Community Services News - 2014
You may remember back in June I mentioned that the State Guardian Pam Simmons (pictured) came out to Muggy’s North to chat with some of our young people about various aspects of their care. In her latest Bulletin she devoted a whole page to comments from our kids on ‘Respect’. We’re so proud of our kids.
I think one of the hardest things for a leader to do when busyness demands continuous focussing on the now and what we do every day, is to step back and get a big picture perspective to enable strategic thinking and planning for growth and development. I find that a National Conference can sometimes lift us out of the normal mundane tasks to look from a bigger perspective which is why Jacquie Dell (Staff Development) and I (looking at Network development) have travelled to the Gold Coast this week to participate in the National Homelessness Conference. It is quite a strategic decision and is intended to help us get a new view of our services and plan for our future.
September is proving to be an extremely busy time for our Muggy’s Managers. In addition to trying to keep business as usual at program level they are all engaged in new training being rolled out by Families SA.
The Department has been rolling out a new Case Management platform called “Solution Based Casework”. It was devised by an American Professor Dr Dana Christensen and we have the privilege of having him and his team training our Managers personally. Katie has a week and a half of intensive training as coach for our network and over the next few weeks our Muggy’s Managers are also engaging in this training. Because this model fits with how we have been doing business within our Muggy’s model we appreciate the opportunity afforded us.
Our week commenced with the news on Monday morning that Phillip Nada, the architect that prepared the plans for our lovely building went to be with Jesus on the weekend. Phillip has left a legacy of Church buildings across Adelaide and became a wonderful friend to us here.
On Tuesday morning we learnt the news that Tim Holman went to be with Jesus. Dale Holman, our Business Manager here at Ingle Farm and Linda his wife have been model parents in the way they supported Tim in everything he strived to achieve. I honour them and wish I could share their pain at this time.
On a brighter note-Kate Mason, previous Manager of Youth Outreach gave birth to a little girl - Hannah Paige Mason was born at 11:17pm on 31/8/14 weighing 6pound 15oz. Mum & Bubs are well!
On Wednesday we had our Thank you lunch for our volunteers. We acknowledged Trevor Nichols who reached his 10 year milestone and John who reached his 15 year milestone.
Those of us who had good fathers who modelled sound Christian principles probably understand why it is that the majority of young people who are clients in our service have not known such modelling. I am so blessed to have had a good father and I can imagine if I had been denied such modelling I would very likely be disadvantaged and marginalised too. Even our young girls in our service who have had babies are trying to raise their baby on their own with no Dad in sight. That is tough and far from ideal. That is why the Psalmist said “give fair judgment to the poor man, the afflicted, the fatherless and the destitute.” It is not how it was meant to be, but there is hope - Again in the Psalms, this time Psalm 68 we read “He (God) is a father to the fatherless; he gives justice to widows, for he is holy!” God identifies with the powerless, the unfortunate and disadvantaged and wants to respond to their needs, and we can too in Jesus’ Name!
I had a conversation with a Salvationist who resented the fact that The Salvation Army relied on so much money from Governments, believing that that made us puppets to those Government bodies and stifled our mission imperatives. As there may be those reading this article that share that view I thought I would share my reply particularly as it applies here at Ingle Farm.
Firstly, much of our funding from the State Government, funds our three Muggy’s programs and represents more than 60% of our total funding. Muggy’s is our model, it is 100% our idea. We did not respond to a tender process but took our idea to Government and asked them to fund it. 16 years later they still like it and still fund it.
The Australian Government funding for Communities for Children asked us to research the community and decide what we believe should happen to improve our community. We prepared a Strategic Plan and invited other organisations to partner with us to fulfil that plan and seven years later we have been given a further 5 year contract to continue our plan.
The government funding we receive for our Community Support service is given away to clients. The structure and methodology of that program is funded by The Salvation Army, giving us the flexibility in the methods as decided by our own organisation.
That means that our Homelessness services (about 20% of our funding) are the only programs with prescriptive service agreements that resemble my fellow Salvationist’s conversation, and we accept those agreements because we agree with them.
As for the fear of having our mission stifled it could not be further from the truth. The fact that we birthed the Rev congregation to assist us in offering a holistic approach to care for our young people was applauded by our funders and we readily refer to our strategies within our congregations to demonstrate the successfulness of those strategies in linking clients into our worshipping communities.
We have added a further two casuals to our listing - Kathryn Scott at Burlendi and Sean Newcombe at Muggy’s North.
On Wednesday we had our bi-monthly staff lunch and were able to welcome Cherith Pryor who is our new Financial Counsellor working one day a week in our Community Support Service. We also welcomed Shiyun Lun who is doing her 500 hour placement for her Degree at Muggy’s North.
