There’s not much Ange Avery doesn’t know about the River Murray.

A lifetime spent studying its ecosystems beside her late father Jim Watkins has prepared Ange well for what lies ahead, as the Riverland braces for inundation.

Manager of Centacare’s Riverland Domestic Violence Service based at Berri, Ange has been sharing her knowledge with others less familiar with the river’s wild ways.

“I was born in Waikerie and raised at Cadell, where Dad was a chief prison officer,’’ she said.

“He was always a river man, he loved it, and he passed that passion on to us.  

“He was quite a live-off-the-land kind of fella and very much an educator who wanted us to be aware of, and understand, the river system from a young age.

“That knowledge, it’s in our family blood now.

“Right up to his death a few years ago, Dad kept warning us about what’s coming and what to expect when the peak arrives.’’

Riverland Domestic Violence Service Manager Ange Avery

As Berri and the extended region experiences daily flows not seen for 50 years, Ange reflects on the 1974 flood.

“The flood was over the Morgan causeway and Dad drove us there for a look. I was three years old, holding his hand, and my older twin sisters were seven.

“I remember saying to Dad I was scared, as the water appeared to go forever.”

Therein lies the irony of a flood set to wreak havoc on hundreds of low-lying homes and businesses, said Ange.

“The flip side of the devastation is its utter beauty. You are seeing something that is a good flush out, something that does a lot of damage, but it is also absolutely spectacular.

“The birdlife is amazing and you just can’t believe what you’re seeing.”

From a work perspective, Ange is managing what the flood will mean for at-risk women in unsafe homes, especially those living in isolated shacks set to be swallowed by the slowly rising water.

Centacare will provide 24/7 crisis accommodation onsite at Berri for women and children fleeing domestic violence in flood-stricken communities. 

“It’s not like a bushfire where it whips through so quick no one has time to blink, so we have had time to plan and prepare which is to our advantage, as awful as it could possibly be,’’ she said.

To contact the Riverland Domestic Violence Service, phone (08) 8215 6380 or email rdvs@centacare.org.au

After five years driving the growth of Centacare’s highly regarded foster care program, Amalie Mannik has been appointed Executive Manager of Children’s Services.

She will begin in the role immediately after acting in the position since May.

Amalie joined Centacare Foster Care as Manager in 2018 when the program had just 12 placements and 14 foster carer households.

She leaves it with more than 70 carer households – a 429 per cent increase of approved carer households, and a 442 per cent increase in placements.

“I am incredibly proud of the foster care team. They are high functioning, cohesive and are able to manage complexity,” Amalie said.

“When I started in the program, there were half the number of staff we have today. There have been new roles added and senior positions created – things we couldn’t have envisaged five years ago.

“It’s bittersweet to leave it, but I do so at a time of great stability knowing I will continue to contribute, just in a different capacity, with more of a strategic planning lens.”

Prior to joining Centacare, Amalie was a research assistant, and a lecturer and pre-placement enhancement session officer for Master of Social Work students at Flinders University.

In 2016, she worked as a contractor on a project about psychosis for asylum seekers and refugees on Manus Island and Nauru, mapping co-morbidities of survivors of torture and trauma.

In what would be a defining moment in her career, Amalie provided 24/7 support over a three-month period to children orphaned in the 2010 Christmas Island boat disaster.

“Being a part of a significant tragedy and having to respond to the children’s trauma, grief and loss, while then re-settling them on the mainland, has deeply embedded my value of therapeutic interactions, helping those in need and the power of human connection,’’ she said.

Over the past six months, Amalie has steered Children’s Services amid heightened media attention on child protection services and the sector.

“Despite adversities, including media reports that have shone a light on the myriad of complexities and difficulties within the sector we work in, families have remained our priority with the voice of the client guiding the way,” she said.

“We continue to deliver services of the highest standard, demonstrating the resilience, skill and adaptability of Centacare’s workforce.’’

Recently, Amalie launched the CSU business plan, and she has been instrumental in expanding Centacare’s southern footprint through Restore Intensive Family Services South and Breathing Space teams.

