2015 Impact Stories

Canberra Cite Care, Charnwood

Canberra City Care operates a number of services in the West Belconnen area. It works with Oz Harvest on a food rescue service. It also has an op-shop and makes technology accessible through its tech shed. It also has a debt management service.

Canberra City Care sought funds from Hands Across Canberra to help nance a new community kitchen and garden. These new facilities will help us expand the community outreach services o ered in West Belconnen.

This is not the rst time Hands Across Canberra has helped. Previously their assistance helped us manage the cost of upgrading our important administrative systems.

 

C3Care, Monash

C3CARES is a fortnightly event that started in May 2016 and includes a message of hope, a free hot lunch and a hamper for people who come.

C3CARES is about providing a place for people within our community who may nd themselves socially isolated. We bring a message of hope followed by several wonderful home made slow-cooked meals with rice. Bread is donated and our team also provides yummy deserts. Our guests always comment on the food and love second helpings whenever possible.

Hampers are available to people who attend and the grant provided by Hands Across Canberra will allow us to make up 145 additional hampers as well as increase our hamper allowance from $10 to $12 per hamper for 330 hampers while also providing $100 towards our Christmas lunch.

We also partner with OzHarvest who provide fruit and vegetables when available. Last week brand new clothes were donated by a department store, which was gratefully accepted by the 23 people who attended our lunch.

 

Karinya House

Karinya House Home for Mothers & Babies Inc. is a community based, not-for-pro t organisation providing supported accommodation, transitional housing, outreach services and support groups to pregnant and parenting women and their families who are in crisis. Since we established in late 1997, we have provided residential and outreach support to over 5,000 pregnant and parenting women.

In July 2015 Karinya House received a grant from Hands Across Canberra for $10,000. This grant supported the introduction of a designated Caseworker to focus on supporting women who had experienced domestic violence.

In 2014/2015, 63 per cent of women presented to Karinya with life journeys that were impacted by domestic or family violence. Research indicated that the Mothers in Mind Program would be a valuable component to add to our casework management practice, and we are now incorporating these ideas with some great results. Casework plans are made according to each Client’s individual needs. The Mothers in Mind concepts help to enhance parenting skills, as well as strengthen parent-child relationships. Karinya is rmly on track with its goal of creating brighter futures for mothers and babies.

Karinya opened its new facility in Belconnen in August 2016.

 

Beryl Women Inc.

Beryl Women Inc. provides therapeutic support and safe housing to women and children escaping domestic and/or family violence. We welcome all women regardless of age, nancial situation, religion, background or nationality. We are located in the Nation’s Capital, Canberra, ACT.

Start-Up Packs

In August 2014, Beryl Women Inc. received a grant of $9,900 from Hands Across Canberra which allowed us to provide Start-Up Packs to women and children that had experienced domestic and or family violence had left their homes and entered crisis refuge accommodation to avoid risks to their safety.

We provided the packs to families as soon as they rst entered the service to ensure that they had adequate resources for the initial crisis period. The packs supported families by providing items such as food, transport, communication and educational supplies for children to attend schooling.

Interpreting costs to Culturally and Linguistically Diverse Women

In 2015 Beryl Women Inc. once again was successful in applying for funds from Hands Across Canberra to support the provision of interpreting costs to Culturally and Linguistically Diverse Women. The service provides support to them and their children in key areas to address the issues of domestic violence such as safety planning, family law, children’s safety and wellbeing, housing and accommodation.

At times where complex discussions are required for client support, interpreting is used to ensure that clients have a full and proper understanding of the content of the discussion and that they have the opportunity to express their voice regarding matters that are of importance and concern to them.

Interpreting was also used for client feedback and for communication of documents relating to the support at Beryl Women Inc. and other services.

 

Canberra Rape Crisis Centre

The Canberra Rape Crisis Centre (CRCC) is a non- government, not-for-pro t, feminist organisation working to eliminate sexual violence against women, young people, children, families and men.