At the lunch we were able to celebrate three anniversaries. Peter Christensen has been at Muggy’s South one year. Naomi Thiel has been part of the Communities for Children team for a year and the big one was Andrew (Max) Moore who celebrated his 25 year anniversary. This puts him in the top 20 longest serving staff in the Territory. Congratulations!
On Thursday Katie and I attended a Partnership in Practice meeting with other Non-Government organisations who partner with Families SA, working with children under Guardianship orders. I have to say that though many people in the community, often stirred up by the media, are extremely critical of FamiliesSA because of recent charges being laid on individuals, I for one am very sympathetic to their plight. But for the grace of God we could be in their position and as recent findings in Queensland Royal Commission demonstrate, even with the grace of God we can be in that position. I regard that we live in a glass house where throwing stones is taboo. The Department is quite shaken up at the moment and it has a flow on effect to our services where we have already had staff cop verbal abuse and labelled abusers simply because of the sector we work in. We trust our staff will be resilient in this difficult time.
On Friday we had another first when SafeworkSA did an audit on our Thrift Shop (Browse n’ Buy) here at the centre. Lucas, our Work, health and safety Manager and Martin, our Thrift Shop Manager for that shop, did a first class job and we gained an excellent report with no issues to follow-up. Well done!
We added Jarrod Skeates as another casual to our listing at Muggy’s South this week. This creates something of a new record. Because Jarrod’s mum and dad both worked at Muggy’s during their Cadet out-training many years ago, having three from one family with employment experience at Muggy’s is a first.
This week has found us venturing into a new area of business processing. Those of you who have worked in Industry or perhaps even in aged care would be familiar with Enterprise Risk Management but in most non-government community or social services this concept is quite a new concept. This concept is an inevitable progression in our quest for continuous improvement and is driven from Territorial Headquarters. On Thursday I spent a couple of hours working with other Network Directors and Divisional staff trying to get our head around the tools that will assist us to prepare a Risk Register and Action plan.
While this Newspact is going to print, the next stage of our processes will be taking place with Territorial and Divisional representatives workshopping this subject with our Managers and Senior Managers here at Ingle Farm.
This is early training on this area of work but an initial plan will be put in place fairly quickly so that we then spend the next twelve months tweaking and honing the work as we progress. Risk caregories are: Financial, Governance, Health & Safety, Human Resources, IT services, Legal Regulatory, Operations, Environmental, Reputation and Disaster.
In the workshopping we intend to identify, analyse and evaluate risks in those categories, then we will develop a plan to treat those risks.
Having prepared that plan we will continue to monitor and review our plan to ensure our methods of treatment are reducing risk. I’m sure some of you will be interested in our results. Talk to me if you want to see our plan when it is developed.
While I have been off sick all week, and the dreaded lurgy has got a number of staff, I am grateful to the fit staff among us that have kept the show on the road.
Larni Hale transferred this week from Burlendi where she was a youth worker, to be a case manager in our Youth Outreach team. Congratulations on that promotion. Jessica Daminato (at Burlendi)and Hanne Brunes (Muggy’s North) have been added to our casual listing.
Some 35,000 Australians are reported missing annually - that’s one person every 15 minutes. This week has been National Missing Persons Week and The Salvation Army’s Family Tracing Service has been actively working to reunite missing people with their families for over 125 years. The Australian Federal Police’s National Missing Persons Week this year focuses on the links between dementia and missing persons. Dementia sufferers are statistically more likely to become missing. The Salvation Army is joining with the Australian Federal Police to raise community awareness about this, encouraging Australians to be aware of the signs and symptoms. Symptoms that may cause someone with dementia to go missing include forgetting well-known people or places, an inability to process questions or instructions, and emotional unpredictability. 487 new missing persons cases have been opened in the past 12 months by The Salvation Army’s Family Tracing Service across Victoria, South Australia, Tasmania, Western Australia and Northern Territory with a 68 per cent success rate of finding missing family and friends.
We particularly acknowledge the excellent work being done in our State by Nicola Brewer our State Director of the Family Tracing Service based at Divisional Headquarters. It’s a very special service!
Every so often Ingle Farm Community Services comes up on the Territorial Prayer list and having been listed recently we subsequently had mail assuring us that on that nominated day they indeed did pray for us. I had correspondence and cards confirming their prayers from the South Australia Divisional Headquarters, Tasmania Divisional Headquarters, and the Northern Victoria Divisional Headquarters. Commissioner Floyd Tidd and Territorial Headquarters also sent assurances of their prayers. It is nice to know that so many thought of us in that way.
In my ramble about the drum/coffee table last week I ran out of room to acknowledge the work Glen Kilford did in making the brackets to create the transformation. Thanks Glen.