She has contributed to research and evaluation in partnership with the Breathing Space team, clinical nurses and dads and fatherhood workers, with new research on father-inclusive practice published this week.

In September, Amalie co-hosted a virtual forum for the community services sector on behalf of Child and Family Focus SA, the state’s peak body representing the needs and interests of children, young people and families connected with or at risk of entering the child protection system. 

The forum explored the April Lawrie inquiry into the removal and placement of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children in care. In October, Centacare lodged a submission to the Inquiry, outlining key recommendations to prevent Aboriginal children entering long-term state care.

Through professional roles and post-graduate social work studies, Amalie has gained considerable knowledge and experience in relevant therapeutic models and is passionate about the therapeutic framework that underpins Children’s Services.

“Any area in social work has risk and accountability, and because we are working with vulnerable disadvantaged families, there is a power dynamic to consider as well,” Amalie said.

“Because we operate from the therapeutic framework and we have therapeutic case work, the staff in CSU have the skills to unpick that power paradigm and listen to the voice of the client which empowers them and gives them the ability to make changes needed in their own lives to create safety.

“It is risky work but it’s really important work, and that is the driving factor for me.”

Child protection and family support services specialist Leanne Haddad has been appointed Director of Centacare Catholic Family Services.

Archbishop of Adelaide Patrick O’Regan today announced Leanne will commence in the new role on January 3, 2023.

A mother-of-three, Leanne has for the last year been Deputy Director, providing leadership, corporate and service delivery support to Director Pauline Connelly.

Pauline assumed the role after the retirement of longtime director Dale West in early 2021.

After guiding Centacare through a period of significant change, Pauline has chosen to return to her substantive position of Deputy Director.

Leanne said together they will continue to lead in partnership and shape service growth, in line with community need and informed by the principles of Catholic Social Teaching.

“I have been very fortunate to have been mentored firstly by Dale and most recently Pauline who is extremely giving with her knowledge and has a genuine commitment to developing other leaders,’’ Leanne said.

“I will continue to build on the solid foundation and history they have created and embrace this opportunity with energy and heart for Centacare, and an ongoing commitment to learning.

“The Catholic Social Teaching principles align with those of grassroots social work which is where I began my career.

“My 26 years in community and social services has provided me with the privilege of working with vulnerable children, young people and families, and I will carry the lessons they’ve taught me into this role.”

Leanne has worked in both government and non-government services across operational child protection positions, policy and planning, learning and development, contract management, service design, leadership and executive roles.

She joined Centacare in 2017 as Executive Manager of Children’s Services and turned at-risk contracts into highly successful programs which exceeded key performance indicators and outcomes, and increased service scope and funding.

In recent years, Leanne has established therapeutic family support services and led numerous child protection initiatives and successful tenders, including the $20.7 million RESTORE Intensive Family Services – the largest service of its kind in South Australia.

Through commitment and strategic planning, Leanne helped grow Centacare Foster Care from a handful of carers into one of the state’s leading providers of in-care support for children aged 0 to 18 years.

This year, Leanne has led Centacare’s corporate restructure and administration review to implement staffing and program efficiencies.

Chair of Centacare’s Child Protection Committee, Leanne is a Compass Catholic Community School Advisory Board member and board secretary of Child and Family Focus SA, the peak Body for NGOs that support community services for vulnerable families and individuals.

Centacare supports more than 20,000 people annually across 67 services and 31 sites in metropolitan and regional South Australia.

“Centacare is a vital part of the local Church’s mission and commitment to serving the marginalised in our community,” Archbishop O’Regan said.

“I thank Pauline for her dedication and professionalism as both director and in her previous roles, and I look forward to working with Leanne when she takes up her new position next year.”

In welcoming Leanne to the role of Director, Pauline said it had been an “enormous privilege” to lead Centacare for the past 18 months.

“Leanne and the Executive Managers have been an amazing support to me; there is a wonderful sense of team that we experience at Centacare, something I think is forged on common values along with a shared belief in what we are doing and where we are going,’’ she said.