We provide:

  • A 24 hour crisis call out service to police and forensic services every day of the year
  • A crisis and counselling telephone support service (1800 123 123) between 7am-11pm (7 days a week)
  • Counselling and group work to survivors of sexual assault and their families and supporters
  • Education, training and professional consultation to agencies and private practitioners

The Canberra Rape Crisis Centre is the only place in Canberra that provides this service. As such we received a grant from Hands Across Canberra to assist us in implementing a new client management system to ensure that a true and accurate record is kept of the incidents of assault and trauma experienced by residents of Canberra and its surrounding region. By using this new system our objective is to provide accurate statistics, figures and information regarding the impacts that sexual assault is having in the Canberra region to a range of Government agencies. This ensures that the needs of survivors are adequately funded and provided for by Government and other services that are needed, including police, hospitals and other support agencies.

 

EveryMan Australia 

Everyman Australia wishes to acknowledge the generous support provided by ACT philanthropic foundation, Hands Across Canberra, in a joint commitment to address and reduce the incident of Domestic and Family Violence in the Canberra region.

The CEO of Hands Across Canberra, Peter Gordon and members of the HAC Board are committed to reducing the recidivism rate of men who have been violent to women. “This vital nancial support from Hands Across Canberra, has enabled Everyman Australia to address previously unmet needs within the community, through the introduction of new Domestic Violence prevention programs” said Greg Aldridge, Executive Director of Everyman Australia.

Some recent comments made in the support of the e ective work achieved by Everyman Australia, in the prevention of violence, are as listed below.

 

Safe Shelter 

Opening church buildings for the homeless.

Safe Shelter provides a safe warm place for homeless men to sleep at night throughout Canberra’s winter - no meals, no counselling services, no money, just somewhere safe to sleep. The venues are church halls, which participating churches provide at no charge. The “beds” are swags, laid on the oor. The shelters are run by 90 plus volunteers of all ages and backgrounds who, after an initial training course, commit to spending one night per month in a shelter, in teams of two or three, sleeping on the oor with their guests.

After increasing to three nights per week at the initial venue, St Columba’s Uniting Church, Braddon, Safe Shelter is expanding to two more venues - St Thomas More Catholic Church in Campbell and All Saints Anglican Church in Ainslie - each for just one night per week initially. It is expected that, having gained experience, those new venues will each open for two nights per week, providing shelter on seven nights per week.

While participating churches are required to provide halls which meet Building Code of Australia Class 9a (community hall) standards, Safe Shelter has to pay for upgrades to permit overnight use - typically hard-wired re protection - as well as initial set up facilities - signs, swags, etc. It is for these purposes that a Hands Across Canberra grant of $5,000 was provided and as a result actioned to improve the safety of our guests.

 

CanFaCs

Sleeping rough in Canberra is difficult, particularly in the colder months where temperatures can reach below zero. But through a grant from Hands Across Canberra, CanFaCs was able to provide Survival Packs to 25 sole father families who were experiencing primary and/or secondary homelessness. This supports those that are sleeping on the street, in cars, couch sur ng at friend’s and family’s homes or in overcrowded conditions.

Fathers who were experiencing primary homelessness were provided with a Survival Pack, which allowed them to camp in friends’ backyards, providing them with an alternative to sleeping on the street. This increased their comfort and safety which had a positive impact on both their physical and emotional wellbeing.

Often fathers who are homeless are unable to a ord basic toiletries such as soap, toothbrush and razors. By providing these items fathers can address their hygiene requirements and Survival Packs we remove some of the stigma around homeless people and improve their opportunities to obtain employment and accommodation.

Often families who are couch surfing are required to move frequently from house to house. By providing Survival Packs (backpacks containing toiletries, sleeping bags and other essential items), the families who were experiencing secondary homelessness became less of an imposition on the households where they were temporarily residing. This prolonged the time they were able to stay and kept them o the street.

In addition to this, the tents provided the opportunity for some fathers to stay in friends’ backyards, and to take their children camping when they had access visits.

 

Paperworks

Paperworks is a not-for-profit organisation with the aim of enabling social inclusion through community art and by bringing people together through recycling, hand print and papermaking.

