The following story is not unusual.
“I am 17 and used to live with my mum and her boyfriend but I had to leave. Mum’s boyfriend used to hit me when mum wasn’t around and that was a lot because she worked at a pub and was often working over 40 hours a week. He used to scream at me and make me clean up after him and his friends. I didn’t like his friends, some of them would stare at me all the time and it scared me.
I knew mum wouldn’t believe me if I told her so one day when she was at work and her boyfriend was asleep I took the backpack I had packed under my bed and ran away.
I had no place I could go, and I couldn’t return home, I would get into more trouble. I stayed the first few nights at some friends’ houses but I didn’t want their parents to know I was around in case my mum was looking for me. I couldn’t go back there.
I stopped going to school, just in case my mum turned up or called the school and the teachers told her I was there.
I went to Centrelink to talk to them about getting some money as I knew that my friends wouldn’t be able to help me for long.
It was really hard because I had to prove that I was not a dependent. This took a really long time and I thought for a while that it was never going to happen.
Finally I started receiving payments but keeping them was so hard. It is really hard to look for a job when you’ve got nowhere to live or shower.
I decided that I would look for a house but the real estates would ask how much I was getting paid and they wouldn’t even put my applications in, when I asked why I haven’t been accepted, they said that I wouldn’t be able to afford the rent.”
Youth homelessness continues to be one of the major issues that Grampians Community Health and other social support agencies are confronted with in our community.
Homelessness week is held from 4th to 10th of August 2019, and Grampians Community Health asks all people to consider some of the underlying causes of why our young people, just like in the true story above find themselves homeless.
The disparity between Youth allowance or Newstart allowance and the average cost of housing is huge, Australia wide, this disparity exists even with low income earners and rental prices.
- A person on Youth Allowance under 18 years of age living at home earns $249.20 fortnightly, and if a person on Youth Allowance under 18 years of age living out of home earns $455.20 fortnightly.
- A person on Newstart allowance that is a single adult with no children earns $489.70 fortnightly, and a person on Newstart allowance that is single with dependent children earn $529.80 fortnightly.
- The average cost of a 1 bedroom place in the Stawell area is $200 per week, on average rentals are costing on average $165 to $440 per week through Australia.
As part of moving into a rental there must be 2 weeks and Bond paid prior to collecting the keys, which isn’t always thought about either.
If you add on the average cost of amenities it is understandable that our homelessness rate has increased by 11% in the past 8 years.
Grampians Community Health has confidential support services for people who are, or may be facing homelessness. Anyone wishing to access any of the Grampians Community Health services can easily do so by calling 5358 7400.
We are holding a breakfast on Friday the 9th August 8AM at 8-22 Patrick Street Stawell, to help bring awareness of homelessness to the community, if you would like to join us, please call 03 5358 7400 to RSVP
Wheelchair accessible vehicle comes in Spades at Grampians Community Health
It isn’t often adults choose to sit in the back seat of a car, it’s like sitting in the middle seat on a plane – the vision isn’t good, there isn’t as much legroom, it’s just not as comfortable. For some people with limited mobility their travel options were limited, sit up the back in wheelchair accessible buses or rely on someone to physically lift and transfer them into and out of a car. Grampians Community Health now has a Toyota Spade available to the community thanks to Jamie Erwin and the Grampians Toy Club and a number of generous community and business donors.
The Toyota Spade is a stylish, fully imported factory purpose-built vehicle, designed for people with mobility and wheelchair needs.
The Spade features an electric sliding left-hand door, high roofline and low flat floor; it also has a front passenger seat that is a ‘Toyota’ wheelchair. This means that someone needing a wheelchair can enter and alight the vehicle from the passenger side with ease, whilst staying comfortably seated in the wheelchair.
Grampians Community Health CEO Mr Greg Little said that when he was contacted by Jamie Erwin from the Grampians Toy Club with the offer of the car he had no hesitation in agreeing to the vehicle.
“Grampians Community Health provides vehicles for use in our older persons groups and NDIS programs as well as the community car for non-emergency patient transport so to have a vehicle specifically manufactured to transport people in a wheelchair in the fleet will provide an even better service for people in our community and their carers” said Greg.
Jamie Erwin of the Grampians Toy Club came up with the concept of purchasing a Toyota Spade after seeing a need in our community to allow people needing wheelchairs or with limited mobility to travel with dignity in cars, club members fully agreed to support the purchase.
“Often people end up in a wheelchair through illness, accident or frailty and due to this situation, they lose some of the things we take for granted, such as how we get around in cars. The Spade allows them to sit up front, next to the driver for good social interaction, good visibility, dignity and a feeling of belonging rather than feeling relegated to the back of a van.” said Jamie
Donations towards the purchase of the vehicle were provided by Grampians Toy Club, Grampians Community Health, Grampians Excavation and Soil Yard, Rick Steel, West Cranes and Access Hire, CKS Engineering, Monaghans Real Estate, Corinella Farms, Stawell Toyota, Moore Bulk Haulage, Anglican Parish Church Stawell, Northern Grampians Shire Council, Stawell Auto Wreckers and Heather & Robert Oliver in Memory of their son Peter Oliver.
Greg Little said that the vehicle couldn’t have been purchased without the donations and Grampians Community Health was grateful for their foresight in contributing to this car.
“As a charity, donations to Grampians Community Health are fully tax deductible, however I am sure in this instance that was the last thing on the donor’s minds as they genuinely wanted to provide something in our community that could change someone’s life,” said Greg.
The Toyota Spade will be available for community use through the Grampians Community Health ‘Community Car’ program. To access any of Grampians Community Health services phone 03 53587400.
