Thank you to all Volunteers
How can we ever thank enough for the wonderful work all volunteers do to support our community health programs?
Your dedicated help is invaluable to each member of our community you assist, through a variety of Grampians Community Health programs.
Grampians Community Health Chief Executive Greg Little said, “some of you drive people to medical appointments out of town, some run an ongoing, fantastically successful weekly exercise program for older people, others regularly visit people who are isolated and lonely, who want companionship, and a chance to get out and about, and some of you are trained to help GCH in relief and recovery centres during an emergency, such as a bushfire or a flood”.
During this National Volunteers Week, GCH would like to thank each and every one of you for your commitment and hard work. Because as Volunteers, you offer your skills, expertise, and life experience and the invisible thread you weave throughout our community adds another dimension to the fabric of our organisation.
As all Volunteers know, and many studies have shown, helping others promotes happiness – the more we give, the kinder we are, and the happier we feel. So, by being a Volunteer, you can help yourself while helping others.
To quote some of you:
“I love being a volunteer driver because I know I am helping people who have no-one else to drive them to their medical appointments. I would like to think that when I am older, I will have someone who would like to help me”
“When I lead an exercise class for older people, I feel I am really contributing to their wellbeing, to their physical, mental and emotional health. That gives me much enjoyment and satisfaction.”
“I love visiting people who really need company, and I enjoy their stories and conversation very much.”
“My Volunteering gives me a sense of being valued and of being of value to the community”.
If you are reading this article and are thinking you would like to Volunteer at GCH, call into one of our reception in Stawell, Ararat or Horsham or ring 5358 7400, we will help you through the steps you will need to take to become a Volunteer with us.
Workers health and wellbeing
One third of our waking hours are spent at work, making our workplaces an important place for our health and wellbeing. This is why a network of Ararat organisations and businesses not only committed to supporting and promoting Active April within their workplace during last month they are also focusing on employee health and wellbeing for the long term.
The increase in preventable disease and workplace injury resulting from unhealthy living is a major cause of workplace absence or disruption, and lifestyle risk factors such as smoking, excessive drinking; poor diet, inactivity and excess body weight can contribute to time away from work. Workplaces in the Ararat Rural City understand this, and have committed to ensuring their workers are encouraged and enabled to have good health while in their work environment. As a show of commitment a Workplace Health and Wellbeing Network has been established. The network is being coordinated by Health Promotion staff at Grampians Community Health and East Grampians Health and consists of a range of workplaces from large manufacturing companies, Health Services, Child and Sporting services, Local Government and small businesses. The aim of the network is to work as a collective to create supportive working environments and work culture as well as making the healthy choice the easy choice for the employee. So far the Network representatives have shared policies, program ideas, training opportunities, and general experience in implementing Health and Wellbeing strategies.
It has been estimated that the healthiest Australian employees are three times more productive at work than their colleagues which is a huge incentive for workplaces to take action. Sally Perry of AME Systems says ‘The benefits of a healthy workplace for employers are worth the investment. Benefits include such things as improved work performance and productivity, reduced absenteeism and sick leave, decreased incidence of attending work when sick, decreased frequency and cost of workers compensation, improved staff morale, satisfaction and motivation and improved corporate image and attraction/retention of employees.’
‘Traditionally, the health of our population has fallen on health services usually supporting people when they are becoming unwell or already sick’ informed Rachel Whittaker from Grampians Community Health. “We have now learnt that if we can provide the right environments to encourage good health, people not only perform better in these environments such as workplaces but it also contributes to their overall health in other parts of their life’ she added
If you would like more information on the networks progress or how to join please contact Rachel Whittaker at Grampians Community Health on 53587400
Young people in the Northern Grampians Shire will have a revamped FreeZa program for the next three years.
Grampians Community Health in partnership with Stawell Performing Arts Company Inc and the Stawell Neighbourhood House will work with young people aged 12-25 to deliver the FReeZA youth development program which provides opportunities to enjoy live band gigs, dance parties and other cultural, recreational and artistic events in drug, alcohol and smoke-free supervised and safe venues.