In recognition of the first United Nations World Day against Trafficking in Persons, The Salvation Army this week launched a new initiative, the Freedom Partnership, equipping Australians with the information and knowledge to identify slavery and slave-like practices which currently exist in the Australian community and thereby helping to bring to an end this exploitative system in society. Most Australians would be unaware that slavery and slave-like practices touch most of us either directly or indirectly through our everyday consumption of goods and services – products of which may have been produced through these exploitative activities both here in Australia as well as other parts of the world.
“Through the Freedom Partnership initiative, we want to empower Australians to create and be part of the largest, most organised and dynamic anti-slavery movement in history.”
This week we welcomed Megan Casey as the new Manager for our Youth Supported Accommodation service. Good to have you on board.
I also had the opportunity to make a three quarter hour presentation about Ingle Farm to the State Conference of Salvo Stores. This turned out to be a worthwhile time with all the Managers of South Australia and the Northern Territory.
Many of you would remember when The Salvation Army was known for its Open-Air Meetings in the streets of towns and cities alike across our nation. Historically when someone responded to the invitation to pray and receive Salvation, the drum was laid down as a portable Mercy Seat.
The Senior Leadership of Ingle Farm thought that the old Prospect Corps Drum that has sat in the cupboard for years would be better used as a table in our Prayer Room. A fitting reminder of our praying heritage and the part Prospect Corps played in our history when it relocated to Ingle Farm with its accompanying change of name.
Have a look in the Prayer Room.
This week people all over Australia have been frantically writing tenders. The Department of Social Services of the Australian Government released a large number of Tenders that cover most services covered by grants in that Department. The big grants are the Emergency Relief and Financial Counselling that of course have enormous ramifications for our organisation across the nation. While Divisional staff in every Division in Australia have been concentrating on those big tenders, many of us in our Networks have been preparing smaller tenders. So to sum up hundreds of hours and many late nights have been put in by a large contingent not just in our organisation but practically every social service in the nation. It’s been a big week.
The processes involved for our organisation have had to have special attention to keep to the incredibly short time frames. Divisional Headquarters and Territorial Headquarters have had to develop ways of setting up approvals without Board or effectively having Board special meetings which means the entire organisation has been disrupted over this event.
In amongst all that our Communities for Children contract, also with DSS has been signed and we have had an initial meeting with the Department this week mainly regarding the differences in the new contract compared to the last. We have picked up some more area this round. We now include Mawson Lakes, Salisbury Downs and Salisbury CBD taking our area effectively to Salisbury Highway. We also have some new rules that will affect what we do next year when we will have designed a new Strategic Plan for our area and will need to conform to programs that are evidence based which isn’t of particular concern due to the quality of our current work
Karl Brettig our Manager of Communities for Children here at Ingle Farm, travelled to Melbourne last Friday to attend the International Social Work, Education and Social Development Conference and was the speaker in one of the concurrent sessions.
This week we had our Quality Play & Media Conference. As our bi-annual National Conference spot has got somewhat crowded this year with a number of other organisations choosing Adelaide for conferences in November. Our response therefore was to hold a one day conference in our own building to see how it would go. My take on the event was that it went brilliantly. Our building proved a superb conference centre and the eighty delegates and twenty plus presenters found the whole day a great experience. The speakers were first class, the catering was wonderful and the organising was professional. A special thanks to Claire Merrett, our Conference coordinator, Wendy Marsh, our Caterer, Murray Jackson our media operator—Karl Brettig & the Communities for Children team for their expertise and development of the conference in partnership with the Australian Council on Children and the Media.
Last Sunday Katie Lawson, our Regional Operations Manager and I, travelled with Divisional staff and members of the Towards Independence team to Geelong where we spent two days discussing Homelessness matters. It was good to meet about 60 folk from Tasmania, Victoria, Western Australia and the Northern Territory and learn something of the great work being carried out across our Territory in the Homelessness sector.
You may be interested to realise that The Salvation Army is the largest provider of Homelessness services in Australia assisting more than 23,000 people in 155 homelessness services across our nation.
One in eight clients accessing all specialist Homelessness services in Australia access a Salvation Army service.
20% of clients have identified mental health issues.
50% of women accessing our services identified domestic and family violence as their main presenting issue.
25% of clients accessing our services have been homeless for more than six months.
310,000 accommodation days were provided.
In addition to the $58 million provided by governments for Homelessness services the Army contributes over $31million of Salvation Army generated revenue to Homelessness services.
We here at Ingle Farm are one of only a few Youth specific homelessness services in The Salvation Army across our Territory and can certainly hold our head up high not just in the numbers of youth assisted but the outcomes we achieve. It is very easy to be proud of our services in that kind of environment. We are well respected across the Territory and Ingle Farm has a reputation way beyond those who have connected with us. It was a gratifying experience.
As previously mentioned I travelled to Geelong to speak to Officers and Network Directors of the Western Victoria Division last Friday. I can report that I was well received and the Divisional Commanders, Majors Geoff and Kalie Webb send their warm regards. (For those who have joined us in the last seven years, Geoff & Kalie were our officers here before Paul & Wendy).