”I look forward to that same experience next year, along with the time and space to focus more on some of the things I did previously as Deputy.

“We have much to look forward to together, in the knowledge that the most important role for us all is that of providing a service for our clients, so that in the end, they are the beneficiaries of everything we do.”

Centacare has partnered with Port Adelaide Football Club and CatholicCare NT to produce much-needed online safety packages for schools across South Australia and the Northern Territory.

Funded by the Australian Government’s $9 million Online Safety Grants Program, `Power Up: Online’ will use sport as a hook to connect with secondary school students in metropolitan, regional and remote communities.

Working with AFL and AFLW players, the co-designed eLearning modules will empower students and young people to stay safe online by broadening their understanding of respectful relationships, healthy boundaries and gendered power dynamics.

Centacare Director Pauline Connelly said Power Up: Online is a unique offering.

“Motivating through sport will provide schools with an enhanced learning space, while working with young people to improve self-agency, foster safer online environments, and develop confidence to advocate,’’ she said.

“Sport is a site of gendered relations. This makes it ideal as a platform to discuss eSafety which is intrinsically linked with primary prevention of gender-based violence.

“Power Up: Online will engage upper secondary students around online safety, with an inclusive emphasis around cyberbullying, body image, respectful relationships and personal boundaries.’’

Power Community Limited General Manager Jake Battifuoco said: “As role models, we recognise messages delivered by Port Adelaide Football Club players hold considerable weight and that we can influence and educate young people to stay safe online.”

The project is one of nine initiatives to share in $2.25 million in funding in the third and final round of the grants program, which is led by the eSafety Commissioner and complements its existing education programs.

Minister for Communications, the Hon. Michelle Rowland MP, said the not-for-profit sector plays an important role in supporting government to address complex social issues.

“These grants will help unlock each recipient’s unique expertise to create new channels and content addressing specific issues and age groups, helping us to reach more Australians with vital online safety education.”

eSafety Commissioner Julie Inman Grant said she is excited to welcome nine new partners in online safety that share her passion for helping Australians to have positive and safe experiences online.

“We need to keep developing fresh ways to reach and educate Australians if we’re to keep pace with technology.

“Working with partners means more voices, more insights and more ways to inspire a generation of young people to scroll with safety online,” Ms Inman Grant said.

To find out more about the Online Safety Grants Program, visit: Online Safety Grants Program

For online safety advice for all Australians, visit esafety.gov.au

New figures reveal a horrifying rise in the number of women accessing support for domestic violence across the South East.

Centacare data shows that over the past quarter, the Limestone Coast Domestic Violence Service has supported 105 women – more than half of the total 194 clients it connected with in 2021-2022.

Southern Country Domestic Violence Service Program Manager Nik Tilley said the statistics were trending towards alarming new highs ahead of the festive season, when incidents of abuse usually increase.

“Traditionally, we see a sharp rise in incidents over the Christmas and holiday period, so we could be in a situation where we will have supported more women in six months than we did in the entire previous year,’’ Nik said.

Last financial year, Centacare’s Southern Country Domestic Violence Service supported a total 654 clients through specialist services in the Adelaide Hills and Murray Mallee, Riverland, Whyalla and the Limestone Coast.

The Riverland and Adelaide Hills and Murray Mallee services have recorded a similar surge in client numbers. Since July 1, the services have respectively supported half the total number of clients they saw in the previous 12 months. 

Nik said the rising cost of living was not helping.

“Mums are having to decide between paying their electricity or feeding their children, and what more they need to do to pay the rent. That pressure absolutely increases tension in households,’’ she said.

Nik said the growing shortage of affordable private rentals and community and public housing continued to keep women in crisis accommodation for longer at the expense of those at imminent risk.

Currently, LCDVS emergency accommodation is full. Nine crisis units, two transitional and four supported properties, and one Domestic and Family Violence Crisis Accommodation site, are occupied.

“We have had a mother and her children in a motel for more than 30 nights because there are no other safe options for the family to go,’’ Nik said.