Grampians Community Health Chief Executive Greg Little said that the strength of the partnership would be in using the expertise of each organisation to develop the FreeZa program in the Northern Grampians Shire.
“Grampians Community Health has a strong focus on supporting young people, Stawell Performing Arts Company has expertise in artistic and music events and the Stawell Neighbourhood House provides training and activities in a welcoming space. The intention is to marry these together to grow the capacity of young people to deliver the activities” said Mr Little.
“The three organisations already have very strong youth involvement and connections which we will be able to draw from as well” added Mr Little.
A group of young people with an interest in leading the FreeZa program will be recruited and provided with training to identify and deliver FreeZa events.
Stawell Neighbourhood House Manager Lisa Arnfield said that the agency partnership will very much be about supporting the development of the young people involved in FreeZa.
“Our role is not going to be to tell young people what they want, in many ways it will be a mentoring role to help them problem solve and learn” said Mrs Arnfield.
Stawell Performing Arts Company Inc President Dianne Stewart said that she was looking forward to adding FreeZa events to the growing calendar of performances and activities already provided in the Northern Grampians.
“We already have a number of young people keen to be involved in the FreeZa program, either through the committee or by offering their experience as mentors. We hope that as more young people come on board that we can set up a really good foundation for the growth of the local FreeZa program” said Ms Stewart.
FreeZa is funded by the Victorian Government. The Central Grampians LLEN will also be delivering FreeZa programs in the Northern Grampians Shire.
Young People wanting to be part of leading the FreeZaNG can email GCH@GrampiansCommunityHealth.org.au
Celebrating the abilities and artistic skills of people with a disability was a focus of an arts exhibition and contest held by Grampians Community Health in December to recognise International Day of People with a Disability.
The exhibition was an overwhelming success with many entries on show. The people in the community who attended throughout the week voted for their preferred art and craft with Mason Chamberlin being declared the winner.
Mason said that his painting is about the churning in your heart when you are feeling anxious. “I was grateful for being able to participate in the exhibition and very happy with the result” said Mason.
Grampians Community Health CEO Greg Little said that the quality of the art shown and the involvement of people from the local community made this art show a wonderful event.
“We wanted to acknowledge the strength, abilities and contribution people with a disability make to our community and the arts showcase and competition really achieved this” said Mr Little
Grampians Community Health General Manager Kathy Day said that often we take our abilities for granted, for people with disabilities it is important for us all to be aware of their abilities as without the awareness often they become excluded from participating fully in our community.
“Inclusion is the key, and it is one of Grampians Community Health core values. When we adapt programs and events such as the arts and craft exhibition for people with special abilities, we witness the brilliance of people who can contribute to our community.” Said Mrs Day.
Grampians Community Health works with many people with a disability who have challenges and need support, knowing that by helping them to explore their special abilities it enhances their life and wellbeing. The Grampians Community Health approach is to focus in their strengths and ability to perform well on an activity, by taking in consideration that some people are more analytical, and others are more visual or sound oriented we are able to enhance their abilities.
Mrs Day added “Disability changes not only the life of the person, it changes their family and the community, identifying their strength and giving them the opportunity to participate, we all benefit”.
Grampians Community Health is a provider of services under the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS).
“We are trying to be really flexible in the supports we provide eligible participants of the NDIS, providing the functional support and community inclusion that an individual needs” said Mr Little
Anyone wishing to access any of the Grampians Community Health services can easily do so by calling 5358 7400.
Have you ever asked yourself what would Christmas be like if you were alone, couldn’t afford presents or to buy lunch for your family? Unfortunately, for some people in our community this will be the reality this Christmas. Grampians Community Health is again this year hoping to ease this burden with the help of some beautiful donations.
It takes compassion and understanding to act knowing that there are many people in our community who feel as if they don’t belong, they feel lonely and the rush for gifts during Christmas can be sad time.
