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 email@example.com.
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.
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.
Launch of Connecting2Community in the Grampians Wimmera Region
Connecting2Community is an initiative between Grampians Community Health and Ballarat Community Health is bringing a new peer designed and led model of mental health support to the Grampians/Wimmera region. Called Connecting2community, the program has been launched with the support of the Western Victorian Primary Health Network.
Launching the service in Horsham, the key drivers of the program were PHN CEO Dr Leanne Beagley, Sean Duffy CEO of Ballarat Community Health BCH and Greg Little CEO of Grampians Community Health as well as the peer workers who will deliver the service, Lucy Beaton, Shannan Flood, Rick Corney and Sara Cunningham-Smith who are all individuals with a lived experience and hold a formal qualification in Community Services.
It is great to see local services coming together, Grampians Community Health Chief Executive Greg Little said. “There was a gap identified in the service provision for people experiencing mental illness and a joint initiative between BCH and GCH has enabled us to deliver the exciting new program to the Wimmera and surrounds.”
The program is designed to help people tackle their mental illness through support, encouragement and advice as needed, to foster hope and determination for change. The program will see individuals paired with a peer worker to work together for six sessions to identify a goal and achieve an outcome.
“We will help individuals to identify and achieve goals big or small to work towards a rewarding positive future. That is why we are so excited about this program, this is an opportunity for people in our region to get the support they need when they are struggling. The peer support relates to the individuals and what they are experiencing”, said Grampians Community Health peer-worker Shannan Flood.
Mr Little said that “The program is being delivered across the Wimmera including Horsham, Stawell and Ararat with the other three workers based at Ballarat Community Health”.
“The great thing about this program is that people can self-refer to the service by sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org, or by calling the number 1800 056 400, and they can also ask their GP to make a referral” said Mr Little.
Anyone wishing to access any of the Grampians Community Health services can easily do so by calling 5358 7400.
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.