We had our bi-monthly staff lunch on Wednesday with Amela Ramcilovic, a casual at Muggy’s South having her 1st year anniversary with us and we celebrated Martin Pace having his 10 year anniversary. Congratulations!
Katie & I fly to Melbourne and on to Geelong this afternoon for the Territorial Homelessness Forum. We will be joined by Directors and Senior Managers from Homelessness Services across our Territory. More of that next week.
We are conducting a first today as we have two meetings being conducted concurrently. While the Multigen meeting is being conducted the 40 year sessional reunion of the Soldiers of the Cross session is having a private meeting in the Theatre. (I am the skinny one 2nd from the left in the back row.)
On Tuesday this week I had a visit from Katherine Goswell who is attached to the Territorial Headquarters Communications Department. She was ably accompanied by our good friend Hugh Ballantyne in Business Development at DHQ. Katherine showed considerable interest in what we do, in fact taking three hours to hear more and more of what Ingle Farm is about. I thought it was a very cordial occasion.
On Wednesday we had our bi-annual review by DHQ. Our Divisional Social Program Secretary, Major Rhonda Elkington was accompanied by the Assistant Divisional Social Program Secretary, Major Sue Wallace and Andrew Elvin, Divisional Social Program & Policy Consultant and they spent two hours with our whole Management team in what we considered a very productive time of sharing about what we do. What impresses me often is the “above and beyond” stuff that takes place. Each of our programs have service agreements with various Government Departments with lengthy lists of outcomes and outputs that are the expectation of those respective funding bodies. While I am pleased to say that we consistently meet those contractual requirements and so we should. Being excited about those achievements is right and proper but if we don’t achieve them we lose the contract. It is of special interest to me therefore that we look at those things that not expectations by others but are real indications of the quality we so regularly talk about these days.
I am pleased to say that our Managers were able to report on a number of outcomes way beyond expectation. Achievements were commonly to do with client outcomes and program development that assisted individuals to excel but a statistic that was quite outstanding was that 19 people have been linked into our worshipping communities in the last twelve months and of those 4 have come to faith, and we have 2 recruits, 1 adherent and 1 soldier enrolled from a Community Services entry point. Wonderful!
Short weeks seem always to be busy but the busyness was mundane and boring to report on, however next Friday I will be flying to Melbourne to speak to the Officers and Network Directors of the Western Victoria Division about integration and so I thought I would share some of that processing I have been going through in preparation for that event.
Why do I believe in the integration of Church (Corps) and Social Services—because I believe we need each other. I have studied a number of methodologies that are used by the Army across the world and while most of those have a level of relevance and usefulness there is nothing better in the world for people who are in need, or as we say the last, the least and the lost than to be connected to the local church. To be part of a welcoming community of people who are working on caring for others, and trying to be inclusive is so enriching for everyone involved and the perfect recipe for those feeling isolated, disenfranchised and alone.
On the other hand, the world has become so complex and our community has demanded such a high level of sophistication in the care of complex needs that the simple response of caring words or even the supply of food, clothing or a blanket is insufficient to enable these people to be fully transformed. We need the professional social worker, therapist and counsellor to complete the holistic approach to care our complex world has produced in damaged people with damaged emotions, bodies and spirits.
In our youth services, I want kids who have never known good parenting rubbing shoulders with kids who love and respect their parents because they had good parenting. I want kids who think that having fun is getting drunk or stoned, having fun with kids who have never needed to drink or take drugs to enjoy life. That’s why integration is so important and what we offer in this place and why I believe we have a model that is worth sharing with others.
Last Monday Muggy’s North had a visit from the State Guardian and her assistant to chat with some of our young people. While I didn’t stay for the whole event, I want to say, I found it a very special experience. These young people in very articulate ways demonstrated an appreciation for Muggy’s and clearly a special connection with the staff. I was very proud firstly of our staff and also proud of the transformation in young lives because of the work being carried out in that place.
We have been chosen to receive a SafeworkSA audit in the near future so it was good to have our Divisional Risk Management Co-Ordinator spend time with us this week in preparation for this event.
Recently, new Privacy Laws have come into operation. Katie and I had a teleconference with lawyers in Sydney this week ensuring our documentation is compliant. It is always an interesting exercise juggling legal compliance in a way that can be understood by young people often with limited literacy skills.
On Tuesday 8th July 9.00am—4.30pm we are conducting an event titled “Quality Play & Media—Care and education in childhood” This event is a Communities for Children initiative in partnership with the Australian Council on Children and the Media and has some quality speakers from across our nation presenting at it. Brochures are available if anyone is interested.
Theresa Clark has given me her resignation and next week will be leaving our employ. Theresa has been with us for three and a half years in the Youth Outreach team. We pray God’s blessing on her future.