The reason we exist is to foster social inclusion, greater community engagement and a real alternative of meaningful employment/volunteering as a choice for those that are often relegated to the realm of ‘being kept busy with creative activities’. People inherently want to belong, be valued and be recognised as contributing to their community. For this reason it is important to allow people access to a safe space where they can take those rst tentative steps.

In October 2014, Hands Across Canberra provided Paperworks with a grant to establish a new project in collaboration with our partner, the Ted No s Foundation. This grant allowed us to assist young people to reconnect with their families. It is also extremely important for young people to connect with the wider community around them as part of their recovery.

Eight to ten young people are enrolled for three months into the Ted No s Foundation Program for Adolescent Life Management (PALM), with around 110 participants assisted each year.

Papermaking is by nature a slow creative process and as you wait for water to drain from the mold before you can couch (place) the newly formed wet sheet onto a cloth, your mind wanders. Before you know it, you have been caught up in a creative and meditative process. As much as we wanted the young people to have fun, make beautiful paper and write to their families, we also wanted them to continue thinking about the small group discussions they have had before entering our studio. Hence the Paper Bridges project structure of having a counselling session followed by the papermaking session.

Paperworks was the rst ACT charity to bene t from the emerging relationship between The Funding Network and Hands Across Canberra.

 

Menslink has been supporting young men in the Canberra region for over fteen years through our free counselling, volunteer mentoring and education programs. In that time we have helped thousands of young guys get through tough or lonely times with the least amount of pain or harm to themselves or those around them. We help young guys reach their full potential and become the great adult men they want to be. Because we believe everything is possible for them, their families, their mates and our community. All Menslink services are free to young guys and their families.

In 2013, Menslink successfully applied for a $9,200 Hands Across Canberra grant to help us expand capacity in our mentoring program without increasing ongoing sta costs.

This investment has paid o for our community. In the subsequent three years, we have expanded our mentoring program by 66 per cent, providing positive male role models to more young men who - for whatever reason - struggle to nd men who can show them how to grow up into adults we can all be proud of. At the same time, we have also reduced program costs by nearly 20 per cent - funds which we have then re-invested into our counselling program to provide direct therapeutic support to young guys in need.

As a result of this grant for our training materials, we’ve increased the quality of our mentoring matches, with more mentoring relationships lasting for the full two years than ever before.

In 2015, Hands Across Canberra also provided us with $10,000 to develop an advertising campaign targeting (young) male perpetrators of family violence that encourages them to “reach out to help not reach out to hurt.” This advertisement, to be aired in 2016, encourages men of all ages to get help from either Menslink (for men under 25) or Everyman Australia (for men over 18). 

 

The Shepherd Centre

The Shepherd Centre is dedicated to ensuring that all children with hearing loss receive the support they need to complete school. Starting school is a challenge for all children but can be even more challenging for those with hearing loss. Children with hearing loss can sometimes struggle to make sense of sounds in the noisy school environment and require extra support with social skills.

The Shepherd Centre The support of Hands Across Canberra has made it possible for The Shepherd Centre to initiate the ‘A Sound Start to School’ program for hearing impaired children in the ACT.

This new initiative focusses on building the listening, speech and language skills, con dence and self-esteem of deaf children through individual therapy and classroom visits as well as parent education and teacher support.

Through this program, children with hearing loss can have the best chance to integrate into their local schools, make friends and enjoy a full and enriching education.

 

Hartley lifecare

Hartley Lifecare is a Canberra-based organisation that has provided accommodation support and respite care for children, adults and their families in the ACT and region with physical and complex disabilities for 50 years.

During 2013, Hartley Lifecare was approached by the National Brain Injury Foundation (NBIF) to take over operations. This included establishing an information service for people with a brain injury who reside in the ACT and surrounding areas.

To support the establishment of this service, Hartley Lifecare successfully applied to Hands Across Canberra for a $5000 grant which was received in October 2014. This grant provided us with an opportunity to carry out essential planning, scoping, research and modelling work, along with commencing consultation with key stakeholders and potential users of the service.

Hands Across Canberra has more recently funded Hartley Lifecare to assist with improving its administrative systems.