Grampians Community Health (GCH) work closely with many in helping people during periods of crisis, illness or distress. In 2017 GCH were contacted 30,000 times by people seeking support in areas such as family violence, alcohol and drug issues, gambling addiction, NDIS programs, homelessness, behavioural change, or seeking to talk to someone such as a counsellor.
Grampians Community Health CEO Greg Little said that when the community comes together to help a person in need, the bond between people deepens and it creates a greater sense of belonging.
“This is exactly what Spotlight in Horsham has achieved by creating craft groups and donating gifts to Grampians Community Health to pass on to vulnerable people in our community” said Mr Little
Local businesses such as Spotlight play a big part in helping the community. Gemma Beavis the Healthy Communities Program Leader at GCH said “each time we hand a gift that was donated by the community to our clients, their eye lights up. They are so grateful because at these times they feel as if they are treated like humans and belong in the community. For a moment they forget their traumas and the solitude of facing difficult times in their lives.”
Grampians Community Health is grateful to many business and community groups who donate basic goods to help our clients.
“Sometimes all a person needs is a dignity pack, such as the bags donated by the Country Women’s Association to people facing difficult times and at risk of homelessness, without the community helping us, our job would be more difficult” said Ms Beavis
“It is true Christmas spirit which is incredibly appreciated by Grampians Community Health and the people we provide services too, thank you so much all the local business and the overall community for lending us a hand to continue to help vulnerable people in our communities, not just now but throughout the year” added Mr Little
Anyone wishing to access any of the Grampians Community Health services can easily do so by calling 5358 7400.
STAND UP, SPEAK OUT AND ACT
In Australia on average, one woman a week is killed by their intimate partner according to Australia’s National Research Organisation for Women’s Safety. As we get closer to White Ribbon day, Grampians Community Health is calling out for this horrific reality to end.
“Being a man, a father, a brother, a son and a White Ribbon ambassador, I recognise that the movement to prevent men’s violence against women was built on the tireless efforts of women and women-led organisations throughout history,” said Daniel Bell, a family violence support worker at Grampians Community Health and White Ribbon Ambassador.
Grampians Community Health is an accredited White Ribbon organisation. White Ribbon acknowledges that men are also victims of family violence, but the undeniable fact is women are more likely than men to experience violence by an intimate partner; more likely to experience physical assault in their home and are more likely than men to be killed by an intimate partner.
Grampians Community Health CEO Mr Greg Little said these statistics are the sad reality of men’s violence against women, and its men’s responsibility to stand up, speak out and act to prevent men’s violence against women.
“Men standing side by side with each other and with women can change the way our society has empowered men over women. We must make a change in our communities, in our workplaces, in our homes and work to shape the attitudes and behaviours of other men” said Mr Little.
Wearing white and walking together on the streets is an opportunity to reflect on past choices, actions and mistakes, the good and the bad. Sometimes it is not easy, it is painful but we need to realise that without appreciating the bad you cannot ever truly appreciate the good; you can never truly understand how your actions have impacted others without reflecting on your behaviour and learning to empathise with those who you may have hurt.
“So what can we do as men? Although it can be difficult sometimes we can challenge other men’s attitudes, be a role model and take action, and not be silent when we are aware of negative behaviours towards women” said Daniel Bell.
Grampians Community Health will take part in the White Ribbon marches in Ararat on the 20th of November and in Horsham and Stawell on the 23rd of November.
Anyone wishing to access any of the Grampians Community Health services can easily do so by calling 5358 7400.
Women’s Health Week 2018
Women are great at caring for others, but often put themselves last when it comes to health. Grampians Community Health celebrated Women’s Health Week 2018, with an event designed for women to enjoy the company of friends, and relax. The ‘Girls Night In’ event was packed with activities for women to learn how to take care of themselves and have fun. We had health check, a beauty corner, love languages survey with information about relationship, personality test, fun and laugh. We also had the pleasure to have a Dietitian from Stawell Regional Health, who talked about the difference between dieting and creating mindful eating habits, and a representative of NGS Sports and leisure services with an open invitation to all, to take action and be proactive about physical health.