I know it is not my department but I am hearing really encouraging responses to the Just Brass program from my Department. Those working with these children have noticed a rise in self esteem already. Well done!
I returned from holidays refreshed and much fitter than when I went. I am also pleased to report that everything was in good shape on my return thanks to my Management team. Thanks for everything you did while I was away. It is really special to be confident of the leadership that continues in ones absence.
While I was away the Divisional Quality Accreditation Review took place. 14 Standards met, 3 Standards provided a Period of Grace and 1 Standard exceeded. To achieve one standard as "exceeded" is tremendous news and acknowledgement of the quality and impact of our social programmes on the communities in which they operate. We all work to have the very best services possible, services that provide support and opportunity for change to the most disadvantaged in our society... to have our mission intention of "transforming lives" acknowledged in this way I hope you find encouraging.
We have welcomed Jessica Latham and Matthew Sims to the Muggy’s Country Whyalla team and Clare Merrett has accepted a Project Officer position in Communities for Children in the short term.
While completing Budgets has been tricky as Service Contracts are all still outstanding and we know little of the financial content of those contracts we have had some written confirmations. Our Muggy’s Contracts are all extended one year and with generous increases of funds. Communities for Children is confirmed as a five year contract but with some significant changes to service delivery. Funding level still unclear. Our Youth Homelessness contract is to be extended by twelve months but again we don’t know the funding level. Budgets therefore remain speculative.
The Book that our Communities for Children program produced after the 2010 National Conference that we conducted has now gone paperback and notably has been placed in 72 significant Libraries across the world. Look at this list:
University of New England, Armidale, N.S.W. : State Library of N.S.W, : National Library of Australia : Charles Sturt University Library—Bathurst : Monash University Library : University of Melbourne Library : Australian Institute of Family Studies, Melbourne : RMIT University Library, Melbourne : State Library of Victoria : University of South Australia : Adelaide Institute of TAFE : Flinders University Library, Adelaide : Department of Families, Community Services & Indigenous Affairs Library : La Trobe University, Bendigo : University of Newcastle, NSW : University of Western Sydney : University of Canterbury, Christchurch, New Zealand : Massey University Library, Palmerston North, New Zealand : State Library of Western Australia : The Chinese University of Hong Kong : Muckleneuk Campus Library, Pretoria, South Africa : Pepperdine University Library, Malibu, USA : University of California, USA : University of Southern California : University of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada : University of Victoria, Canada : Bois State University, USA : University of Alberta, Edmonton, Canada : Baylor University, Waco, USA : American University in Cairo, Egypt : Trinity College Library, Dublin, Ireland : University of Cambridge, UK : The British Library, St.Pancras, London UK : The British Library, UK : National Library of Scotland : Lount Saint Vincent University Library, Halifax, Canada : Koninklijke Bibliotheek, Den Haag, Netherlands : Universitatsbibliothek Paderborn, Germany : Bavarian State Library, Germany : University of Massachusetts, Boston USA : McGill University Library, Montreal, Canada : University of Ottawa, Canada : Pennsylvania State University Library USA : University of North Carolina USA : Appalachian State University, Boone USA : Indiana University USA :University of Oxford, UK
A short week and going on four weeks leave has made this week very crammed but by the time you read this it will be behind me and holidays will have commenced. It was Easter Tuesday in 1997 that I commenced working at Ingle Farm so while I have no idea of the date this weekend is always a special anniversary.
We had our staff lunch this week and a number of staff reached milestones and we celebrated that fact with them. Amy Ewer, Amy Zahirski, Ryan Scott and Marisso Amadio all from Muggy’s South, and Larni Hale from Burlendi all celebrated one year with us. Julie Williams also from Muggy’s South and Joanne Lewis-Menhennett from Muggy’s North celebrated their 5 year anniversary.
We welcomed a number of staff who were attending this event for the first time and particularly had the opportunity to introduce Dale Merrett who started this week.
Budget discussions have occupied many meetings this week particularly with Divisional staff. We met with the Divisional Commander, Divisional Secretary and assistant Divisional Accountant on Monday. I had a subsequent meeting the following day with the Divisional Social Program Secretary and we have had a number of other discussions in house particularly as the Budget due dates are fast approaching and we have no confirmations of contract values.
As we come to Easter which I think is the most important time in the Christian calendar, I trust everyone will ponder over this time the significance of these events we celebrate. To recognise that it was my sin that put Jesus on the cross is both sobering and liberating. Sobering when I recognise the consequences of my sin but liberating as I don’t need to endure that consequence because Jesus took my place. This liberating reality is a story of Grace that is unquestionably good news. For me the chief of sinners and for all those I work with and for. It motivates me constantly. We all need that Grace and the fact that Jesus paid the price makes it the best freebie ever!
At the launch of Just Brass on Thursday night I had the opportunity to reflect on another part of the DNA of The Salvation Army Ingle Farm.
