Premier Will Hodgman and Executive Director Tim Gourlay opened the new unit
CatholicCare Tasmania’s former Director of Family Services, Georgina McLagan, has retired after serving in her role for more than twenty years.
Georgina has contributed to the development and growth of Centacare and more recently CatholicCare, and said the experience has been a blessing.
“I feel very privileged to have been a part of that growth over the last 26 years.
“We have had enterprising leadership, firstly with Sister Philippa and now with Tim [Gourlay], and I have been reflecting on how fortunate I have been to have experienced this and to have been in a job that I have never tired of,” she said.
Georgina said she felt ‘the time was right’ to retire, but said she will miss the vitality of her workplace and colleagues.
“During my years in a management role I have been blessed with an amazing team of committed people.
“[Their] commitment and hope for [their] clients, in whatever program, are what has made the difference for them and what has validated us as we have worked together,” she said.
CatholicCare Tasmania, Executive Director, Tim Gourlay, said Georgina has been instrumental in contributing to the establishment and growth of the organisation, and also to the growth of the broader social services sector within Tasmania.
“Georgina has been an outstanding leader in the sector who has set a very high professional standard and leaves a legacy that is truly valued.
“She has always kept the clients and their needs at the centre of the organisation’s work and focus. Her leadership and support of staff has been exemplary,” he said.
CatholicCare Tasmania has been selected by the State Government to establish and coordinate additional multicultural support services to people who arrive in the state.
The Safe Havens Hub (SHH) will deliver pathways for better education and employment opportunities for people who have been granted a Safe Haven Enterprise Visa (SHEV) or a Temporary Protection Visa (TPV), humanitarian entrants, and recently arrived migrants.
The Premier, Will Hodgman and Speaker of the House of Assembly, Elise Archer joined Archbishop Julian and CatholicCare Manager of Multicultural Service Programmes (MSP), James Norman, to announce the 1.2 million dollar programme delivered over four years, at the Archdiocese of Hobart today.
“It’s a really important step forward to ensure Tasmania is well prepared to accept not only the arrivals of Safe Haven Enterprise Visa holders but also an intake of refugees from Syria, as well as provide support for those existing migrants in our community who often need a place to make contact and to find ways to be safely accommodated in our community,” the Premier said.
The programme will provide service referrals for accommodation, Centrelink, Medicare, legal and migration services and trauma counselling to new SHEV and TPV holders, as well as employment pathway support and pre-employment training and initiatives for all eligible clients.
“CatholicCare has been providing services to former refugees for more than ten years. In the last financial year we saw about two-hundred and fifty new humanitarian entrants arrive in Hobart and we are expecting that new SHEV and TPV holders will also want to move to Tasmania.” CatholicCare MSP Manager, James Norman said.
“This additional state-wide programme will help us provide further support to people who want to come and live and work in Tasmania.”
The announcement comes as the Australian Government continues to process refugees from Syria and Iraq.
“The latest advice we have received (from the Federal Government) is that we should now begin to see an increased number of arrivals in Australia of Syrian and Iraqi refugees,” the Premier said.
“I am keen to attract SHEV holders to Tasmania to live and work, and that will be a key role of the Hub.”
The implementation phase for the Safe Haven Hub will begin today, and will employ an additional two FTE positions across the state.
CatholicCare Tasmania has been selected by the State Government to deliver the next major piece of the Family Violence Action Plan (Safe Homes, Safe Families).
The Safe Choices Service will deliver early intervention and prevention support to anyone affected by family violence, including those who want to exit violent relationships.
The Premier, Will Hodgman, and the Minister for Women, Jacquie Petrusma, joined Archbishop Julian and CatholicCare Executive Director, Tim Gourlay, to announce the two-million dollar investment at CatholicCare.
"It’s wonderful to be able partner with organisations, not for profit organisations, and community organisations, that have experience in these areas and importantly infrastructure that we can use to provide additional support to the victims of family violence,” the Premier said.
“This announcement is a major milestone in our state’s pledge to bring family violence out from behind closed doors, and our commitment to prevention and early intervention.”
Safe Choices will be available through an interactive website, email or by phone, with assessment workers and case workers supplied through CatholicCare.
Assessment workers will respond to all enquiries and assess what a person’s requirements are, with case workers allocated when there’s more intensive support needed.