“While the rise in clients seeking specialist support tells us domestic violence is not abating, it does show a growing awareness in regional communities of the help at hand for at-risk women and children.’’

A community forum will be held in Mount Gambier next Wednesday, November 9 as part of the Regional Response to the Prevention of Domestic and Family Violence project which aims to mobilise whole-of-community actions to tackle the root causes of gender-based violence.

The forum will bring about 30 people together at University of South Australia and follows extensive community consultation and engagement in the region. The discussions will inform a community action plan to guide future responses, due for completion early next month.

Limestone Coast Domestic Violence Service (08) 8303 6640 | cdvs@centacare.org.au

Murray Mallee & Adelaide Hills Domestic Violence Service (08) 8228 8960 | mmdvs@centacare.org.au

Riverland Domestic Violence Service (08) 8215 6380 | rdvs@centacare.org.au

Whyalla Regional Domestic Violence Service (08) 8215 6370 | whreferrals@centacare.org.au

When Anna Meares landed in London to race bitter rival Victoria Pendleton for sprint gold at the 2012 Olympics, the British tabloids were waiting, loaded with cruel barbs.

“One of the headlines was `Broomstick versus Lipstick’,’’ Meares told 160 female secondary students at an Empowered leadership event at Adelaide Oval last week.

“I was typecast as the ugly coal miner’s daughter coming in to steal Queen Victoria’s gold.

“I had never been judged or commented on how I looked in a profession that required nothing to do with image, and it was a real challenge for me to walk into that environment, stay composed and perform on the highest stage sport can offer.’’

Meares continued, detailing her treatment by a male customs officer at Heathrow Airport.

“I handed over my passport and all my papers to get my accreditation to go into the Olympic village,’’ she said.

“The gentlemen looked up and said without a smile, ‘You’re Victoria’s rival’. And I said, ‘Yes, Sir, I am, please let me in’. It took 20 minutes of processing and he spoke not a word to me in that time.

“When he passed me back my accreditation and passport, he said `Enjoy your silver’.

“I hadn’t even entered the country and the customs officer is slinging me the best lip I have ever received in my life.

“It could have thrown me because it doesn’t take much for someone that you do, or don’t know, to plant a seed of negativity that will grow and grow and potentially derail all the hard work that you have done. That was that moment for me.’’

Fast forward to the best of three final of the sprint and Meares would lose the first round by the width of a lead pencil line, only to be awarded the win after the race commissaire relegated Pendleton for impeding her line.

Less than 20 minutes later, and four years after breaking her neck in a track fall seven months prior to the Beijing Olympics, Meares became a dual Olympic champion, executing her famous `track stand’ – balancing her stationary bike on the bank on the track – to force Pendleton forward and launch her winning attack.

“I honestly believe the reason I won this day was not because I was physically better, but I had done the work mentally to perform under pressure, to make decisions without hesitation, to have a plan to follow – all of that comes from the preparation prior,’’ Meares said.

The 39-year-old retired in 2016 and remains the world’s most successful female track cyclist in the history of World Championships. She is the only Australian athlete in any sport to have stood on the medal podium in four consecutive Olympics.

Resilience, personal loss, and overcoming adversity were common themes in Meares’ speech which she concluded with the words of former coach Gary West who died from Motor Neurone Disease a year after Rio.

“He always said that you can’t guarantee an outcome… but what you can guarantee is accepting who you are, owning yourself, following the process and application to give yourself the best chance of success, and celebrating those successes when they come,’’ she said.

Meares, a mother-of-two and a foster carer, joined Minister for Women and the Prevention of Domestic and Family Violence Katrine Hildyard, Magistrate Jay Pandya, and Port Adelaide Football Club AFLW stars at the event, hosted by Power Community Limited (PCL) and supported by the South Australian Women’s Fund.

The Empowered program is delivered by PCL in partnership with Centacare and the Department for Education and aims to enhance female students’ positive sense of self, build confidence and foster critical thinking about gender equity and women’s rights.

