22/07/21 Deputy Director Pauline Connelly has this message for South Australians as we grapple with the snap lockdown, and a strange but familiar reality.

 

This year has already been one of change and adjustment, and it continues, as we negotiate our way through this moment in time.

The challenge for us all during these times is to recognise the impact the present has on our own wellbeing, as well as those around us.

When we first went into lockdown last year, the idea was new and we were still getting our heads around the concept of a pandemic.

This year we know more. We have learned that we can do it and that even though, for many, personal anxiety was high around their own health and safety, the things we put into place worked.

We all experience these things differently. Whatever we experience is just a normal response to an abnormal situation, and there should be no judgement of ourselves or others as to how we respond.

I remember that initial adrenalin rush along with high activity at Centacare. There was a sense of novelty about people working remotely in their pyjamas or trackies, although others found it easier to dress for work each day, even though at home.

Many people expressed that they felt extra tired having to be so vigilant with daily life. There was heightened awareness about hand washing, whether they were too close to someone in a shop, or worried about touching a surface etc.

As you will all now have experience to draw upon about what best worked for you, I wonder how lockdown will be for you this time?

I encourage you every now and then to stop and observe how you are. What is it you are actually feeling? Be ok about feeling that, and have compassion for yourself as you live out this experience.

Even though there is a familiarity about what we all have to do this week, there will be circumstances in our lives that are different to last year which will shape our experience this time. Talk to your colleagues, family and friends.

Keep in touch and stay connected because normalising where we are at is very important.

 

21/07/21 Family challenges? Feeling overwhelmed? Seeking clarity amid COVID-19 confusion?

Free phone counselling is available now by appointment with Centacare Catholic Family Services.

You do not need a mental health care plan to access the short-term support.

Phone Centacare between 9am to 5pm, Monday to Friday, to make a daytime or evening appointment.

The telephone counselling service is inclusive, non-judgmental and unconditional.

“In isolation with families, what once may have been an irritant can become an aggravator, and what once was a disappointment can lead to confusion and disturbance in one’s thinking,” said Pauline Connelly, Deputy Director.

“Seeking help early at these times, through phone counselling, can offer relief and provide a pathway to a new normal.”

To book an appointment for COVID-19 telephone counselling, please phone Centacare on 8215 6700. 

Centacare Catholic Family Services is taking all reasonable steps to safeguard and support staff, volunteers, and clients as the state’s COVID-19 cluster continues to grow.

In line with the snap seven-day statewide lockdown from 6pm this evening, the following practices have been put in place:

  • All Centacare sites in metropolitan and regional South Australia will close today
  • Wandana Community Centre at Gilles Plains has closed
  • All group activities, mobile playgroups, and training are cancelled
  • Where possible, service delivery will be provided over the phone in lieu of face-to-face support
  • Residential sites remain open but with restrictions

Please note, specialist domestic violence and homelessness services remain open to support families experiencing and/or escaping violence and young people experiencing or at risk of homelessness.

It is possible that the nature of some Centacare service delivery may change in the short-term as we act in accordance with the most recent advice.

If restrictions are extended, well-developed service continuity plans will be enacted.

We are committed to providing clients with the highest possible level of support while operating within an environment that is safe for everyone.

Your patience, understanding and cooperation is much appreciated at this time.

For more information about our services, please phone 8215 6700.

Domestic violence

Domestic and family violence services around South Australia remain open to support families experiencing and/or escaping violence.

If you are concerned for yourself, or a friend or family member in isolation, please remember that there are ways to remain supported and connected. If a person at risk feels supported and encouraged, they may feel stronger and more able to make decisions.

If you are experiencing violence, you can access support, including safety planning, over the phone.

24-hour crisis response is available via the Domestic Violence Crisis Line 1800 800 098 including pathways into safe accommodation, risk assessment, safety management, and access to the Personal Protection App.  

24-hour counselling response is available for intimate partner violence and sexual violence via 1800RESPECT (1800 737 732)

If you are in immediate danger, please call SAPOL on 000.

In response to current SA Health advice, Centacare Catholic Family Services has implemented immediate measures to safeguard and support staff, clients and volunteers.

While all Centacare sites in regional and metropolitan South Australia remain open to the public, mask use is now mandatory for clients, visitors and the staff who support them.

Appointments will proceed accordingly with the exception of playgroups, group activities and mobile services such as toy libraries.

These measures will come into force from midnight and at this stage will remain until Friday, pending further advice.

If restrictions are extended, well-developed service continuity plans will be enacted.

It is possible the nature of some Centacare service delivery may change in the short-term as we act in accordance with the most recent advice.

