Grampians Community Health is calling on community members to help strengthen their health services and programs.
This April, GCH will officially launch their Consumer Advisory Committee (CAC) and are seeking expressions of interest from a range of community members to become involved.
The new committee will bring the voice and experience of GCH consumers into the formal planning and decision-making processes of the organisation. This will be an important link between members of the community and the GCH Board of Directors, who have full support of the initiative.
CEO, Greg Little explains that the establishment of the CAC came about because of a “need to know that what GCH is doing is right, of good quality and well known in the community. And if it’s not, why not, and how do we do better.”
“GCH are part of the community, we want the community to be part of GCH by engaging and empowering them to influence the direction and quality of care of GCH services”.
GCH is aiming to recruit a cross section of the community from different locations that can help GCH to achieve their vision of ‘healthy, resilient people and communities’ and their purpose ‘to lead the change toward improved health and wellbeing of people in our region’.
“GCH was founded on providing services that the community needs and keeps evolving as the community does. Our townships are not the same as they were in 1986 and neither is GCH, therefore we need to continually hear from local people, our service users, the other services and even the people who don’t use our services for different reasons”.
Ideally the group will include people with a disability, people from Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities, LGBTQI people, and culturally and linguistically diverse people.
“Health and social services such as Aged Care, Family Violence and Mental Health have been in the news a lot lately since the Royal Commissions found system failings in these areas. It is very important now that while the government is looking to invest in these areas to fix the problems, GCH knows what the community needs locally so that we can be part of the solution”.
“For services such as alcohol and other drugs, gambling, and chronic disease management for instance, just because they aren’t in the news doesn’t mean to say they don’t have an impact in our community and if it is a priority locally then GCH can be advocates for change”.
The group will meet four times a year to discuss community needs and how GCH are meeting them. “It could be as simple as our documentation and brochures- do they make sense to people in the community, do they make you want to come to GCH if you need assistance.”
There are several vacancies to fill, including up to four GCH consumers or carers, up to four interested community members and two stakeholders or partners in service provision.
If you are interested in helping to improve the services GCH deliver in the community, this is your chance to bring your voice! To register your interest in being a part of the Consumer Advisory Committee drop into GCH for an expression of interest form or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Grampians Community Health in response to COVID-19 (Coronavirus)
Grampians Community Health (GCH) is committed to keeping our clients, staff, volunteers and community safe and healthy during this time. Our service continues to offer support to our clients, just in a different way to meet the requirements of COVID-19 isolation guidelines.
Grampians Community Health provides a wide range of services to the communities of the Pyrenees, Grampians, Wimmera, Central Goldfields and Southern Grampians.
In the fight against the spread of Coronavirus, Grampians Community Health are temporarily closing the doors for client attendance at its Horsham, Ararat, Warracknabeal and St Arnaud offices as GCH staff are now working from their homes where possible while delivering ongoing support to clients.
Grampians Community Health CEO Mr. Greg Little said, “In order to ensure the long term availability of staff for client services, Grampians Community Health has enacted its business continuity plan, the priority is to continue to provide essential services while modelling the recommended practices of social distancing, hand hygiene, and support to vulnerable people.”
Grampians Community Health delivers a wide range of services in areas of aged care, home care, mental health, alcohol and other drugs, family violence, gambling, general counselling, Employee Assistance Programs, the NDIS, community transport, housing, community nursing, chronic disease management and Drink and Drug Drive courses.
“Grampians Community Health programs including counselling, case management, NDIS, therapeutic treatment, behaviour change, family violence and homelessness support, mental health and aged care packages, and home support will mainly be delivered via video conference or telephone contact by our staff working from their home”, said Mr. Little.
Grampians Community Health has also commenced a ‘Home Isolation Support Service’ to residents of Northern Grampians Shire in response to the Coronavirus to assist people to get the support they need to remain at home safely.
Mr Little said “depending on what kind of assistance people need we put them in contact with our intake workers for further information and referral to services within Grampians Community Health. We also connect people with other organisations if we don’t have the services they require.”