Before we were even a corps we operated a Children’s program in the North Ingle Primary School. In the 70’s and 80’s when scouting was popular, we had the local Scout Troop. As long as I can remember, Ingle Farm has had a strong focus on children, desiring the very best for them and seeking to give them a good start and a firm footing on life.
Our history moved to another level in 2005 when we became the Communities for Children Facilitating Partners for Salisbury. A program designed to develop the local community for young children and their parents. We commenced the Family Zone Hub at the Ingle Farm Primary School and a “mini hub” at the Para Hills Primary School. Communities for Children have about 45 programs currently and most of them function at the Family Zone Hub.
A significant event took place in 2006 when we facilitated the survey for the Australian Early Childhood Index in the 11 Primary School of our area. We paid for relief teacher’s to take the class while the class teacher conducted one on one interviews with each individual student. This was invaluable at the time but because the Education Department has adopted this practice in schools today we have a longitudinal study that is even more invaluable.
I then mentioned the up coming launch of a Research Report conducted by the University of South Australia on the Trauma Informed Classroom. We contracted the Heads of Churches State Schools Ministry Coordinating Group to partner with the Ingle Farm East Primary School class of Year 2/3 children that included chronically stressed and traumatised 6 to 8 year old students. “The Well Being Classroom” is a report currently being published and will be launched on May 1st at the ABC studios in Collingswood.
Just Brass is a new innovation consistent with our DNA.
This week has been somewhat consumed by Budget preparation. While we are under tight time restraints the fact that four of our major contracts are up for renewal and the exact new monetary figures have not been announced makes it nigh impossible to be even close to exact in our deliberations. What makes it worse is the strong likelihood that these announcements will not be made prior to due dates of Budgets. I am grateful to John Ewen and Dale Holman with the support of Major Paul, Envoy Nath and Cadet Chris in the deliberations that have taken place this week. While I call it our Budget Retreat, others call it Budget Camp which is a little undignified and one even called it the Budget Summit. Whatever its label it is still far and away the best method of deliberating on these matters. For those who don’t realise, for a couple of days we hire a unit down at Normanville and work well into the night crunching numbers for seven social cost centres and the Corps with all its sectional accounts adding up to more than $8 million dollars this year.
It was unfortunate that during this process I had to be excused to attend an arbitration hearing back in Adelaide. After that four hour exercise I returned to DHQ for further deliberations with HR personnel from both the Division and the Territory before returning to Normanville for another session.
On Thursday after our return I was the guest speaker at the Greenwith Companion Club where I shared our recently concluded project with the Tanay Corps in the Philippines.
Meanwhile back at the Farm, Naomi Thiele in our Communities for Children program has moved from part-time to full-time this week. Glenys who was welcomed in Port Lincoln last week has spent this week at Muggy’s North in orientation. All our staff got a pay rise this week and some even got back pay.
Last Divisional Board new approvals lifts our staff strength to 91 positions plus 3 officers.
I must apologise to Nellie Anderson who commenced unannounced last week in the Youth Homelessness team. Nellie is the new Waitlist Case Manager. We also welcomed Glenys Sauturaga in Port Lincoln as a Case Manager in the Muggy’s Country team. Welcome to you both!
Katie is now Regional Operations Manager, Lucas is the Network Quality Improvement Coordinator and Jacquie is Staff Development Manager as from last Monday. The transition is complete.
As Jacquie, me and others seem to be spending every working hour on staff issues the question is posed is it worth it. On the wall of my office I have an enlarged copy of William Booth’s Darkest England chart and this picture here seems to similarly help.
The task is to rescue from the sea those who have no hope of rescuing themselves. As the picture suggests this takes more than one person but a team for the one. We can’t do it on our own but even when we form a team of people with common intention the task is on going and even the best become weary in well doing. We become distracted by events in our own lives or even lose focus to selfish ambition and those of us in leadership have the responsibility to keep the focus on the client in the sea. We can appreciate the distraction but we can’t allow the focus to leave the client. We need to be diligent in our recruiting and vigilant in our supervision so that the purpose of employment remains on the intended goal. Yes it is worth it because that diligence results in clients getting their feet on solid ground and skills equip them to secure that foothold. Every week I hear stories of young people showing signs of stability because courageous staff persist with the task. Good job!
We share in the sadness of Kate Mason (Manager of our Youth Supported Accommodation team) who lost her father this week. Thanks to her team for working on in her absence.
Cadet Chris has worked in the Outreach team this week and also spent a bit of time with the Communities for Children team as well.