However, we remain committed to providing clients with the highest possible level of support and will provide updated service information as changes occur.

 

 

A new family reunification service to support children and young people to live safely in the care of their families begins today.

Unify will work intensively with families who have been separated by the child protection system due to safety concerns, and will support parents to make life changes to meet their children’s needs.

Funded by the Department for Child Protection, Unify has a focus on intergenerational trauma as a key precursor of child abuse and neglect.

Promoting family-led decision-making, Unify is a general and specialist reunification service that works with families where:

  • Children are subject to short-term care and protection arrangements with a case plan to support parents to permanently and safely resume their care;
  • Children or young people are subject to long-term care and protection orders and have not experienced permanency in care, leading to a case plan to explore safe care with a family member.

Under Unify, Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal families receive up to 10 hours intensive support each week, over a flexible intervention up to one year in duration.

Families who are reunified during intervention will be provided step-down support to nurture familial stability and resilience and prevent future contact with the child protection system.

Unify continues the excellent work of the previous Reunification and Adolescent Reunification teams, based on the unique model of service developed in these programs.

 

 

In response to current SA Health advice, Centacare Catholic Family Services has implemented immediate measures to safeguard and support staff, clients and volunteers.

 Mask use is now mandatory for clients, visitors and the staff who support them.

 At this stage, all Centacare sites remain open to the public and appointments will proceed accordingly.

 Were this to change, well-developed service continuity plans will be enacted.

 We are reminded to continue to practice safety by maintaining good hand hygiene, socially distancing and using COVID-19 check-ins.

 It is possible that the nature of some Centacare service delivery may change in the short-term as we act in accordance with the most recent advice.

 However, we remain committed to providing clients with the highest possible level of support under the circumstances.

Christine Plunkett is hoping to be a voice for change by being a good listener.

The retired registered nurse and Soroptimist International member is one of the faces behind The Haven, a new safety hub which officially opens today at Mount Gambier Library.

Operated by the Women’s Information Service, The Haven provides resources and warm referrals to specialist domestic and family violence supports to empower women’s decision-making around their safety and relationships.

From left, Vivii, Libby, Jenny, Leonie, Kathy, Jenni, Barb and Christine are volunteers at The Haven.

Christine is one of about a dozen specially trained volunteers who staff the hub.

She first learned of the project three years ago while researching homelessness in women aged over 55 years.

“The people who were helping out were the listeners: the hairdressers, the nail technicians and the like,’’ Christine said.

“I recognised the need for somewhere for women to go to get the information they’d require if they were in crisis.’’

Drawing on her extensive experience in occupational health nursing, primary health care and local government, Christine was itching to be part of The Haven.

In just a few weeks, it has already started conversations around domestic violence within the community, she said.

“Spreading the word is as important as providing information to the women we meet,’’ Christine said.

“We are not the experts but we are a listening ear who have got the resources available to empower women to make informed decisions and choices.’’

People can telephone or visit in person for information about domestic and family violence including the red flags to look out for, housing and legal matters, drug and alcohol supports, family dispute resolution, multicultural resources and more.

The Haven volunteers were mentored by long-time women’s advocate and Safety Hub Project Officer Sonya Mezinec who was based at Centacare’s Limestone Coast Domestic Violence Service while the hub was set up.

Similar hubs have been located in Murray Bridge, Whyalla, Murray Bridge and other areas of greatest need determined through direct feedback from State Government domestic and family violence roundtables with sector and community participants.

“There is so much we can learn as a community, particularly around coercive control and psychological and financial abuse,’’ Sonya said.

“The more informed people are about those red flags in relationships, the better equipped they will be to help themselves and others.’’

*The Haven is open from 9am-4pm Monday to Friday at Mount Gambier Library, 6 Watson Tce, Mount Gambier.

 

 

 

From left, Vivii Jaffer, Libby Ditcham, Jenny Braddy, Leonie Dowdell, Kathy Griffen, Jenni Giles, Barb Munt, Christine Plunkett.

We’ve all been stumped by heavy homework loads at some point.

From tricky math equations to ambiguous essay questions and frustrated exchanges with parents who try in vain to help.

A new homework club at Wandana Community Centre aims to minimise schoolwork stressors through fun and informal extra-curricular support.

The club meets weekly on Tuesday evening, with Coordinator Rafael Lopez and two experienced volunteers on hand to tackle whatever task or topic secondary students bring.

“They might need help with their homework or support to manage other worries,’’ said Rafael.

The club started early this month and has the capacity to work with up to 15 young people each week.

Rafael said language barriers were a common challenge for students from diverse cultural backgrounds who had reached out to the club for help.

