‘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
Anyone wishing to access any of the Grampians Community Health services can easily do so by calling 5358 7400.
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.
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.
Over 40’s Men’s Health Footy
There is sure to be a lot of laugh’s, some sore bodies and hopefully not too many old scores settle as the ‘Tiges’ take on the ‘Doggies’ this Sunday, the 5th of August at Alexandra Oval Ararat for the inaugural Grampians Community Health ‘Healthy Blokes Footy’ Match.
What is sure to be a great community event has an important message that men often don’t take good care of their mental and physical health, and all proceeds from the match will go towards holding Mental Health First Aid courses at local sporting clubs. These courses will provide club members with the tools to recognise when someone is struggling and support people with mental health problems.
Ararat’s Scott Turner who is playing in the match said that men’s lifestyles are the most significant contributor to poor health as they get older. “Knowing that we need to be alert to ours and other blokes mental health is just as important as the need to exercise, having a well-balanced diet to keep a healthy body weight”.
The health of Australia’s males report by The Australian Institute of Welfare stated that only one in four men aged 65 and over get sufficient physical activity, it also reported that males are three times more likely to commit suicide derived from poor lifestyles.
Grampians Community Health CEO Mr Greg Little said that men are often averse to look for treatment from a general practitioner or a specialist when they think something isn’t right.
“The bravado of men compounds their health issues as men are also less likely to use the supports, their mates and other social connections for help needed when things go wrong in their physical and mental health problems.” Said Mr Little
Scott Turner said the support received for the match has taken a life of its own, and it was fantastic to see the support for this good cause.
“We quickly had two great teams of men and women from across the Grampians and Wimmera to play, but as we have been planning the match more and more businesses joined in as they understand the importance of men’s health issues”, said Scott
This match is being supported by Grampians Community Health, AME Systems, The MPC Group, Brendan’s Tours, Western Quarry, Darren Weir Racing, Stawell & Horsham Toyota, Ararat Rural City Council, East Grampians Health, Hotondo Homes, Bakers Brew, Dan Tehan MP, Arduina and Graeme Homburg form Ararat, Sherrin, Frewstall, GWM Water, Fosters Ararat & Stawell and Frewstal”
The game starts at 2pm, gates open from 12 noon. Gold coin donation entry per person. Souvenir programs, BBQ, food and refreshments available at the ground for purchase.
For more details contact Rachel Whittaker at Grampians Community Health, ph.: 53587400
An inaugural over 40’s football match in Ararat in August
This football match will highlight and raise funds for men’s mental health.
The brainchild of former Richmond and Ararat footballer Scott Turner, the Grampians Community Health ‘Healthy Blokes Football Match’ will be held at Alexandra Oval on Sunday August 5th at 2pm. While the game is sure to be a fun social occasion with hopefully not too many sore bodies afterwards, it is also an opportunity to raise awareness of the importance of men’s health.
Grampians Community Health CEO Mr Greg Little said that men are more likely than women to experience serious health problems; have a higher mortality rate, and they die in greater numbers than women from almost all non-gender-specific health problems. The data on Australian men’s health also shows higher rates of substance abuse, suicide, and higher mental health problems.
Mr Little said “Men like to think we are tough and are less likely to seek treatment from a general practitioner or other health professionals”
“We are also less likely to have in place the supports and social connections needed when things go wrong such as physical and mental health problems.”
“Blokes make up an average 75% of suicides every single day in Australia. The number of men who die by suicide in Australia every year is nearly double the national road toll. One in eight males will experience depression at some time in their lives and one in five anxiety. Men experience loneliness more than women, and it’s not just blokes living alone who get lonely”, said Mr Little.
Scott Turner said that he was amazed by the support he has received for the match.
“Within a few days of planning the game, we had 40 men and women from across the Grampians and Wimmera stick their hands up to play, and organisations such as Grampians Community Health, AME Systems, Brendan’s Tours, Western quarry, Darren Weirs racing, Horsham Toyota, Ararat Rural City Council and East Grampians Health service quickly come on board to cover the cost of putting on the match. It has just taken off” said Scott.
All proceeds from the event will go towards holding Mental Health First Aid courses at local sporting clubs. These courses will provide club members with tools to recognise when someone is struggling and support people with mental health problems.
“I truly hope this day will encourage men to take care of their physical and mental health and seek early assistance to prevent health problems arising. This benefits them, their family and the whole community.” said Scott Turner
- Date: Sunday 5th August 2018
- Time: Gates open at 12pm. Game starts 2pm. Gold coin entry.
- Venue: Alexandra Oval. Food and drink will be available on the day.
For more details contact Rachel Whittaker at Grampians Community Health, ph.: 53587400
Drug And Alcohol Rehabilitation Program
The Victorian Government, (through the Ice Action Plan), has provided funding for Grampians Community Health to implement the innovative ‘Making a Change’ (or MAC) drug and alcohol rehabilitation program commencing on July 30th, 2018 in Horsham.
The MAC rehabilitation program will run for a total of eight weeks and requires a commitment from participants to attend three days per week on Mondays, Tuesdays and Fridays, at hours that are complementary to school pickup times.
Kim Brown, Coordinator and Facilitator of the MAC program said “As day rehabilitation is a relatively new concept in our area, and residential rehab programs often have lengthy waiting lists, the MAC program may be of benefit in the interim period, for those wishing to begin to minimise harm now”.
“The beauty of this program is that connections with family, friends, counsellors and community can be maintained throughout the program period, as participants are able to return home at the end of the day” explained Ms Brown.
The MAC program is 100 % free of charge, and provides a safe and confidential environment for anyone ready to make positive lifestyle changes.
MAC Coordinator and Facilitator Sarah Garton said “We are able to offer participants connection through group work as well as personalised support, depending on individual needs and goals”.
Grampians Community Health statistics indicate the Gambling, Alcohol and Drugs team, have supported in excess of 4000 individuals during the previous 24 months, with various drug and alcohol issues.
“We are here to encourage people to make positive changes regarding their substance use and to strengthen connections in their personal lives and community, something that is often lost when in the grips of addiction,” said Ms Garton.
To access the program people need only to make a confidential call to Grampians Community Health on 53587400.