Grampians Community Health is a not for profit charity with DGR status for tax-deductible donations towards its programs.
Grampians Toy Club is a community organisation that is primarily a Classic and Collectible Vehicle Club with a mission of holding various fundraising activities that contributes money back into the community of Stawell.
Grampians Community Health warming up winter with Coats for the Cold
Employees at Grampians Community Health have started a new local initiative to help people fight of the cold this winter.
Feeling Cold? Take a coat
Want to help? Leave one
One of the most daunting situations during winter, is to keep yourself warm, and not everyone always has the means to do that. With that in mind, employees at Grampians Community Health are joining forces to help people who need a warm coat.
Grampians Community Health Chief Executive Greg Little said that this winter has come in quickly, very cold and wet so far in the region with little warning that the weather would turn as quickly as it did.
“Winter can be a tough for many people in our region, and we need to consider that older people, homeless people and others who may be going through a rough time suffers the most”, said Mr Little
Kathy Day, General Manager of People and Community Support said that at the entrance of the Stawell Health and Community Centre in Patrick Street Grampians Community Health has installed a rack for donated winter coats.
“People are coming in and getting a coat if they need, and others are just leaving one to help out” said Mrs Day
Since the installation of the rack in Stawell, Grampians Community Health have had great response from staff and the community, and are planning on setting up racks in its Horsham and Ararat offices.
Mr Little said “It is great to see people getting involved by donating a coat, it is such a simple way to make sure people are warm and cared for in the winter season”
“We would welcome anyone who has a coat in the wardrobe they are not using to bring it in and hang it on the rack for someone to benefit from”, he added.
Anyone wishing to access any of the Grampians Community Health services including homelessness or aged care services can easily do so by calling 5358 7400.
Mental Awareness Sessions
Jeremey Forbes from HALT – Hope and Assistance to Local Tradies
Knowing what to look for and where to go for help in the Grampians and Wimmera is behind a new program being brought to the area this week.
Money raised from the Healthy Blokes Over 40’s Football Match held in Ararat last August is being utilised to promote Men’s Health, and mental health in particular. HALT (Hope and Assistance to Local Tradies) will be partnering with Grampians Community Health to provide this unique insight into dealing with mental health and local responses.
Greg Little CEO of Grampians Community Health said that a commitment was made by Grampians Community Health to use the funds from the extremely well supported Over 40’s Footy match to hold Mental Health awareness raising sessions and First Aid courses at places where men frequent.
“The HALT sessions are the first step in honouring this commitment and investing in the mental health of blokes in our community” said Mr Little.
HALT was developed by Jeremy Forbes from Castlemaine, a builder and an artist with the support of a concerned community. Jeremy went on to host the first ‘SAVE YOUR BACON’ Brekky in November 2013, for those in the building industry. It all started in a timber yard of a local hardware store, Rotarians behind the BBQ cooking a breakfast of bacon and eggs and a free goodie bag for all who attended.
Jermey will host next week’s sessions in the region, conveying a positive message and awareness to workers that are traditionally less likely to come forward when faced with their own mental health issues.
Jeremey Forbes explains that HALT aims to remind people they are valued by their community, and direct them to support services, both local and national, should they need them.
Kathleen Doole from Grampians Community Health said that although HALT’s original focus was on the trade sector we are excited to extend the sessions in the Grampians to local football clubs, Men’s sheds, and Local businesses.
Grampians Community Health are also holding an open session in Stawell on Wednesday 5th June at 12pm until 1pm for anyone who might be interested in hearing Jeremy’s inspirational talk. For more information about the Grampians Community Health Halt events or if you are interested in having a HALT session later on in the year please contact Grampians Community Health 03 5358 7400.
Anyone wishing to access any of the Grampians Community Health services can easily do so by calling 03 5358 7400.
Launch of Connecting2Community in the Grampians Wimmera Region
Connecting2Community is an initiative between Grampians Community Health and Ballarat Community Health is bringing a new peer designed and led model of mental health support to the Grampians/Wimmera region. Called Connecting2community, the program has been launched with the support of the Western Victorian Primary Health Network.
Launching the service in Horsham, the key drivers of the program were PHN CEO Dr Leanne Beagley, Sean Duffy CEO of Ballarat Community Health BCH and Greg Little CEO of Grampians Community Health as well as the peer workers who will deliver the service, Lucy Beaton, Shannan Flood, Rick Corney and Sara Cunningham-Smith who are all individuals with a lived experience and hold a formal qualification in Community Services.
It is great to see local services coming together, Grampians Community Health Chief Executive Greg Little said. “There was a gap identified in the service provision for people experiencing mental illness and a joint initiative between BCH and GCH has enabled us to deliver the exciting new program to the Wimmera and surrounds.”
The program is designed to help people tackle their mental illness through support, encouragement and advice as needed, to foster hope and determination for change. The program will see individuals paired with a peer worker to work together for six sessions to identify a goal and achieve an outcome.
“We will help individuals to identify and achieve goals big or small to work towards a rewarding positive future. That is why we are so excited about this program, this is an opportunity for people in our region to get the support they need when they are struggling. The peer support relates to the individuals and what they are experiencing”, said Grampians Community Health peer-worker Shannan Flood.
Mr Little said that “The program is being delivered across the Wimmera including Horsham, Stawell and Ararat with the other three workers based at Ballarat Community Health”.
“The great thing about this program is that people can self-refer to the service by sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org, or by calling the number 1800 056 400, and they can also ask their GP to make a referral” 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.