CatholicCare Tasmania Executive Director, Tim Gourlay, said the opportunity to deliver the service will mean better outcomes for victims affected by family violence.
“CatholicCare has fifteen years’ experience in this space, and has quite a diverse range of services available to support and enable victims to address their circumstances, from counselling, housing support, provision of actual housing and childcare services.
“This is a statewide program, and will initially be rolled out in Hobart with services for the rest of the state to follow,” he said.
The new Chief Operating Officer for CatholicCare Tasmania, Mandy Clarke, has commenced in the new managerial position.
Ms Clarke has a long history working within the human services industry, and brings to the position a wealth of knowledge and experience.
“I have worked in this industry for more than twenty years and have a huge commitment to it. I started out working as a practitioner in the housing area and gradually moved into management from there.
“I’ve worked with people experiencing mental illness, family violence, homelessness, and a range of different disabilities, including acquired brain injuries and rehabilitation work,” Ms Clarke said.
CatholicCare offers support services for children and families including counselling, childcare and multicultural support services, housing support, aged care, homelessness and mental health programs, with all services measuring rapid growth in the last year. Ms Clarke said her focus will be to develop better systems to manage growth in the sector.
“I have spent the last ten years working in assisting organisations to implement changes to their operating environments, so I think that some of the things I have learnt, I can bring to this role,” she said.
“We will face as an organisation a shift towards much more demand driven services, much more client choice and control orientation in services, and a greater emphasis on outcome based work.”
With both state and federal governments currently reforming the not-for-profit sector, Ms Clarke said the challenge for the future is balancing the Catholic mission and the inevitable commercialisation of the industry.
“Governments do want to see a shift towards outcome based work and they do want to see increased value for the money that they are spending, there’s no doubt about that.
“I think one of the biggest challenges for us as a Catholic agency is adapting to the new world which is a commercialisation of the human services industry and staying true to mission.
“It’s a fine line sometimes, and I think that it’s a delicate balance and one that we need to carefully navigate and make sure we are clear about who we are as an agency and what contribution we make.”
Tasmania currently has some of the worst educational and health outcomes in Australia including care for our elderly population and people living with disability.
“I think CatholicCare has a strong advocacy role as an organisation to continue to advocate for people that are experiencing disadvantage here in Tasmania,” Ms Clarke said.
“We have a role in encouraging and building confidence and resilience in disadvantaged Tasmanians, and I’m committed in doing that.”
Helping its multicultural clients to find employment is the focus of CatholicCare Tasmania’s Drop In program.
Established last year and supported by volunteer workers, the Drop In is part of CatholicCare Tasmania’s Multicultural Services Program (MSP).
MSP Activities Coordinator Virginia Vaughan Williams said many of the Drop In’s clients faced challenges finding work, including having their international qualifications recognised in Australia and difficulty accessing their written employment and training records from overseas.
Surprisingly however, language is not always a barrier, with many Drop In clients fluent in three or more languages.
“Some people have five languages, they are very smart,” Mrs Vaughan Williams said.
The Drop In has had a constant stream of clients since it started last year, including men and women from a wide variety of countries.
The program is supported by two volunteers in the morning and the afternoon, who have helped clients find work in areas including hospitality, fruit picking and labouring, as well as with preparation of their resumes and job applications.
“It’s been wonderful, I suppose you could say it’s a small success in what we have been doing and word is spreading,” Mrs Vaughan Williams said.
While most of the work was part-time or casual, Mrs Vaughan Williams said this often provided clients with the experience and references needed to pursue other more permanent positions.
Drop In clients also showed a determination to work in any position available.
“Everyone wants to work and everyone is willing to try anything, even if they have got a four year university degree, they are very willing and want to work,” Mrs Vaughan Williams said.
Employment and the Drop In, was also an important social outlet for people who have come to Tasmania as asylum seekers or humanitarian entrants.
“Work provides connection and the Drop In also fulfils a social need, because people are coming in talking to us, gradually getting to know the volunteers,” Mrs Vaughan Williams said.
“The Drop In environment is flexible and feels a bit more casual because people can also come and have a cup of tea and a biscuit or make some toast.
“I think it makes people feel more settled, which is very good.”
