2016 Highlights

2016 has certainly been a BIG year – and I’d like to share some of my highlights!

New Projects 

  • The Cranebrook Connects – Collective Impact project has been a collaboration for creating opportunities for new projects and activities. The Community Working Group are thrilled to win a Magnetic Places grant, and the Opportunities Working Group will coordinate a new 12 month project to maximise employment and training opportunities from the Shopping Centre re-development for Cranebrook residents.
  • We have loved working with the Thornton community from the ground up, where we provide community development activities for this inspiring community – and a 12 month extension has allowed new worker Cinzia to continue creating exciting community activities in this wonderful urban space. The Conversational English for Chinese residents has been a fantastic group, and what a pleasure its been to work with Katrina from The Westies on her Thornton Markets.

Meeting changing community needs and new challenges…
Youth Team:

  • Chaplaincy, School Holiday programs, Youth Drop-In, Work Development Orders for young people to pay of fines, youth conferencing, school suspension activities – these are the weekly activities at the Hub!
  • Building strong connections with young women (under 18) who are pregnant has been a huge highlight of this year. Nepean Young Pregnancy Support group gave birth to a post-natal group, as our young women continue meeting with their babies. Thanks to Penrith Womens Health for providing a room for this group to continue to meet in the CBD.  Seeing these young mums thriving with their beautiful bubs is a highlight of the week.
  • Kids at Mulgoa PS are gaining social skills as our Chaplain ran Second Step – a whole of school socio-emotional program to develop communication, and emotional regulation skills for kids. So appreciative of the support from the Principal and teachers who have made this program a success- with the whole school learning to understand their emotions
  • The Mental Health Roadshow saw us out and about through October with lunchtime displays across Penrith’s high schools. Over a thousand conversations with young people, loads of resources and info provided, and young people talking with us about their view of the world, what they love and what they are most concerned about.

Community Development Team:

  • The Cranebrook Collective Impact project is re-energising the many partners and stakeholders involved (schools, NGO’s, government agencies, residents, businesses) – with NCNS as the backbone, our partners and the community have already implemented actions and ideas to make the community more liveable, safer for kids, and creating opportunities for everyone to thrive.
  • The Community Working Group has some great ideas and inspiration – including a new Welcome sign for Cranebrook, which they will create in early 2017. This is an inspiring group of young people, mums dads and grandparents – with a shared commitment to making Cranebrook better.
  • With the Shopping Centre re-development reducing food options, Cranebrook Breakfast Club has been more important than ever, and the place to be this year  – every week 300-400 children and young people enjoy a safe and supportive social environment and a healthy brekky; and many make their lunch as well.
  • New Community Outreach days in partnership with Westcare and other partners is creating a buzz. With the coffee van and the new Staples Food Bags – this is a great way to connect with community and respond to needs
  • Regular weekly Tenant Engagement in public housing complexes across St Marys, Kingswood, and Emu Plains allows very socially isolated tenants the chance to connect with a worker and link in to services, right there and then. This has been especially valued by older and less mobile residents.

Aboriginal Projects Team:

  • Koolyangarra (Kooly) Aboriginal Family Centre co-convenes (alongside Mitch from PHN) the Penrith BM Aboriginal Worker’s Network Meeting – an important monthly gathering of Aboriginal workers in the area and Kooly is a great space to host this network.
  • A productive partnership with the LHD Aboriginal Unit, has linked many Aboriginal community members to health services. A special day was the Aboriginal Well Womens day, a Health initiative that saw women access health screening, as well as getting their nails and hair done. Such a boost to the confidence and wellbeing.
  • NAIDOC Cup attendance numbers hit 750 children from 21 schools this year. A huge and colourful gala day, that celebrates Aboriginal achievement.
  • The Partners In Recovery-funded 12 month Aboriginal Mental Health Project was finalised, with a comprehensive report  identifying areas for the service system to improve the way it works with Aboriginal clients
  • The Culture Tent at NAIDOC Jamison Park was a highlight – bringing in a series of workshops (weaving, art, story-telling from Uncle Larry) – to provide the opportunity for families to engage in cultural activities.
  • This theme is continued with our regular monthly Cultural Afternoons at Kooly.
  • Outreach Days have been a monthly occurrence at Kooly, with thanks to the services who attend each month.
  • Wahlan Mahlee Aboriginal girls dance group continues its in-demand performances at civic events across Penrith.