 

TADACT

TADACT designs and makes innovative equipment, which isn’t commercially available. Our solutions assist people of any age with any type of disability, temporary or not, to be more independent in their daily lives. This is all made possible by our skilled volunteers. They create the bespoke solutions, applying their expertise and knowledge to nd solutions for the unique needs of an individual, improving their quality of life, along with their family and carers. By enabling independence, individuals are better able to participate in and contribute to the community. This in turn leads to greater community inclusion and actively decreasing the stigma around disabilities.

All the work to make these solutions possible is carried out by our highly skilled volunteers, who donate their time, knowledge and resources to make it possible. Ensuring that our volunteers have access to specialised equipment is often di cult. This is made even more di cult with the limited scope of most philanthropic grants. Hands Across Canberra’s Community Grants focus on the value and impact on our community, a novel approach we are grateful for.

Last year they helped TADACT to purchase a tablet, Computer Aided Design (CAD) software and a Three Dimensional (3D) printer for the use of volunteers and sta . This enables our volunteers to design and create solutions in new and exciting ways. It will also create new opportunities for volunteers to create solutions that were previously either impossible or very expensive, as 3D printed designs are almost only limited to the imagination, with the help of CAD software.

The 3D printer has been a long standing request from our volunteers and staff. A very welcome and significant asset to our team. The tablet whilst not as glamorous as the CAD and 3D printer, is practical. It allows us to capture more detail at initial design meetings and then quickly and e ciently distribute this information to our volunteers, clients and therapists. This reduces the time spent on the design phase. 

 

Charity House Project

The Master Builders Association of the ACT (MBA) and the Land Development Agency (LDA) partnered with Renaissance Homes to deliver a new Charity House Project for 2016.

The Deakin Charity House project is a joint project where the LDA is contributing two adjoining separate title in- ll parcels of land in Deakin and MBA members, led by Renaissance Homes, are donating (or providing at low cost) construction materials and labour. The 2015-16 Project will deliver two home and land packages to market for auction in 2016.

The net proceeds from the auctions will be distributed to local charities supporting people with a disability. The three organisations selected to bene t from the proceeds of the Charity Houses are:

Boundless Children’s Playground and Hartley Lifecare as well as Hands Across Canberra

MBA has delivered two Charity Houses previously; in 2006 the Jenolan Charity House and in 2013 the Franklin Charity House. Together these projects raised just over $850,000.00 for charity. We expect even greater results from this current project. Based on what we know from previous experience, this act should see over $1,000,000.00 raised to help our community.

 

The shepherd Centre

‘Hands Across Canberra’ helps children with hearing loss get ready for school

Story by Claire Foote, Canberra

Our daughter Annabel was just ve weeks old when we were told that she has a bilateral, mainly moderate hearing loss. Annabel is our third child and the only one with hearing loss. The Shepherd Centre was a ‘soft’ place to fall after the initial shock of diagnosis.

It was very fortunate timing as Annabel was diagnosed a couple of days before The Shepherd Centre’s Loud Shirt Day fundraiser in October 2011. I saw a piece on The Shepherd Centre on breakfast TV and was so excited and reassured to see how well Shepherd Centre children were doing at a time when I had so many worries for Annabel’s future.

Annabel is a very chatty, social little girl. She loves her weekly dance class and she swims and plays soccer. She turned four, started preschool this year and is thriving - she’s at a mainstream preschool and is the only child with hearing loss. It hasn’t held her back, as her speech and language are wonderful and she’s very con dent with managing her hearing loss. Annabel participates in education, extra-curricular activities and family life just as much as our other kids. I can genuinely say that I don’t feel Annabel’s hearing loss has held her back.

Annabel is starting school next year and will be the only child in her school with a hearing loss. She will soon start The Shepherd Centre’s ‘O to School’ Program which has been supported by ‘Hands Across Canberra’. The program will be incredibly valuable in helping me and Annabel advocate for her. It feels good to know she’ll start school equipped with the skills she’ll need to succeed - the perfect complement to her great speech and language.