I spent three days in Canberra this week at the Senior Executive Forum. We were hoping for an announcement by the Honourable Kevin Andrews, Minister for Social Services regarding Communities for Children funding but we were disappointed. He spoke very encouragingly to us and gave us hope but no actual announcement regarding our funding future. This meeting of CEO’s, Senior Managers and Directors gathered from across Australia to discuss a number of aspects regarding trends and futures for our sector and was quite helpful on a number of levels. On Wednesday, 110 senior executives descended on Parliament House and spoke with many of the Ministers, or their advisors, backbenchers and opposition members and even a couple of independents and the Greens. We received a mixed reaction from various members but generally were warmly received and encouraged in our work with the vulnerable and disenfranchised.
I have to say that my age is showing when I see the youthfulness of the top bureaucrats of our country and even a large number of the CEO’s represented at this gathering. I did feel included however when the aboriginal welcome to country exchanged specifically a welcome from the Ngunnawal elders to the elders gathered. I considered myself one of those being addressed not the kids sitting around me. On return from Canberra after long days and hours of dialogue I feel tired but very aware that our Network can stand tall in this company with the quality of work we deliver and the standard of staff we employ.
We finished the week by lunching with Heidi as she embarks on a significant turn in her life as she and Craig await the arrival of their new babe!
Short weeks always seem to try and cram 5 days into 4 and this week certainly seems that.
Cadet Chris has spent the entire week at Muggy’s North which I am sure showed yet again a different perspective
Amy Zahirski from Muggy’s South has given birth to a little girl ( Isobella), Heidi Gogoll, our Muggy’s Regional Manager enters her final week with us before taking her maternity leave and this week Kate Mason announced she was pregnant. No one can say our team isn’t producing!
Homelessness Services have been in the media this week, principally due to changes being suggested by the Federal Government to withdrawer funding for this crucial work. A deputation from Divisional Headquarters went and spoke to authorities here in the State but of course the State is reliant on responses from the Federal Government. Territorial Headquarters have also joined forces with the Eastern Territory to take a deputation to Canberra on this area but we are still waiting for final responses from Canberra on this issue. We do have a significant interest because of the services we operate here at Ingle Farm but it is far more important that we remain unselfish on this issue and keep the real agenda before the Government that of supporting the most vulnerable and disenfranchised in our community.
Over the last couple of weeks we have had our Thrift Shop (Bill B’s) at Para Hills Shopping Centre, closed for renovation. We now have new carpet throughout, painted walls, repaired air conditioning and new fixtures so it is looking much nicer and more the standard we are looking for. While we still have more shop-fitting to do and some
Carpentry to complete we will open for business on Monday as it is and work towards completion as soon as is possible. Please pop in and take your wallet with you. We are hoping for a speedy recovery to two weeks loss of business.
This week our Thrift Shop “Bill B’s” in the Para Hills Shopping Centre has been closed for renovation. We plan to reopen later this week, pop in and have a look.
More successful staff recruiting has also taken place. Cadet Chris has spent time in Emergency Relief, our Thrift Shops and sat in on some interviews for new staff. He concluded the week by taking a trip to Port Pirie with Heidi and Katie, witnessing staff supervision in Muggy’s country.
Karl & his team have just completed the last 6 months performance review for Communities for Children. Note these impressive stats:
1. School based preventative programs ~ 50 clients
2. Family wellbeing through child development ~ 96 clients
3. Parenting Education Programs ~ 73 clients
4. Mainly Music ~ 341 clients
5. Men’s Parenting ~ 60 clients
6. Family Zone Library ~ 280 clients
7. Move & Groove ~ 434 clients
8. Children’s Education ~ 35 clients
9. Breakfast Club ~ 450 clients
10. Family counselling/support ~ 84 clients
11. Home Visits ~ 503 clients
12. Being with Baby ~ 104 clients
13. Support group for mother’s and babies ~ 77 clients
14. Intensive supported playgroups ~ 43 clients
15. Parenting support & Mentoring ~ 10 clients
16. Parenting & transitioning back to work ~ 38 clients
17. Universal playgroup ~ 92 clients
18. First Steps Playtime ~ 664 clients
19. Family Day Care Providers playgroup ~ 61 clients
20. School Holiday Activities ~ 265 clients
21. Professional training for family support staff ~ 112 clients
22. Aboriginal Dad’s Mentoring ~ 18 clients
23. Cultural support groups ~ 233 clients
24. Afghani Women’s support group ~ 83 clients
This week I have spent most of the week at Muggy’s Country recruiting. On Tuesday, Heidi & I flew to Whyalla and with Alice who drove from Port Pirie we interviewed six candidates to fill three positions and were successful. On Wednesday we drove to Port Lincoln where we interviewed one candidate for a part time position and once again were successful. This is a rare experience to have so many good candidates in one set of interviews and a genuine blessing.
It was Heidi’s final trip in this position so we considered it fitting that she scored a spa room on the top floor of the hotel with a balcony looking out on beautiful Boston Bay. Even Alice had a fourth floor balcony view of the bay and I had a lovely window view of the car park. No bitterness however!
