4

2017 here we come!

We concluded 2016 having expanded our clinical psychology services to include the new Links to Wellbeing, growing our consumer numbers in our disability support services, and achieving a solid performance in the Torrensville Child & Family Centre.


We demonstrated improvement across all aspects of our of Results Based Accountability implementation with greater than 78% of staff who participated in the evaluation indicating that they agree or strongly agree that they have a good understanding of RBA, they see its benefit and they know what is expected of them in the data collection process.


In partnership with Together SA our Collective Impact initiatives in the inner north and inner west of Adelaide progressed positively and steadily. The focus of each being defined as: improving outcomes for children and young people living in these areas. Planning is now underway by community and agencies to align their activity to achieve this goal.


The government notified us in December of their plans to extend funding in our Child and Family Mental Health services, Inner Southern Homeless Services, Open Door, Foodies and Utilities Literacy and respite programs. These extensions enable us to continue to consolidate our expertise in these areas and, over the coming months progress our strategies to secure long term resourcing of these programmes. To add to this we also gained approval by the board of directors to take our plans forward; to build our aged and disability services.


We are starting 2017 on solid ground, we have a clear direction, we know what we have to do and we have the resources we need to take things forward. All reasons to be optimistic!

 

Fiona Kelly Signature

Fiona Kelly
A/Chief Executive

18-1-17

CE's Blog 3

Volunteers: Did you know that?

A study by Lisel O'Dwyer of Flinders University estimated that across Australia volunteers contribute $290 billion a year to the economy1 .
Australian volunteers provide 623 million hours of work per year to not for profit organisations2.

Other research shows:

That just a few hours of volunteering work makes a positive difference to the volunteer's happiness and mood and, ongoing volunteering is associated with better mental health.

The people who benefit from the work of volunteers have a better quality of life through the support and assistance they receive3.

To quote Lisel O'Dwyer "Volunteers tend to be fitter, healthier and, have greater social connections which produces general goodwill and, flow-on effects for government – there is greater community wellbeing".

To add to this volunteering as a child and teenager helps young people develop empathy and compassion. This includes an increased understanding of how they fit into society and, how they can help to resolve societal problems5. It leads to adults with an understanding citizenship and civic duty 6. 

Volunteers at UCWB

In twelve months, 163 volunteers worked in our Open Door, Foodies, Community Visitors / Community Links Programmes, Torrensville Child & Family Centre and Corporate Services.

By my conservative estimate, these volunteers provided 9,082 hours of service.

They assisted:

  • 1,496 clients in need of emergency relief
  • 5,122 people to understand the importance of nutrition and diet to physical and mental wellbeing
  • 150 isolated elderly people to stay connected to the community
  • 140 children to benefit from an environment that is safe and which enables them to grow and develop well

 

This is phenomenal!!

bullets6,908 people have benefited in some way from contact with these volunteers. At an organisational level these are people and activities that we may otherwise not have been able to deliver. The impact of this on the individual recipient, the community and, to UCWB is almost immeasurable. Our volunteers truly are unsung heroes.

I am extremely grateful for the work that our volunteers do. I would encourage you to give some thought to the value that they bring to the work of your teams, the community and to UCWB. When you get the chance please take the time to say thank you and to tell them what difference their generosity makes to your clients and your work.

I also want to commend those of you who volunteer in whatever capacity that may be.... coaching your child's netball team...working in the canteen...giving your time through your church, mosque, community club....helping out an elderly neighbour or young family......Don't underestimate the difference it makes and how much it contributes to shaping the type of community that we want to live in!

Fiona Kelly Signature

Fiona Kelly
A/Chief Executive

24-11-16

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1 Segbedzi, T, (2015). Information Sheet - Key Facts and Statistics about Volunteering in Australia.  Volunteering Australia
2 Segbedzi (2015)
3 Borgovine, F (2008). Doing well by doing good.  The relationship between formal volunteering and self-reported health and happiness. Social Science and Medicine, vol. 66 p 2331.
5 Price Mitchell, M (2015).  Why Learning to Give Back Matters. Psychology Today.  www.psychologytoday.com/blog/the-moment-youth
Westheimer, J., & Kahne, J. (2004). What kind of citizen? The politics of educating for democracy. American Educational Research Journal, 41(2), 237-269.

CE's Blog 2

There has been a lot going on around the state and commonwealth arrangements for the support of homelessness and affordable housing.

The Council of Australian Governments (COAG) has worked together for a number of years to address housing issues, the vehicle for this work have been the: National Affordable Housing Agreement (NAHA) and the National Partnership Agreement on Homelessness (NPAH).