“Even if they can speak English, often their parents can’t, so the students don’t have the support they need at home to feel confident with their studies,’’ he said.

“We hope to fill that gap.’’

In addition to homework, students can seek help for emotional and social challenges, and with tasks such as resume writing and completing job applications.

“Whatever they need, we will try and help,’’ Rafael said.

Supported by Morialta Trust Inc, the group is aimed at students in Years 7 to 12.

*The club meets every Tuesday from 4pm to 5.30pm at 14 Blacks Rd, Gilles Plains. For more information, phone Wandana Community Centre on 8215 6330 or email wandanacc@centacare.org.au

 

Volunteering can sow the seeds of a healthy community, just ask Diana Mathew.

Since joining Wandana Community Centre as a volunteer four years ago, Diana has rebounded from illness and honed new skills while reaping the satisfaction that comes with helping others.

One of 10 active volunteers at Wandana, Diana is a vital part of the community gardening group which meets weekly on Monday morning.

Under the guidance of garden caretaker Alan Shepard, Diana supervises participants and tends the fruit trees, vegetable areas, orchard and herb garden.

She says taking on the unpaid role unearthed an unexpected passion for gardening, now evident in her own backyard. 

“If they’d said at the start we need an English teacher, or someone to teach relaxation or people how to budget, I would have taken any of those options over gardening,’’ explains Diana.

“But gardening was all that was available at the time. It was a good decision that I wouldn’t have made, and I’ve never looked back; I loved it right from the word go.’’

There is always work to do in the organic green space on Blacks Rd at Gilles Plains.

Almond, pomegranate, quince, lemon, loquat, plum, mulberry and vanilla-tasting ice cream bean trees stand tall in the orchard, while indigenous plantings attract birds and native butterflies.

Seasonal vegetables and herbs are abundant. Sometimes these are offered for sale from the propagating shed – built by local TAFE students – to raise money for new seedlings and garden equipment.

While a back injury has forced Diana to temporarily down tools, she looks forward to returning to the place that gave her a routine at a time when she needed it the most.

“It sets up my week,’’ she said.

“One of my passions in life is to help other people; it’s been my driving thing ever since I can remember. So if I can help people in any way, I want to do that.’’

Diana’s advice for people pondering volunteering is to go for it: “Try something different. It might be the best thing you ever do.’’

*National Volunteer Week is being celebrated from May 17 to 23. The theme this year is Recognise, Reconnect and Reimagine. 
If you are interested in becoming a volunteer at Centacare, please call Volunteer Coordinator Jacinta Toy on 8215 6843. Wandana’s community garden group meets every Monday from 9am-midday. For more information, phone Wandana on 8215 6330.

Monday mornings at Wandana Community Centre wouldn’t be the same without Rob Carver and his trusty sidekick, Dasher.

The duo play important roles in the Centre’s sprawling community garden, where Rob oversees repairs and Dasher keeps everyone on their toes.

“He loves it here,’’ says Rob, one of 10 active volunteers at Wandana. 

“He makes sure everyone’s occupied with something to do, even if that’s just throwing the ball for him.’’

In search of a new challenge, Rob put up his hand to help at the Gilles Plains site three years ago.

A retired builder, he knew he had plenty to offer, and promptly set to work.

Today he has repaired the garden’s lattice gate, bundled up piles of sticks, and tended the raised beds flush with green capsicums and beans.

“I’m a doing person,’’ Rob says of what drives him to volunteer.

“At home, I’ve done everything; if a blade of grass comes up, it’s gone!

“With my wife in aged care, I like to keep myself busy outside, and everyone here is absolutely fantastic.’’

Rob is among the one in five people nationally who have returned to volunteering in the wake of COVID-19.

When Wandana shifted activities and supports online last year, Rob was forced to step away from his role for six months.

He is grateful to be back, and for the opportunity to once again put his myriad of skills to good use in support of the place where he’s made friends and found new purpose.

“I’m an average gardener, but I’ll do anything and everything to fix what’s broken,’’ Rob says, pointing to shade cloth he recently repaired in the propagating shed.

“When I go home each Monday, I feel I’ve achieved something.

“I look back and think `that was good, I did a nice job’.

“If the opportunity comes up to volunteer, you’re mad if you don’t take it.’’

If you are interested in becoming a volunteer at Centacare, please call Volunteer Coordinator Jacinta Toy on 8215 6843.

Wandana’s community garden group meets every Monday from 9am-midday. For more information, phone the team on 8215 6330.

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 | F 08 8232 8920
E enquiries@centacare.org.au

Opening Hours

Monday – Tuesday | 9am – 5pm
Wednesday – Thursday | 9am – 9pm
Friday | 9am – 5pm

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