“It is vital to have the support of local business. We had the support of Stawell Toyota, Stawell Amcal Pharmacy and Solace Beauty Lounge and Wellness Spa, this support enables opportunities to promote the importance of women taking care of their physical, mental health as well as personal relationships, and how they can seek help when a problem arises” said Corrina Graham Manager at Grampians Community Health.
According to the Jean Hailes 2018 survey:
50.8% of women said they are overweight or obese, 34.3% does not get time to themselves on a weekly basis, and 23.9% cannot afford to see a health professional when they needed one.
Women’s Health Week is supported by Jean Hailes a recognised national digital gateway for women’s health, and not-for-profit organisation committed to improving women’s knowledge and understanding of complex health issues. For more information about Jean Hailes, please visit this link https://jeanhailes.org.au/
Talking about health struggles is not easy; there is help at hand. GCH has many services to help you, please call us on 03 5358 7400.
A new partnership that aims to improve the health and legal outcomes through the early intervention of legal problems has commenced at Grampians Community Health.
The two year Health Justice Partnership between the Central Highlands Community Legal Centre and Grampians Community Health is supported by the Victorian Government through funding from the Department of Justice.
The Health Justice Partnership (HJP) program is based at the Stawell Health and Community Centre and will also attend Ararat and Horsham Grampians Community Health (GCH) venues.
The HJP allows a Lawyer to become immersed in the day to day functions of a Community Health Service, providing services to the clients of the Grampians Community Health.
CEO of Grampians Community Health Mr Greg Little said he had no hesitation when approached by the Central Highland Community Legal Centre (CHCLC) to join with them in the HJP.
“A call came out of the blue on a Saturday morning from Lisa Buckland, Centre Manager of the CHCLC, asking me if I wanted to partner in having a HJP Lawyer working at GCH for our community – I couldn’t say yes quick enough!” said Mr Little
Lisa Buckland said that the Central Highland Community Legal Centre was just as excited as Grampians Community Health in bringing this innovative program to the Grampians and Wimmera.
“The increased awareness of family violence has highlighted the need for greater access to local legal support for people from all walks of life in our community. This is about giving back to the western Victorian community a program that has worked well in other areas and it has been a gap in the west of the State” said Ms Buckland.
CHCLC and GCH have appointed Ms Bronte Maddaford, a lawyer with practical experience in Family Law, Family Violence, Dispute Resolution and Mental Health to the HJP position, and Bronte will work from Grampians Community Health four days a week.
Ms Buckland said that the HJP Lawyer would be complimentary to the local privately practicing Lawyers.
“The focus for the HJP is on people who are vulnerable or disadvantaged, often where there is a gap that Legal Aid isn’t able to cover,” said Ms Buckland.
“We know that if people are able to identify and take action to address their legal issues there is a likelihood of reducing health problems including stress and anxiety” added Ms Buckland.
Part of Ms Maddaford’s role will be providing training to GCH staff and the broader health sector on identifying the correct and timely legal assistance for people.
Mr Little said that often people will confide in their community health professional on some of the issues that are impacting on them, and until now our staff have had a gap in how they could assist people.
“The Grampians Community Health staff will now have the knowledge and the resource in Bronte Maddaford to be able to get in early and stop legal issues progressing before they have an adverse impact on the health and welfare of a person or family” said Mr Little.
Contact with the Health Justice Lawyer or any of Grampians Community Health’s services can be made by calling 03 53587400 or dropping into the Horsham, Ararat or Stawell GCH offices.
Grampians Community Health moves into a new Horsham home
The Wimmera and Grampians own stand-alone community health service will provide greater social and community support when Grampians Community Health relocates to its new home in Horsham.
Grampians Community Health will commence operations from the 4th of September 2018 at the old ‘Wades’ building in Hamilton Street Horsham – the entry will be off Darlot St to provide ease of access.