The Drop In is open Mondays from 11am to 3.30pm at ‘The Cottage’ in the courtyard, at the Catholic Diocesan Centre, 35 Tower Road, New Town.
For more information on volunteering or the Drop In program call CatholicCare’s MSP Manager, James Norman on 6278 1660.
A community housing project in Southern Tasmania is delivering on a commitment to revitalise the Bridgewater and Gagebrook communities, through the construction of seventy- five new homes under the State Government’s Better Housing Futures strategy, and the provision of a range of social services to local residents.
Centacare Evolve Housing is developing three housing sites in Bridgewater and building brand-new, two and three bedroom, brick veneer, energy efficient units that will positively impact the State’s social housing waiting list. The investment across the three sites in Bridgewater by Centacare Evolve Housing is valued at $13 million, and construction has seen in excess of 100 new positions being created.
Centacare Evolve Housing Executive Director Tim Gourlay, said the three sites under development in Bridgewater forms a mini economic stimulus for the State, and more importantly directly impacts the priority end of the State’s social housing waiting list.
“In the past two or three decades there has been very little new residential development in the Bridgewater area, and this development is not only helping to stimulate the economy but help to transform the neighbourhood of Bridgewater and Gagebrook.
“Tenants will have access to brand new residential accommodation and in some cases this will be a life-changing experience for them. It will be a transformational opportunity given the quality and environmental rating of the homes, combined with low recurrent maintenance costs,” Mr Gourlay said.
Premier of Tasmania Mr Will Hodgman, and Minister for Human Services Ms Jacquie Petrusma toured two of the construction sites at Bridgewater in January.
“Collaboration between Government and community housing providers across the state is vital in ensuring we can provide Tasmanians with a successful affordable housing system,” said Ms Petrusma.
“These developments on unused land will provide many Tasmanians with new opportunities for safe and secure housing, as well as creating employment opportunities with more than 100 new jobs created across three sites currently being developed by Centacare Evolve Housing,” she said.
Mr Gourlay added that in addition to the construction of new dwellings by Centacare Evolve Housing, project partner CatholicCare Tasmania is delivering a range of social services to Bridgewater, Gagebrook, and Herdsmans Cove community members including:
· Language, numeracy and digital adult literacy courses;
· A childcare centre operating from St Paul’s Catholic School;
· Parenting programs for people with young children, or who are in the final stages of pregnancy.
· A course on nutrition is being planned for the future.
“We are facilitating a lot of activities that engage with people and add value to the community. We recently established the position of a community development officer, who has established a community reference group to ensure the activities we are delivering are responding to the needs of the community.
“We are a lot more than a community housing provider,” Mr Gourlay said.
In a show of community support for those in need, Priceline pharmacies provided care packages to women fleeing domestic violence.
An initiative of Priceline pharmacy at Kingston, each of the 150 packages are made up of personal care products worth around $200 including hairdryers, shampoo, toothbrushes, toothpaste and other toiletries and cosmetics.
The packages are the result of a team effort between Priceline’s national suppliers and head office, as well as southern Tasmanian Priceline pharmacies who provided stock and volunteers to put the 150 packages together, outside of work hours.
Priceline Kingston Owner Matthew Pilkington said the business was inspired to help after hearing about the Rapid Rehousing program, a collaboration between CatholicCare Tasmania, Centacare Evolve Housing, the Tasmanian Government and community housing providers, to ensure immediate options for safe, secure and longer term rehousing for those at risk of homelessness as the result of domestic violence.
“We were wondering how we could possibly assist those people at that time when they were accessing those houses and having to leave their own homes, and we thought some of our products might be of assistance,” he said.
Mr Pilkington said he hoped to make the donation of care packages to CatholicCare ongoing.
“There are 50 homes launched each year for four years under the Rapid Rehousing program [and] we are hoping to replicate this donation each year so there are packages available when the new homes come online, and then again hopefully prior to Christmas for the other refuges operated by CatholicCare.”
CatholicCare Tasmania Executive Director Tim Gourlay, gratefully accepted the care packages calling the initiative “a wonderful partnership between private, community and government sectors.”
“This is a very important initiative as many of our clients can find themselves in crisis accommodation in a stressful and vulnerable state; often with access to little more than the clothing they are wearing,” he said.