Casework Team:

  • Brighter Futures and Youth Hope teams are working intensively with families where there is Risk of Significant Harm, with thanks to consortium lead, Wesley Mission.
  • Alongside the casework sits our groupwork program – health and living skills, tutoring and Aboriginal supported playgroup and Teen Triple P.
  • Thanks to the partnership with Wentworth Area Housing – providing hope for women to escape domestic violence and make a fresh start.

Early Childhood & Parenting Programs:

  • Any stigma associated with Parenting programs is definitely in the past. Triple P registrations are at all time highs, with 2 groups required most terms to meet the need.
  • Every term, our Triple P groups attendance reflects a combination of dads, Aboriginal parents, mandated parents, and general community self-referred parents. The reason we remain committed to running so much Triple P, (apart from the unrivalled evidence base) – is because of the feedback from these parents. Without exception, every term, parents write, ring, post on Facebook – how the techniques they’ve learnt in Triple P have restored the balance at home, making parenting less stressful, and enjoyable again. This is the best endorsement for Triple P you can get.
  • Keeping Children Safe is run at Cranebrook a few times each year, and Cool Little Kids is well-attended.
  • ADHD and Anxiety Information workshops fill an important gap for parents to understand their child’s experience and learn tips and skills to support and nurture their children
  • One-to-one sessions with referrals to ATAPS for children from disadvantaged communities has been important for getting targeted services to the kids who most need it, at the time it can be most effective.
  • You can see the Paint the Town ReAd tent at both Braddock & Kingswood Park Public Schools’ every week at school drop-off time – for early literacy and reading goodness.
  • Another highlight is Kooly Aboriginal Supported Playgroup, and its off-shoot, the 10-week Aboriginal Speech & Language School Readiness program for 4-5 year olds about to start school. This year 16  children completed this program and are off to a great start at school. Kooly Playgroup is bursting at the seams and a Very big thanks to our many partners – Lapstone Preschool, Building Stronger Foundations Team, Northcott, Penrith City Council, LifeStart, Aboriginal Health Unit and others……
  • Kooly and St Marys Aboriginal Supported Playgroups are the best around – thanks to our amazing Aboriginal staff and commitment from the wrap-around services that support child development and parents. Kooly Playgroup was the Aboriginal site that was selected to participate in a UTS longitudinal study looking Developing Early Literacies in Informal Settings : Linguistic and Cultural Diversity, Disadvantage and Supported Playgroups.Morgan, Liam, (Author.). We were so thrilled to contribute to the evidence base for Aboriginal early literacy and the role of supported playgroups – particularly  for an urban Aboriginal setting. The study was an endorsement of the model, with children tracked after graduating playgroup for school – and doing very well, compared with the average.
  • Study author Liam Morgan, Andrew Chodewski, and Criss Jones-Dias were guest speakers at our AGM, and their passion, energy and support for the way we are using a cultural, informal framework to develop early literacy skills at Kooly & St Marys Playgroup was a great boost for the team
  • This year we expanded the Aboriginal Supported Playgroup to St Marys – where the Lifestart Team have provided the use of their children’s room – its been a great partnership. The St Marys Aboriginal community are loving the Supported Playgroup format, with all the wrap-around services (immunisation clinic, baby clinic, early intervention screening, ear & eye testing, OT & Speech therapies) and Krystle has a great group who are

Thank you to our MANY, MANY partners – too many to name. But our enormous thanks to each of you for your commitment to our shared vision – communities of respect, reconciliation and resilience.

The Board, Management & Staff at NCNS thank you for your support this year; we look forward to your continued collaboration next year.

Joy Impiombato

General Manager