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.
‘Back fairness this election’, Wimmera organisations tell pollies.
People in rural and remote parts of the Wimmera are being denied the services they need and dramatic change is needed, local social service bodies have warned.
In a united call to all parties ahead of the state election, leaders from multiple agencies have urged candidates to address inequities and support organisations that are working to combat discrimination and disadvantage.
The organisations include Grampians Pyrenees Primary Care Partnership, Women’s Health Grampians, Grampians Disability Advocacy, Grampians Community Health and the Warracknabeal-based disability organisation Woodbine.
Grampians Pyrenees Primary Care Partnership‘s Emily Anderson said the region’s health workforce is suffering.
“There are gaps in specialist expertise, inadequate resources and training opportunities and considerable staff turnover,” she said.
“This has lead to worrying levels of uncertainty and instability across the sector and compromised patient outcomes, particularly in rural areas”
Marianne Hendron, CEO of Women’s Health Grampians, warned of growing disparities in pay and leadership, and the over representation of women in unpaid or poorly paid roles.
“This is compounded by reduced access to important services, including family violence support and sexual and reproductive health services,” she said.
“Strategies to address inequities in these and other areas need to be sustained, meaningful and well targeted.”
Grampians Disability Advocacy‘s Deb Verdon also backed the call, saying Wimmera people with a disability face significant barriers to full community participation.
“At every turn a person with a disability is asked to provide medical evidence about their situation, be it by Centrelink or the NDIS,” Ms Verdon said.
“Reports from GPs are no longer good enough. Support agencies demands a report from a specialist, but where are the specialists to be found?”
Greg Little, CEO of Grampians Community Health, says policymakers and political leaders need to realise that “rural and remote” is not the same as “regional”.
“People in small rural communities have the same right to access services as those in metropolitan or regional communities,” he said.
“The tyranny of distance, poor digital connectivity and a lack of public transport require government to ensure local services can extend into these areas.”
“This can be achieved by adequate funding that measures the outcomes for rural people not just how many people come through the door.”
Woodbine CEO Bernie O’Connor nominated a chronic lack of suitable accommodation for people with disabilities as a major concern for the region.
“Woodbine receives ongoing enquiries from increasingly desperate guardians who are seeking suitable accommodation for vulnerable people and those with particular support needs.
“The uncertain status of accommodation for people with a disability has been reflected in the absence of investors and new designs. Where once the support funding was the significant hurdle, under NDIS it seems that it is now the absence of appropriate infrastructure.”
The joint call is part of the organisations’ membership of the Victorian Council of Social Service (VCOSS), the peak body for the state’s social and community sector.
VCOSS CEO Emma King said policymakers and political candidates must listen closely to the voices of regional communities.
“People in local communities are best placed to identify local challenges and develop local solutions,” she said.
For further information on this story or comment, please contact:
VCOSS media enquiries: Ryan Sheales
0418 127 153
Getting the help you need locally is one of the key philosophies of Grampians Community Health. Local support is the key!
Grampians Community Health CEO Mr Greg Little said that more and more often people are required to travel to regional centres or the city to get assistance, and this can be cost prohibitive and appointments can take time to get to.
We understand this, as GCH is a part of rural communities – often meetings we need to go to are in far flung cities, the lack of understanding that a one hour appointment in Melbourne is a whole day is often not there.
Grampians Community Health is continuing to look at how we can provide services for people and their families in their own towns with offices in Stawell, Ararat, Warracknabeal and St Arnaud, and in many cases GCH, workers and volunteers may even come to you. Very few GCH programs have a cost to attend.
“We have just opened our new premises in Darlot St Horsham meaning better facilities and access for people in the Wimmera” added Mr Little.
Grampians Community Health has programs for individuals and families including: withdrawal and rehabilitation if you are impacted by gambling, alcohol and drugs, generalist counselling, support and intervention of family violence, avoiding homelessness, coping as a younger person or a LGBTI+ community member, being a supported older person, making social connections, and living life to the fullest as a person with a disability.
Mr Little said that the National Disability Insurance Scheme and My Aged Care have opened up a lot of choice and options for people to access.
“As a local service organisation we are seeing a lot of older people and people with a disability choose to use Grampians Community Health under these new programs, and with this GCH has been able to expand the programs we offer to meet an individual’s request” said Mr Little
No fixed address?
People who are homeless now have the opportunity to have a say in electing the next government thanks to an initiative of the Victorian Electoral commission supported by Grampians Community Health. Kathy Day, General Manager of People and Community Support with Grampians Community Health said that “the ‘no fixed address’ option now available gives the opportunity to people experiencing homelessness to participate in their right to vote, and not receive a fine.”
Grampians Community Health, have helped hundreds of people experiencing homelessness in our communities for the past 24 years. We all want to feel safe and have a place to live. As we go through life, sometimes we find ourselves in situations we did not plan.
“People do not choose to be in a situation where they are homeless and having to struggle with the harshness of not having a safe place to live”, said Kathy Day
The Victorian Electoral Commission option of using ‘no fixed address’ is a welcome improvement because it is important that everyone can exercise their democratic right to vote. Local, state and federal governments make decisions that affect people who are experiencing homelessness.
“Giving people the right to participate assists them to feel part of the community” said Gemma Homelessness and Family Violence Support Worker at Grampians Community Health.
People experiencing homelessness can use ‘no fixed address’ when using services at Grampians Community Health, when they go to doctors, dealing with Centrelink or the Department Health and Human Services, registering with employment agencies, at neighbourhood houses and real estates. These organisations can recognise homelessness as an issue and do their best to adapt to people’s needs. Grampians Community Health assists people by offering to use our location as a mailing address.
“It’s every person’s right to access services and take part in democratic processes. To be able to assist people to do this regardless of their circumstances is something GCH is always pleased to help with” said Gemma.
You can find printed copies of the ‘no fixed address enrolment’ form at Grampians Community Health and anyone wishing to access any of our services can easily do so by calling 5358 7400.
For more information about how we can help you, call us on 03 5358 7400 or read more about our services.
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.