Empowered runs alongside the nationally recognised Power to End Violence Against Women (PTEVAW) program which uses the power of sport as a hook to start conversations with Year 10 male students about domestic violence and challenge gender-based norms that can lead to abuse.

Prevention is one of four key pillars of the new National Plan to End Violence Against Women and Children 2022-2032, launched earlier this month.

Respectful relationships and consent education in schools are among long-term priorities outlined in the plan, with a focus on ending violence in one generation.

*If you would like PTEVAW and Empowered to visit your school, contact Cam Sutcliffe by email  csutcliffe@pafc.com.au

Pictures: Angus Northeast

A pop-up supermarket at Wandana Community Centre is helping families get enough to eat as the rising cost of living and other pressures take a toll.

The low-cost supermarket trades fortnightly on Wednesday at the Gilles Plain site and offers affordable pantry staples, bakery items and fresh produce.

The initiative is a partnership between Centacare and fellow not-for-profit The Food Centre, based at Gepps Cross.

Wandana Community Centre Manager Robyn Johnson said the pop-up supermarket gave families access to items that were often priced out of their reach in mainstream shops.

“The pop-up supermarket sells affordable fresh vegetables, fruit and dry pantry items along with baked goods such as sliced bread, rolls and flat breads,’’ Robyn said.

“People have appreciated the reduced cost after the recent price hikes in mainstream supermarkets.’’

A new hunger report released by Foodbank today in Anti-Poverty Week estimates about 500,000 households on any given day experience food insecurity.

The research states 21 per cent of people nationally had experienced severe food insecurity in the past 12 months – up from 17 per cent in 2021.

Robyn said financial hardship and loneliness were common challenges for people who frequent Wandana, many of whom are new arrivals and migrants.

“In this context, the pop-up supermarket also plays an advocacy role, with people able to make new friends and obtain information about Wandana’s programs and the supports available to them,’’ she said.

“Along with shopping in a quieter and less overwhelming environment, visitors can meet other centre users, stay for a coffee, and obtain information about Wandana’s community programs.

“Many of these programs are offered for free or a gold coin donation. Wandana is also within walking distance for many people which means they are able to save on the cost of transport.’’

In Anti-Poverty Week, Robyn urged the community to check in on one another and have compassion for those facing challenges.

“Look out for your neighbours and friends,’’ she said.

“In our parents and grandparents’ generations, neighbours tended to be more closely connected but in this age of working families, when we drive more often than we walk the streets, we can lose that connection and may not be aware when people are doing it tough.’’

*The low-cost pop-up supermarket is open at Wandana Community Centre from 11am to 1pm on Wednesday, October 26. For more information, phone Wandana on 8215 6330 or visit the centre at 14 Blacks Rd, Gilles Plains.

For all its seasonal produce, flowers, herbs and sprawling raised beds, Wandana Community Centre’s much-loved garden is less about plants and more about people.

“The garden is 10 per cent gardening and 90 per cent about community,’’ says caretaker, Alan Shepard.

“It provides an opportunity for people to socialise and come together to talk about what’s going on, not just in the garden but in their lives generally.

“There’s an acceptance here and that’s really important given it’s a low socio economic area with different challenges.’’

For the past 16 years, Alan has been the garden’s chief green thumb, nurturing the faces he toils alongside as much as the flora and fruit trees at the Blacks Rd site.

His efforts have been recognised with a semi-finalist nomination for the Friend to All category in the the Community Centres SA 2022 Sector Awards.

The Awards recognise the people and groups making a difference in community centres and houses across the state.

Wandana Manager Robyn Johnson said Alan had created a “community within a community’’ by creating an “all are equal, all are welcome” culture in the community garden.

Every Monday Alan guides a team of volunteers and participants who meet weekly to develop and maintain Wandana’s orchard, vegetable beds and native species, propagate seedlings and pick produce.

“His ambition to create an inclusive space for the local community, and his passion for organic gardening, has resulted in a vibrant outdoor space where people can make new friends while also learning and sharing gardening skills and experience,’’ Robyn said.