 

Karinya House 

Mother in Mind Program

Alexis was a young, Aboriginal woman referred to Karinya House early in her pregnancy. Many attempts were made to contact her, yet she refused to engage and was verbally abusive to Sta over the phone. When her son Monty was born, Alexis displayed signs of abuse towards hospital Sta . CYPS took emergency action, based on Alexis’ history of aggression and unwillingness to engage with services.

She was a single mother with limited support and it was deemed that Monty would be at risk with Alexis as his sole carer. CYPS referred Alexis to Karinya House to undergo a parenting assessment. She was tearful during her rst meeting and declared that she would do whatever it took to have Monty back in her care. Alexis was overjoyed when a room became available at Karinya House. Since Monty’s birth she had been having contact four times a week for three hours at a time in Tuggeranong. CYPS approved for this contact to take place at Karinya House, slowly increasing Alexis’ time with her son as it led up to full-time care.

Lisa and Alexis worked together over several months during her stay at Karinya House, focusing initially on Alexis’ feelings and learning to recognise emotions in her son. Alexis found this challenging and initially was unable to see anything other than negative emotions in Monty. However, as he began to develop and smile at his mother, things took on a positive change. Alexis found bath time particularly stressful as her baby cried uncontrollably. This created physical changes within Alexis’ body, such as increased heart rate and shortness of breath. She came to realise that when she experienced anxiety, Monty also became more agitated. This was not only at bath time, but on other occasions like when she argued with her mother over the phone, or was frustrated by other residents in the house.

Alexis became open to working on ways to managing her anxiety. She found colouring-in especially helpful, as it allowed her thoughts to quieten and to focus on positives.

Over time, however, she came to realise that her baby was not a ‘mini’ version of someone who had been violent towards her, but a delightful personality in his own right. When the time came for Alexis to return to independent living, she was anxious about managing on her own, especially as her ex-partner had been released from custody.

Working with Lisa, she established a safety plan incorporating not only her physical safety, but also her emotional wellbeing. With ongoing outreach support, Alexis blossomed in her home environment and the beautiful bond she had developed with her son continued to grow.

 

Beryl Women Inc.

1. Case Scenario:

Woman and Three Children

A woman, four months pregnant with two children had escaped domestic violence from her ex-partner and his family that were living in Victoria. They moved to the ACT for safety reasons and family support in June 2014. We provided accommodation and support to the mother and her children for four months which provided the environment for the client to medium term accommodation and independent housing.

In July 2015 the same mother re-engaged with our service. Her ex-partner was attempting to access her three children and family court proceedings were brought against her in Victoria. Despite jurisdictional issues, proceedings commenced and our client had no access to legal representation and faced stark language barriers.

Beryl Women Inc. supported our client with an TIS Arabic interpreter who supported her with an a davit. The a davit was a complex document and needed certi cation by a Justice of the Peace (JP) at each individual time of signing. The interpreter needed to attend the Magistrate Court with the JP. It was di cult to access the JP and it was a major challenge to coordinate the interpreter with the JP’s availability. The document was amended multiple times, exacerbated by the di culties in providing accurate translation and language support. It took many hours of commitment to support the translation and to ensure the woman had the support she needed throughout the legal process. We also needed to ensure we met all deadlines as solicitor requirements to lodge documents was critical.

2. Case Scenario:

Woman and Four Children

In this case, we accommodated a family of ve for a period of six months.

The mother and children spoke Arabic and the mother had limited English pro ciency, although the children spoke English. Due to concerns to their safety and fear from involving the community, the family relied on our interpreting services and support. We had to be sensitive to the needs of our client and respect the con dentiality of our client’s information.

We provided an interpreter to inform the woman about service rules and explain the support Beryl Women Inc. could provide the family. We also arranged safety planning and risk assessments when they engaged our services and throughout the time in which the family were supported by our service.

We also met with the local High School and primary school so that the children could be enrolled in school.

During their stay at Beryl Women Inc. interpreting services were supplied to support the family in:

  • Family Law /Child Contact and Handover Support

  • Lawyer

  • Youth Support and Advocacy with Student Wellbeing within High School Setting

  • Youth Law and Legal Advocacy re ACT Policing Matters

  • Care & Protection Advocacy and Support

  • One on one Case Management Meetings/Case Conferencing