Muggy’s Country is doing really well. I learned that one client has enrolled in University and one of the girls is one step from acceptance as a monster truck driver in the mines. She only has her physical to go which is a remarkable achievement and a credit to both these young people.
Our Whyalla centre has had the front yard tidied up and looks very neat. This was done by the staff from both Whyalla and Port Pirie working together to achieve this remarkable improvement.
Cadet Chris commenced his social out-training on Monday by attending our Admin. and Finance Meeting followed by a “cook’s tour” of our services to give him an overview. He has had the rest of the week at Burlendi doing afternoon shifts to enable him to interact with the young people. The week culminated in his attending ‘Rev.’ On Friday night to understand that connection.
This week we had our first staff lunch for the year. While we were down in numbers for various reasons, we were still able to welcome people who had not been with us before. In particular we were able to welcome Wendy Richards our new Financial Counsellor and James Lenigas who, while not one of our employees but an employee of one of our Communities for Children Community Partners, bases himself at our office due to its proximity to his work and the considerable distance away that SMG have their office in Edwardstown. It was a happy time of being together.
We celebrated four 1 year anniversaries—Lauren Measki, Kristy Mayfield and Judith Bickley, all from Muggy’s Country and Lucas Abbott currently in the Homelessness team.
Cadet Chris Sutton commences his Social Out-training with us tomorrow and our staff are looking forward to sharing with him over the coming five weeks. In the preparation of Chris’s quarters, I want to thank all those that have assisted in getting the place furnished and equipped.
I had my first Manager’s Meeting for the year this week and feel very confident in our progress this year with the excellent staff heading up our programs. Our transition to the restructure is getting settled in to place and certainly will be ready to change next month.
Last Newspact I mentioned a meeting with the Australian Government Communities for Children bureaucrats that took place last Friday. The news is all good regarding our future for the Communities for Children program. This program was a Liberal idea back in the Howard government days and remarkably was sustained by Labour with only minor change. Now that the Liberals are back in office some of the program tweeking that will take place is reminiscent of the early days of this program, which suits us fine. We already are in our ninth year of operation and look like having a number of years yet in what has been an incredibly exciting journey. Our Community Committee that met this week reflects that optimism.
I had the opportunity to accompany Heidi our Regional Muggy’s Manager and the three Muggy’s Managers to the quarterly meeting with our funding body. We also had Katie with us to introduce her to the team. As on every other occasion I was so incredibly impressed with the way our Managers do business. The Bureaucrats are an interesting group led by a daunting leader but our ladies took them in their stride and presented in exceptional fashion.
The good news coming out of that meeting was the assurance of funding for the next five years (unless we do something drastically wrong along the way) Good News!
This is the time of year where we start to look at various funding areas. We had a meeting with Communities for Children representatives after this article goes to print so I will report next week. Our Homelessness funding is a big unknown this year with a new federal government in place who have different ideas about how this area should be played out. Our contract will conclude and while we suspect funding will be rolled over in the short term have difficulty working out what the future looks like for that area of our work.
Meanwhile the work continues day in and day out with a highly professional response to a wide variety of human needs. I can’t speak highly enough of the quality of our workers and the work carried out by them on our behalf.
Murray Jackson who headed up the Salvation Army Emergency Services team at the Bangor fire - longest running event in our SAES history here in South Australia.
Now that we have 88 staff positions it is inevitable that from time to time we get staff issues. January has not been quiet from that perspective and has been quite an imposition on some of our Managers and Jacquie.
One of those activities was the establishing of another restructure to cope with Heidi’s Maternity Leave taking effect in six weeks time.
To explain that restructure probably is best to outline that currently Heidi Gogoll is our Regional Muggy’s Manager and also responsible for staff development, Katie Lawson is Senior Manager of Homelessness services and responsible for Quality Improvement. Jacquie Dell is Director’s PA and responsible for Workplace health and Safety.
In the restructure, Katie Lawson will become Regional Operations Manager responsible for all Muggy’s and Homelessness services. Lucas Abbott will become Network Quality Improvement Coordinator picking up Workplace Health & Safety as well and Jacquie will continue to be my PA but pick up Staff Development.
Our Community Support Services are about to get much stronger with Olive Moore offering some voluntary hours to support our services. Olive will be assisting us in the area of interest free loan schemes that we operate here and Budget advice. In addition to that, every Wednesday we will be offering a Financial counselling service. Wendy Richards, a qualified financial counsellor commences with us next Wednesday and will come here each Wednesday from then on. This is a very exciting progression that has been in our planning for sometime. Lin Goed and Senior Leadership are really looking forward to both these additions to this program.
My continued battle with my health over January and currently on-going has placed extra workloads on both Jacquie and Katie in particular and others as well, so I want to express my appreciation to them publicly and hope I can get back up to speed soon. Thanks for your support!