Regular updates from the Department of Human Services and the Australian Government are provided to Grampians Community Health other health services in the region so that health services can be provided in the safest possible manner.
“If you or other people you know are planning to come to Grampians Community Health for support or services, before coming please contact us on 5358 7400, we might be able to save you a trip to get your support.” said Mr Little
Grampians Community Health Home Isolation Support Service can provide the support you need.
If you or someone you know is self-isolating we can help you.
Contact GCH for assistance, call 5358 7400 or send us an email email@example.com.
You’re not alone.
Northern Grampians Shire and Ararat Rural City
Monday to Friday – 9am to 5pm
A boost to community mental health
Awareness and support for people who have a mental illness in the Grampians region will be boosted by a fundraising program of Horsham and Stawell Toyota and Kia.
Mrs. Debbie Hart, General Manager Stawell Toyota and Kia said that a portion of every car sold and financed, serviced, along with every part sold is put aside for services that support our community.
Mental illness has a substantial impact on people and the community, with studies indicating that as many as one in five people aged 16-65 experience mental illness in any one year.
Mrs. Hart said “We are very aware that there is a huge need to increase the mental health supports available to people in our community and Horsham and Stawell Toyota and Kia believe that their contribution can make a difference in someone’s life”.
“For this reason we are pleased to be able to provide Grampians Community Health with a donation of $11,300 to go towards mental health community programs” Mrs. Hart said
Grampians Community Health is a not for profit charity that provides community mental health services, psychological therapy, counselling and carers support in the Central Highlands, Grampians and Wimmera Southern Mallee
Grampians Community Health CEO Mr. Greg Little said that the donation by Horsham & Stawell Toyota & Kia has come at an opportune time.
“We have been looking at ways that we can do more in early intervention and reducing the stigma of mental illness, and the incredible generosity of H&S T&K will translate into more direct engagement with the community, businesses and individuals around mental health”, said Mr. Little
“The issues that stem from someone having a mental illness aren’t solved simply” said Mr. Little, “they take the involvement of the whole community, business and professional supports working together to make a difference”.
Anyone wishing to access any of the Grampians Community Health services can easily do so by calling 5358 7400.
On the 6th of September Grampians Youth Events held their Heroes and Villains disco as a part of the Stawell Performing Arts Fest. Many youth attended the night and had a blast dancing away to the tunes supplied by a local DJ. Throughout the night, there was so much energy and best-dressed prizes were handed out thanks to generous donations from local businesses. The Grampians Youth Events Youth Committee planned, organised, set up and ran the event for the evening.
It was a success due to thorough planning and newly obtained organisational skills demonstrated by Grampians Youth Events. Sixty people enjoyed themselves eating and dancing in a friendly fun atmosphere, listening to good music in a great environment.
Annie S, Grampians Youth Events Committee Member has been volunteering since the Youth Gathering in July where the group was formed.
“We worked really hard in the week coming up to the event. In the end it all paid off. I was super impressed with the local businesses who generously donated a variety of quality goods from vouchers to manchester. Thank you so much to the fifty young people who attended and the other volunteers who did a great job helping out by doing jobs such as driving the buses from Halls Gap and Ararat, to decorating the hall. The friendly and respectful security guards from Horsham did a great job and we look forward to other events with their support. We had a diverse crowd and everyone was welcoming and inclusive”.
Melissa Mair from Grampians Community Health who has been supporting the young people on this journey said, “I couldn’t be prouder of their effort and achievements”.
GYE extend a big thank you to Stawell Neighbourhood House, Stawell Performing Arts Company Inc. (SPACI) and Grampians Community Health for their involvement, guidance and support of Stawell FReeZa Grampians Youth Event and Northern Grampians Shire Council for providing the venue.
The group is currently planning for more fantastic events for next year. If you would like to be involved in any way please contact Melissa Mair at Grampians Community Health Ph: 5358 7400.