Mr Gourlay said the care packages would be distributed immediately to clients accessing CatholicCare’s housing options, young women’s emergency accommodation service and Therapeutic Residential Care homes.
The dedication of CatholicCare Tasmania’s Multicultural Services Program (MSP) volunteers to the lives of new humanitarian entrants to the State, was recognised recently with a special Christmas lunch and thank-you held at New Town.
One of 40 male volunteers out of the 167 who give up their time to be a part of theprogram, retiree Tony Heath said he loved being an MSP volunteer.
“I started about 16 months ago because of an awareness of refugees and I wanted to do something to help them,” he said.
“It is great, I love it.”
Mr Heath who also volunteers providing transport to a weekly study group run for students from refugee and asylum seeker backgrounds, as well as with Second Bite which provides food for those in need in the community, said he found it particularly rewarding to watch the journey of the families he met as an MSP volunteer.
“The different families I meet are one of the greatest rewards,” he said.
“I get on really well with them [and am amazed] seeing how they have travelled and how they have managed to get through, arrived here and how things have improved – especially with what they have experienced.”
“One of the families [I helped] had been in refugee camps for 20 years.”
Mr Heath said he would encourage others to become a MSP volunteer.
“It’s very rewarding and if you are busy you can simply give what you can,” he said.
The MSP program, which provides support for new humanitarian entrants in Hobart, has had the help of more than 600 dedicated volunteers since it began sign-ups in 2005.
MSP Volunteer Coordinator Akia Chabot said every volunteer was an integral part of the program’s success.
“Our volunteers offer a warm welcome to the humanitarian entrants and help orient them to their new life in Tasmania,” he said.
“They set up on arrival accommodation, greet them at the airport, help them with shopping and appointments, teach them how to catch the bus, help get their children enrolled in school, find a rental property and help them learn about Australian customs and language.”
Mr Chabot said the volunteer’s connection with those they helped often went much further than the support they provided.
“The volunteers assist their families for the time that they are with the program and then often keep in touch as friends for many years afterwards,” he said.
Anyone interested in volunteering can call CatholicCare on 6278 1660 or email Akia
When nine-year-old Lenah Valley Primary School student Caroline first heard about the plight of refugees she felt overwhelmed.
“I heard that there were refugees in Paris, Syria and Iraq [and] all around the world,” she said.
Now after contributing to a program being run by CatholicCare Tasmania, Caroline has been able to help refugees first-hand.
Caroline, along with other students from her grade three class at Lenah Valley Primary School, recently donated six bags of their own good quality clothing for refugee children in need.
Caroline’s mother, Baidaa, herself a Syrian migrant, believes that it’s important for her daughter to have a connection to her motherland.
“I want her to do her best for Syria, where all of my family are,” she said.
“I want her to know what its problems are, that there is a war there, and the situation is very hard.
“Caroline, all the time, asks ‘What is happening there in Syria?’ - she always wants to help.”
The children presented the clothes to CatholicCare Tasmania’s Humanitarian Settlement Services in a special class ceremony.
James Norman, Manager of CatholicCare Tasmania’s Multicultural Service Programs, accepted the donation during the ceremony and was impressed with the children’s generosity.
Mr Norman also mentioned the children’s awareness of the needs of others, speaking of their unique ‘global citizenship focus.’
The focus is no coincidence for Caroline’s teacher Rachael Andrews, for whom the discussion of other world traditions and cultures has always been an important part of class learning.
“Our school is definitely one that respects and appreciates diversity. We have many families from a range of backgrounds, so it’s the kind of place where you can’t help but feel empathy and relate to the needs of others,” she said.
“As a teacher it’s the most rewarding thing to see these young people who are our future embody these wonderful traits.”
“You hope that they can hold onto those ideals and feelings and carry on with those into adulthood.”
Grade 1 and 2 students from Sorell Primary School also invited Mr Norman to their school for a presentation of gifts in support of humanitarian entrants.
The students, their teachers and families donated food items for hampers, and toys to Mr Norman, that will be given to former refugee families and humanitarian entrants who have been settled in Hobart by CatholicCare Tasmania.
Stitch is part of Centacare’s Settlement Grants Programs, which provide a range of Government and community grant funded programs to support new humanitarian entrants in Southern Tasmania on arrival and during their settlement journey, for up to five years.