When he’s not at Wandana, Alan shares his love of gardening with the broader community by hosting workshops, such as how to farm compost, for the City of Port Adelaide Enfield.

“Alan has been the driver of the community garden and has supported clients, particularly those with disabilities, to partake in the centre’s gardening program,’’ said Lisa Osborne, Executive Manager of Relationship Support Services.

“He’s also passionate about sustainability. Fingers crossed for Alan.”

The Awards will be announced on Thursday, November 3 at a dinner at Grunthal Brew, Verdun.

*The community garden is on the lookout for more participants. Volunteers and community members meet from 9am every Monday and work through the morning stopping for a cuppa and chat. For more information, phone Wandana Community Centre on 8261 8124.

Australia’s 2.65 million carers are in the spotlight this week as we recognise and celebrate the role they play in community.

National Carers Week (16-22 October) is an opportunity to raise awareness about the diversity of carers, and the many ways they provide unpaid care and support to family members and friends.

It is also a time to shine a light on the faces who support carers. People like Carole, Amelia and Danielle.

Together, they make up Centacare’s Community Connections Carer Support Program (CCCSP) which plays a vital role in the lives of 56 carers across the north and country regions of the Barossa, Light, and Lower North.

The program provides carers with short-term support (from 12 to 24 weeks) to increase their independence and strengthen social and community connections.

Carer Coordinator Danielle has been a key support for loved ones since she was a child.

“From a very young age, I learnt to look after my own needs. This quickly turned into caring for my sisters and then our mum, but I never considered myself a carer; I just thought that’s what you did when your family is in need,’’ she said.

“Even in my thirties, when my then-mother-in-law experiencing early-onset Alzheimer’s moved into our family home, or when my young sister came to live with us, I still didn’t acknowledge my role as a carer.

“It wasn’t until I was employed in the community services sector that I really understood the part I had played in being an unpaid carer, and the vital role we all play.’’

Like Danielle, Carole assumed the role of carer in childhood when she looked after her sibling.

Years later, she did the same for her mother who suffered dementia.

“Supporting someone who has supported you for countless years was confronting in many ways,’’ Carole said.

“Much soul-searching took place on my behalf and the importance of being in the moment arose constantly. I trust that the experience enriched both of our lives with a caring sense of loving kindness.’’ 

In the 30th year of National Carers Week, fellow Carer Coordinator Amelia said it was important to acknowledge the demands placed on carers.

“Attempting to balance competing priorities, whilst taking care of yourself and others around you, can be overwhelming and sometimes seem impossible,’’ she said.

“There are times where you may feel challenges in life are endless and experience feelings of isolation due to a limited support network.

“I want every person to know that it is ok to not feel ok. Viable supports are available and reaching out for support highlights strength and courage.’’

Centacare supports carers to increase their independence, build strong social and community connections, and balance the demands of their role with their personal interests and goals.

“It takes a special person to be a carer, and someone equally as giving to in turn support them,’’ CCCSP Manager Natalie Tucker said.

“The team constantly encourages carers to build resilience and take time out for themselves to ensure they fill their own buckets, so they can be the best version of themselves for those they care for.

“We have carers as young as eight, as well as those who are socially disconnected due to geographical isolation. Day in, day out, I see the coordinators rise to the occasion, get creative and support every carer to be their best.

“Seeing the staff passion and drive, and receiving the feedback we do, is truly heart-warming.” 

Carers aged up to 64 (49 for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Island peoples) who are not registered with My Aged Care or the National Disability Insurance Scheme and live in the north and country regions of Barossa, Light, and the Lower North, are eligible for the Carer Connections Carer Support program.

Phone the team direct on (08) 8412 9570 or email ccpenquiries@centacare.org.au

Centacare has marked 80 years supporting South Australians with an expo showcasing the organisation’s proud history, mission and achievements.

The event at St Aloysius College brought together Centacare’s 67 services from 31 sites across the state, as past and present staff joined representatives of government and social and community services groups in celebration.

Catholic Archbishop of Adelaide Patrick O’Regan led a liturgy following an opening address by Director Pauline Connelly and a speech by Minister for Human Services Nat Cook.