Anyone wishing to access any of the Grampians Community Health services can easily do so by calling 5358 7400.
A program between Grampians Community Health and Stawell Regional Health has made a huge difference in the lives of people living with chronic disease, and recently for one man, this has literally saved a life.
The ‘Take Action Nurse’ is a program for people with some kind of chronic illness, such as diabetes, musculoskeletal problem, cardiovascular or pulmonary disease. This program is funded by the WestVic Primary Health Network with the intention of putting people in control of their illness and avoiding preventable hospital admissions.
“The Take Action Nurse program provides such a great opportunity for people to learn how to take action about their health”, said Kathy Day, General Manager at Grampians Community Health.
In 2018-19, Grampians Community Health had almost 100 people joining this program, this equates to around 500 sessions with practical information and follow-up sessions with Sue Fontana, the ‘Take Action Nurse’.
Recently, Sue Fontana received a wonderful phone call from Kevin who she had seen as part of the TAN program.
“Just letting you know I am at the Royal Melbourne Hospital waiting on open-heart surgery. If I make it through you would have saved my life. And if I don’t make it you gave me a chance. I don’t know what to say to you but thanks and that doesn’t seem enough –god bless and hope to see you in the near future,” said Kevin.
Kevin had been seeing the Take Action Nurse when he was asked by Sue if he had any other questions and he mentioned that he had pain in his jaw and down his arms and tightness across his chest on a few times that week.
“I immediately accompanied him to see a GP and he was referred directly to the hospital for follow up,” said Sue Fontana.
By the end of August the client contacted Sue once again, he was overwhelmed with gratitude. “He said that by all the reports he would not have lived until his next GP appointment in September after tests indicated he had a 90% heart blockage and needed immediate surgery,” said Sue Fontana
Rhys Duncan, Director of Primary and Community Care with Stawell Regional Health said the partnership was a fantastic program that continues to provide real outcomes for our community.
“Living with a chronic illness is often daunting so we are really pleased that this partnership is providing people with support that builds their capacity to be in control of their lives,” said Rhys Duncan.
“We have seen that after a few sessions, many clients feel confident and are able to manage their conditions on their own, knowing Stawell Regional Health and Grampians Community Health are there to fall back on if they need it,” added Rhys Duncan.
People wanting to access the Take Action Nurse can contact Grampians Community Health on (03)53587400, or talk to their GP about services available to them.
The following story is not unusual.
“I am 17 and used to live with my mum and her boyfriend but I had to leave. Mum’s boyfriend used to hit me when mum wasn’t around and that was a lot because she worked at a pub and was often working over 40 hours a week. He used to scream at me and make me clean up after him and his friends. I didn’t like his friends, some of them would stare at me all the time and it scared me.
I knew mum wouldn’t believe me if I told her so one day when she was at work and her boyfriend was asleep I took the backpack I had packed under my bed and ran away.
I had no place I could go, and I couldn’t return home, I would get into more trouble. I stayed the first few nights at some friends’ houses but I didn’t want their parents to know I was around in case my mum was looking for me. I couldn’t go back there.
I stopped going to school, just in case my mum turned up or called the school and the teachers told her I was there.
I went to Centrelink to talk to them about getting some money as I knew that my friends wouldn’t be able to help me for long.
It was really hard because I had to prove that I was not a dependent. This took a really long time and I thought for a while that it was never going to happen.
Finally I started receiving payments but keeping them was so hard. It is really hard to look for a job when you’ve got nowhere to live or shower.
I decided that I would look for a house but the real estates would ask how much I was getting paid and they wouldn’t even put my applications in, when I asked why I haven’t been accepted, they said that I wouldn’t be able to afford the rent.”
Youth homelessness continues to be one of the major issues that Grampians Community Health and other social support agencies are confronted with in our community.
Homelessness week is held from 4th to 10th of August 2019, and Grampians Community Health asks all people to consider some of the underlying causes of why our young people, just like in the true story above find themselves homeless.