With new home nearing completion, Grampians Community Health will close its David Street Home on the 31st of August to allow for the move to the Grampians Community Health service hub.
While the construction of the site has taken only eight months, the move from 25 David Street has been a journey that started in early 2017 when GCH received funding from the Victorian Government as part of the Rural Health Infrastructure Fund.
Grampians Community Health CEO Mr Greg Little said that the provision of this grant has assisted in the cost of construction of purpose built offices, treatment rooms, and meeting spaces that will also be available to other service providers and the community groups in the Wimmera.
“Before this grant we had been looking for a suitable and more centralised location in Horsham for some years, and with the Victorian Government funding we were able to refurbish the Wade’s building into something really special for our community – and in a great location well within reach of other organization we work closely, such as Headspace” said Mr Little.
Kate Astbury, General Manager of Business Support and Innovation at Grampians Community Health said that it is great to have a purposefully designed building with a bright and new environment for the staff and community.
“This new community health hub is ideal and will house several services such as counselling, programs for new mothers such as healthy mums-healthy babies, our gambling alcohol and drug services including home-based withdrawal and day rehabilitation, a comprehensive family violence support service, and the Wimmera Drug Action Taskforce.” said Kate Astbury
Grampians Community Health is looking forward to its new home after having outgrown their site in David St.
“25 David Street was originally Palm lodge and then Grampians Community Health so it has served the community very well for many years, and in many ways we are sad to leave such a history, however it can’t compare to the new Hamilton St community health hub in the facilities, services and the opportunities for new programs we can offer” said Mr Little.
General Manager People and Community Support at Grampians Community Health, Mrs Kathy Day said that the opportunity to grow NDIS services for people with a disability was one of the many things that excited her about the new hub.
“Grampians Community Health has a history of welcoming change; one of them was to become a NDIS Service Provider, which has been a strong growth area for us in Ararat and Stawell. While we have already started providing NDIS services in the Wimmera, our new home will give us a higher profile and be more accessible for people with a disability to get the NDIS services from us that they need.” said Mrs Day.
“Grampians Community Health in Horsham might have a new address, but the heartfelt support and services that people have come to trust Grampians Community Health for will not change. The upgraded facilities will only help strengthen what we can provide to help you, your family and our community.” said Kate Astbury.
Grampians Community Health Horsham will be closed for onsite appointments in Horsham from the 31st August until it reopens at Hamilton Street on the 4th of September 2018 at 9AM. People needing to access any of the Grampians Community Health services can do so by calling 5358 7400.
Homelessness Week 2018
As part of Homelessness Week 2018, Grampians Community Health hosted the second Annual Breakfast Event on Friday 10th August, on behalf of the Wimmera and Grampians Accommodation Network. Around 40 committed community members came together to learn more about the impacts of homelessness in our local community, and how we can all work together towards solutions. Students from Stawell Secondary College gave thought-provoking presentations, and Stawell Woolworths provided all the food and cooked a BBQ breakfast for everyone to enjoy. Northern Grampians Shire Mayor Cr Tony Driscoll supported the awareness-raising event as did Clarks Furniture as one of the many local businesses who so willingly support the variety of needs of people who are homeless.
The event highlighted that we might not readily ‘notice’ homelessness locally. A homeless person can be someone sleeping on their friend’s couch, staying at the caravan park, sleeping in a swag at our local lakes, and or sleeping in their car. Homelessness is so much more than not having where to live; it is about not being able to afford stable accommodation and not being able to feel safe and secure in their home. Family Violence is one of the leading contributing factors to homelessness which is why Grampians Community Health is committed to providing support according to an individual’s or family’s needs, and work closely with other local service providers to ensure comprehensive support plans.
A significant outcome of the Breakfast Event 2018 has been the interest of community members coming together to keep this vital community conversation going.
If you would like to know more about the range of services provided by Grampians Community Health, please phone 5358 7400 during business hours.
If you know of someone who is homeless and needing support, please contact the 24-hour state-wide homelessness support line on 1800195114.