There has been ongoing advocacy by the community sector since this announcement and there is growing concern that the NPAH review will lead to the diminishing of resources directed to front line homelessness services.

Having a home is a basic human need and right. The stereotype of the homeless being people who sleep rough is far from the truth. Data from the Homeless2Home data indicates that in 2015 across the Western, Northern and Southern areas of Adelaide, 7,248 people received support from a homelessness service. Of these 65% were new to the service and 17% were children under 9 years of age! Family violence, mental health issues, economic hardship and eviction from rental accommodation featured as main contributing factors to homelessness.

Clearly homeless is a significant and complex issue that involves structural factors such as poverty, unemployment and lack of affordable housing, and personal issues such as discrimination, mental health and disability, addictions, family violence and abuse.

Our ultimate objective as a community should be to ensure that all persons always have a secure home irrespective of their circumstances. The reality, however is that, while this is the aim there will continue to be people who, for a range of reasons find themselves without shelter and who require support to achieve a stable and secure home. Both prevention and early response strategies are needed at both the system and individual level to tackle this complex problem. This includes things such as increasing the supply of affordable housing, enabling individuals to achieve financial independence and supporting people early on who find themselves to be at risk. The ShelterSA Regional Engagement Strategy (2016) noted that "service providers in our regions play an invaluable role in preventing people from experiencing long term homelessness".

The NAHA are strategies and resources focused on affordable housing and housing assistance for those on low to middle income such as rent assistance, it is an ongoing Agreement and is in the order of $40mil/year to SA. The NPAH provides for front line homelessness services for young people, Aboriginal people, those experiencing domestic violence and the general public (individual and families). The NPAH is the source of funding for our Inner Southern Homelessness Service.

The NPAH has been delivered through a series of time limited agreements that have required the Commonwealth and State to match funding. This funding is currently at $20mil/year for South Australia. In 2015 Prime Minister Abbot announced the renewal of NPAH until June 2017 with a review to be undertaken across both the homelessness and affordable housing arenas. Discussion about the future of these Agreements was set to commence at COAG at the end of 2016 and the first of these discussions occurred in Canberra on 3rd November.

The maintenance of some form of front line response to specifically targeted at supporting individuals who find themselves homeless is a critical part of the response continuum.

Alongside CEs from other NGO I have attended several meetings over the past two weeks with Premier Weatherill, the DSCI Executive Director of Housing SA and the Director of the Homelessness Strategy and, the Dunstan Foundation to raise the issues and advocate for the case of continued, targeted responses. Coordinated advocacy will continue over coming months alongside other key agents such as SACOSS and One Community to ensure that a full and balanced consideration is given to the needs of individuals, families and particularly children who are at risk of homelessness who suffer the most.

Fiona Kelly Signature

Fiona Kelly
A/Chief Executive

10-11-16

CE's Blog 1

Hello all,

With so many exciting changes happening, I am keen to ensure you are all kept well informed. So, I have decided to use a regular blog to communicate with the UCWB community keep the information flowing!

I am very pleased to be acting in the position of chief executive. The board has decided that they will spend some time reviewing the characteristics and competencies that they require in the position before appointing permanently. Until this time I am really excited to be in the post and am looking forward to progressing key initiatives with you. There is a wealth of talent and experience across this organisation at all levels, and I am a firm believer in collaboration and the benefit that collective wisdom brings to the end result.

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Links to Wellbeing

The Adelaide Primary Health Network (APHN) been set up by the commonwealth government as one of two planning and commissioning agencies for all federal health funding across the state. As a member of a consortium named Links to Wellbeing (comprising Neami, MIND and MIFSA) UCWB won the contract in June this year to provide clinical psychological services across the greater southern region (Marion – Campbelltown – Aldinga). Links to Wellbeing is one of only two contracted providers (the other being the Northern Health Network).

This contract allows clinicians to provide individual and group psychological interventions for people experiencing mild to severe mental illness, suicide prevention and GP shared care for persons with severe and enduring mental health conditions. Links to Wellbeing also provides the central triage and referral services for GPs across the region to smaller specialist providers such as Aboriginal and CALD services.

As part of the consortium we will have two psychologists working from our Marion office and one psychologist based at the Links to Wellbeing office at Morphett Vale. Our clinicians will form a team within our specialist services. It was a significant achievement to win this contract. It was very pleasing to hear at the AGM that the APHN Chief Executive note that the redesign and establishment of these contracts as one of the AHPNs most notable achievements over the year!

Fiona Kelly Signature

Fiona Kelly
A/Chief Executive

26-10-16