The disparity between Youth allowance or Newstart allowance and the average cost of housing is huge, Australia wide, this disparity exists even with low income earners and rental prices.
- A person on Youth Allowance under 18 years of age living at home earns $249.20 fortnightly, and if a person on Youth Allowance under 18 years of age living out of home earns $455.20 fortnightly.
- A person on Newstart allowance that is a single adult with no children earns $489.70 fortnightly, and a person on Newstart allowance that is single with dependent children earn $529.80 fortnightly.
- The average cost of a 1 bedroom place in the Stawell area is $200 per week, on average rentals are costing on average $165 to $440 per week through Australia.
As part of moving into a rental there must be 2 weeks and Bond paid prior to collecting the keys, which isn’t always thought about either.
If you add on the average cost of amenities it is understandable that our homelessness rate has increased by 11% in the past 8 years.
Grampians Community Health has confidential support services for people who are, or may be facing homelessness. Anyone wishing to access any of the Grampians Community Health services can easily do so by calling 5358 7400.
We are holding a breakfast on Friday the 9th August 8AM at 8-22 Patrick Street Stawell, to help bring awareness of homelessness to the community, if you would like to join us, please call 03 5358 7400 to RSVP
Wheelchair accessible vehicle comes in Spades at Grampians Community Health
It isn’t often adults choose to sit in the back seat of a car, it’s like sitting in the middle seat on a plane – the vision isn’t good, there isn’t as much legroom, it’s just not as comfortable. For some people with limited mobility their travel options were limited, sit up the back in wheelchair accessible buses or rely on someone to physically lift and transfer them into and out of a car. Grampians Community Health now has a Toyota Spade available to the community thanks to Jamie Erwin and the Grampians Toy Club and a number of generous community and business donors.
The Toyota Spade is a stylish, fully imported factory purpose-built vehicle, designed for people with mobility and wheelchair needs.
The Spade features an electric sliding left-hand door, high roofline and low flat floor; it also has a front passenger seat that is a ‘Toyota’ wheelchair. This means that someone needing a wheelchair can enter and alight the vehicle from the passenger side with ease, whilst staying comfortably seated in the wheelchair.
Grampians Community Health CEO Mr Greg Little said that when he was contacted by Jamie Erwin from the Grampians Toy Club with the offer of the car he had no hesitation in agreeing to the vehicle.
“Grampians Community Health provides vehicles for use in our older persons groups and NDIS programs as well as the community car for non-emergency patient transport so to have a vehicle specifically manufactured to transport people in a wheelchair in the fleet will provide an even better service for people in our community and their carers” said Greg.
Jamie Erwin of the Grampians Toy Club came up with the concept of purchasing a Toyota Spade after seeing a need in our community to allow people needing wheelchairs or with limited mobility to travel with dignity in cars, club members fully agreed to support the purchase.
“Often people end up in a wheelchair through illness, accident or frailty and due to this situation, they lose some of the things we take for granted, such as how we get around in cars. The Spade allows them to sit up front, next to the driver for good social interaction, good visibility, dignity and a feeling of belonging rather than feeling relegated to the back of a van.” said Jamie
Donations towards the purchase of the vehicle were provided by Grampians Toy Club, Grampians Community Health, Grampians Excavation and Soil Yard, Rick Steel, West Cranes and Access Hire, CKS Engineering, Monaghans Real Estate, Corinella Farms, Stawell Toyota, Moore Bulk Haulage, Anglican Parish Church Stawell, Northern Grampians Shire Council, Stawell Auto Wreckers and Heather & Robert Oliver in Memory of their son Peter Oliver.
Greg Little said that the vehicle couldn’t have been purchased without the donations and Grampians Community Health was grateful for their foresight in contributing to this car.
“As a charity, donations to Grampians Community Health are fully tax deductible, however I am sure in this instance that was the last thing on the donor’s minds as they genuinely wanted to provide something in our community that could change someone’s life,” said Greg.