Minister Cook highlighted Centacare’s strengths-based approach when working with clients and families facing complex challenges.

“Centacare’s willingness to use that strengths-based approach in family services is something that I think we can grow, and I think we can do more to make sure families in the future are stronger and can remain together with the requisite supports that need to be offered,’’ she said.

Minister Cook noted the success of programs including RESTORE Intensive Family Services and the Breathing Space pilot before sharing her personal story.

RESTORE supports families with children at imminent risk of entering care to stay together, while Breathing Space works with young women who have experienced removal of a child.

“I am the child of a 16-year-old mother; I am an adopted baby,’’ Minister Cook said.

“I have reconnected with my birth mother and we have had those very difficult conversations. She didn’t get that opportunity, so that opportunity is something fundamental to provide that chance going forward.

“So all of these programs that have a focus on the interruption of generational disadvantage and poverty are very close to my heart.’’

In her opening address, Pauline paid tribute to Archbishop Matthew Beovich and his decision to appoint one of the state’s first social work students, Hannah Buckley, to the position of Director upon founding the then Catholic Family Welfare Bureau in 1942.

Pauline became Director in August last year following the retirement of Dale West who led the organisation for 32 years.

“As a student at Loreto College, Hannah was encouraged, along with a number of other girls, by Mother Brigid Jones I.B.V.M. to pursue the career of social work as a suitable missionary service to the community,’’ Pauline said.

“Her pioneering courage in the early days of welfare in the church, especially as a female leader, still inspires us today. We never want what Hannah did to be taken for granted, and we never will.

“I acknowledge all previous staff who are with us today, and those who have gone before us.

“I cannot speak to all of your experiences, your stories, the happenings and connections that only you know, but I can say thank you, because you left an impression that has never disappeared, and has been built upon, story by story; a foundation of experiences with our clients and each other, and as we know, it is in fact our clients who change our lives.’’

Pauline highlighted Dale’s contribution in shaping Centacare’s vision, mission, culture and client focus while being a “mentor and guide for many hundreds of people over the years’’.

“I want to acknowledge with reverence, the tens of thousands of people that have needed our assistance over the years, and those who still do,’’ Pauline added.

“It is an honour to be in that space of vulnerability with them. It is often an intense experience for us all, but if we cannot solve a problem, or an issue, we do not walk away – we stay in the pain with the person we are with, and it is in those moments where we most deeply live our mission, and experience what our calling really is.’’

Centacare supports more than 20,000 people each year, operating within a strong ethical framework informed by the values and principles of Catholic Social Teaching.

Pauline pointed to a crucifix, found discarded in a skip bin after being removed from Fennescey House – where it had hung for decades – ahead of Centacare’s move next door in 2015.

“There was some minor damage to the hands and feet of Our Lord on this cross, and it was a powerful moment for me in recognising the symbolism inherent,’’ Pauline said.

“Jesus, on this cross, depicting Him in his most vulnerable and agonizing moment, being discarded and left in the waste.

“I thought of our most vulnerable and fragile clients, and how discarded so many of them have been by those whose role was to support them. I decided then, that this discarded Jesus on this cross, would form the focus of our 80 Years of service and be central to how we acknowledge these years and all those we seek to serve.’’

The crucifix was rededicated by Archishop O’Regan before being passed between Centacare’s Executive Managers in “an expression of how the giving of ourselves at great cost, is transformative to both the giver and the receiver’’.

“I pray it will be a continual reminder of why we do what we do and be a blessing to all who serve and are served by the mission and dynamic spirit of Centacare Catholic Family Services, for many years to come,’’ Pauline said.

Centacare supported 21,305 clients in 2021-2022.

Centacare

Meeting the Challenge

Centacare Catholic Family Services is a Catholic welfare organisation delivering a range of services across the Catholic Archdiocese of Adelaide.

Client Services

45 Wakefield Street Adelaide SA 5000
T 08 8215 6700
E enquiries@centacare.org.au

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