FreezaNG Youth

New FreeZa partnership to grow performance opportunities in the Northern Grampians

Young people in the Northern Grampians Shire will have a revamped FreeZa program for the next three years.

Grampians Community Health in partnership with Stawell Performing Arts Company Inc and the Stawell Neighbourhood House will work with young people aged 12-25 to deliver the FReeZA youth development program which provides opportunities to enjoy live band gigs, dance parties and other cultural, recreational and artistic events in drug, alcohol and smoke-free supervised and safe venues.

Grampians Community Health Chief Executive Greg Little said that the strength of the partnership would be in using the expertise of each organisation to develop the FreeZa program in the Northern Grampians Shire.

“Grampians Community Health has a strong focus on supporting young people, Stawell Performing Arts Company has expertise in artistic and music events and the Stawell Neighbourhood House provides training and activities in a welcoming space. The intention is to marry these together to grow the capacity of young people to deliver the activities” said Mr Little.

“The three organisations already have very strong youth involvement and connections which we will be able to draw from as well” added Mr Little.

A group of young people with an interest in leading the FreeZa program will be recruited and provided with training to identify and deliver FreeZa events.

Stawell Neighbourhood House Manager Lisa Arnfield said that the agency partnership will very much be about supporting the development of the young people involved in FreeZa.

“Our role is not going to be to tell young people what they want, in many ways it will be a mentoring role to help them problem solve and learn” said Mrs Arnfield.

Stawell Performing Arts Company Inc President Dianne Stewart said that she was looking forward to adding FreeZa events to the growing calendar of performances and activities already provided in the Northern Grampians.

“We already have a number of young people keen to be involved in the FreeZa program, either through the committee or by offering their experience as mentors. We hope that as more young people come on board that we can set up a really good foundation for the growth of the local FreeZa program” said Ms Stewart.

FreeZa is funded by the Victorian Government. The Central Grampians LLEN will also be delivering FreeZa programs in the Northern Grampians Shire.

Young People wanting to be part of leading the FreeZaNG can email GCH@GrampiansCommunityHealth.org.au

Ability the winner in the Grampians Community Health Arts Contest

Celebrating the abilities and artistic skills of people with a disability was a focus of an arts exhibition and contest held by Grampians Community Health in December to recognise International Day of People with a Disability.

The exhibition was an overwhelming success with many entries on show. The people in the community who attended throughout the week voted for their preferred art and craft with Mason Chamberlin being declared the winner.

Mason said that his painting is about the churning in your heart when you are feeling anxious. “I was grateful for being able to participate in the exhibition and very happy with the result” said Mason.

Grampians Community Health CEO Greg Little said that the quality of the art shown and the involvement of people from the local community made this art show a wonderful event.

“We wanted to acknowledge the strength, abilities and contribution people with a disability make to our community and the arts showcase and competition really achieved this” said Mr Little

Grampians Community Health General Manager Kathy Day said that often we take our abilities for granted, for people with disabilities it is important for us all to be aware of their abilities as without the awareness often they become excluded from participating fully in our community.

“Inclusion is the key, and it is one of Grampians Community Health core values. When we adapt programs and events such as the arts and craft exhibition for people with special abilities, we witness the brilliance of people who can contribute to our community.” Said Mrs Day.

Grampians Community Health works with many people with a disability who have challenges and need support, knowing that by helping them to explore their special abilities it enhances their life and wellbeing. The Grampians Community Health approach is to focus in their strengths and ability to perform well on an activity, by taking in consideration that some people are more analytical, and others are more visual or sound oriented we are able to enhance their abilities.

Mrs Day added “Disability changes not only the life of the person, it changes their family and the community, identifying their strength and giving them the opportunity to participate, we all benefit”.

Grampians Community Health is a provider of services under the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS).

“We are trying to be really flexible in the supports we provide eligible participants of the NDIS, providing the functional support and community inclusion that an individual needs” said Mr Little

Anyone wishing to access any of the Grampians Community Health services can easily do so by calling 5358 7400.

'Back fairness this election', Wimmera organisations tell pollies

‘Back fairness this election’, Wimmera organisations tell pollies

‘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

ryan.sheales@vcoss.org.au

0418 127 153

Getting the help you need locally is one of the key philosophies of Grampians Community Health. Local support is the key!

Local support is the key

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.

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