The Toyota Spade will be available for community use through the Grampians Community Health ‘Community Car’ program. To access any of Grampians Community Health services phone 03 53587400.
Grampians Community Health is a not for profit charity with DGR status for tax-deductible donations towards its programs.
Grampians Toy Club is a community organisation that is primarily a Classic and Collectible Vehicle Club with a mission of holding various fundraising activities that contributes money back into the community of Stawell.
Grampians Community Health warming up winter with Coats for the Cold
Employees at Grampians Community Health have started a new local initiative to help people fight of the cold this winter.
Feeling Cold? Take a coat
Want to help? Leave one
One of the most daunting situations during winter, is to keep yourself warm, and not everyone always has the means to do that. With that in mind, employees at Grampians Community Health are joining forces to help people who need a warm coat.
Grampians Community Health Chief Executive Greg Little said that this winter has come in quickly, very cold and wet so far in the region with little warning that the weather would turn as quickly as it did.
“Winter can be a tough for many people in our region, and we need to consider that older people, homeless people and others who may be going through a rough time suffers the most”, said Mr Little
Kathy Day, General Manager of People and Community Support said that at the entrance of the Stawell Health and Community Centre in Patrick Street Grampians Community Health has installed a rack for donated winter coats.
“People are coming in and getting a coat if they need, and others are just leaving one to help out” said Mrs Day
Since the installation of the rack in Stawell, Grampians Community Health have had great response from staff and the community, and are planning on setting up racks in its Horsham and Ararat offices.
Mr Little said “It is great to see people getting involved by donating a coat, it is such a simple way to make sure people are warm and cared for in the winter season”
“We would welcome anyone who has a coat in the wardrobe they are not using to bring it in and hang it on the rack for someone to benefit from”, he added.
Anyone wishing to access any of the Grampians Community Health services including homelessness or aged care services can easily do so by calling 5358 7400.
Mental Awareness Sessions
Jeremey Forbes from HALT – Hope and Assistance to Local Tradies
Knowing what to look for and where to go for help in the Grampians and Wimmera is behind a new program being brought to the area this week.
Money raised from the Healthy Blokes Over 40’s Football Match held in Ararat last August is being utilised to promote Men’s Health, and mental health in particular. HALT (Hope and Assistance to Local Tradies) will be partnering with Grampians Community Health to provide this unique insight into dealing with mental health and local responses.
Greg Little CEO of Grampians Community Health said that a commitment was made by Grampians Community Health to use the funds from the extremely well supported Over 40’s Footy match to hold Mental Health awareness raising sessions and First Aid courses at places where men frequent.
“The HALT sessions are the first step in honouring this commitment and investing in the mental health of blokes in our community” said Mr Little.
HALT was developed by Jeremy Forbes from Castlemaine, a builder and an artist with the support of a concerned community. Jeremy went on to host the first ‘SAVE YOUR BACON’ Brekky in November 2013, for those in the building industry. It all started in a timber yard of a local hardware store, Rotarians behind the BBQ cooking a breakfast of bacon and eggs and a free goodie bag for all who attended.
Jermey will host next week’s sessions in the region, conveying a positive message and awareness to workers that are traditionally less likely to come forward when faced with their own mental health issues.
Jeremey Forbes explains that HALT aims to remind people they are valued by their community, and direct them to support services, both local and national, should they need them.
Kathleen Doole from Grampians Community Health said that although HALT’s original focus was on the trade sector we are excited to extend the sessions in the Grampians to local football clubs, Men’s sheds, and Local businesses.
Grampians Community Health are also holding an open session in Stawell on Wednesday 5th June at 12pm until 1pm for anyone who might be interested in hearing Jeremy’s inspirational talk. For more information about the Grampians Community Health Halt events or if you are interested in having a HALT session later on in the year please contact Grampians Community Health 03 5358 7400.
Anyone wishing to access any of the Grampians Community Health services can easily do so by calling 03 5358 7400.