Children’s Fun Day

The Kingswood Park Kids Fun Day was held during the Christmas School Holidays as part of a Kingswood Park Kids Collective Community Grant established prior to COVID-19. The children held meetings and planning sessions, they learnt how to budget and look at the safety aspects of holding an event. Alongside these skills they began to realise the importance of negotiation and inclusion, often working through a long session of working out ways to make the groups majority apply.

It was a great catch up with the children and families in the local area after the Christmas break. After what had been a very disruptive year and often very confusing for children, they all enjoyed letting their hair down and having some fun whilst still being COVID-19 friendly.

NCNS put on some really fun and often messy play activities. The children’s favourite activities were Pie Face and making their own batch of slime. They also enjoyed Fortnite, Monopoly, ball games, art and craft and cake decorating were also throughout the day. The group is looking forward to more fun days in the future.

Check out the photos below!

More than a word, a reflection on the Apology

Today is the 13th Anniversary of the National Apology to the stolen generations by Prime Minister Kevin Rudd.  2021 is also the 20th anniversary for Reconciliation Australia. This years theme for Reconciliation Week is ‘More than a word: Reconciliation takes action.’ This means that we need more Australians to speak up, speak the truth, ask the hard questions and see the hard facts.

The Anniversary of the Apology and this year’s Reconciliation Week theme made me think about how far we have come and how far we still need to go, to become a reconciled Australia. As a non-Aboriginal Australian growing up in Australia, at school, when I was taught about the history of colonisation, they minimised and completely skipped over the traumatic experiences that Aboriginal people suffered. It was not until I worked for NCNS, alongside my Aboriginal colleagues and listened to their stories, and participated in cultural training, that I really got an understanding of the truth about Australia’s history and it was shocking. I could not believe that this information had been simply ‘left out’ of our education.

Since then, it has been really important to me to stand up, challenge stereotypes & mistruths that people around me might have and/or ignorant comments that they may say, to try and re-educate and open their minds as just like my younger self, many of my non-Aboriginal friends & family have been oblivious to the truth.

Although the road to reconciliation has been slow, I have hope that we can get there.

I remember having a heated discussion, a few years ago where I argued with a friend who had a strong belief in his own assumptions about Aboriginal people, the truth about Australia’s history of colonisation, and little empathy for our first nations past experiences at the hands of our government. I tried to explain to them what I had learnt from my Aboriginal colleagues and cultural training but we had to agree to disagree as we could not see eye to eye.

A few weeks ago, I was approached by this same friend, who came to tell me that all of their assumptions had shifted due to working closely with Aboriginal colleagues who had opened up their mind and shared their experiences, Aboriginal culture, and views. They told me how they now had a much better understanding of Aboriginal culture and that they thought their Aboriginal colleagues were amazing people and how they loved the way that their Aboriginal colleagues saw the world. I was so happy to see that someone who had thought so strongly one way, could have such a big change of heart.

This may seem like a small feat, but it is these small moments that can lead to real change.

As non-Indigenous Australians, it is our responsibility to educate ourselves about the truth of Australia’s history, ask questions and listen to our first nations people who have lived here for over 65,000 years.

It is important to remember the Apology each year, so we can keep this fresh in our minds and work towards reconciliation every day through our thoughts, words and actions.

We have a bunch of fun at Summer Lunch

This year we held our annual Summer Lunch in January at Kooly to welcome the community back into our centre after our much needed Christmas & New Year break. 2020 was a crazy year for all of us so it was especially great to be able to start of the year with a small gathering with our community to catch up and reconnect with them.

Although it was a cold, rainy day, the children, young people and families got to participate in a range of activities. They loved the Aboriginal rock painting using earth tones, and telling a story through paint.

They decorated cookies using individual icing pens, peals and sprinkles.

They also created mason jar terrariums using succulents, soils, stones, sand and shells. This activity was a huge hit with all the children and adults!  They  really loved doing the succulent terrarium activity, saying that it was relaxing and they were really excited that they were able to take it home with them.

The children made different shapes and animals using their imagination and playdough.

Even with the cold, rainy weather we had a couple of children, along with NCNS Youth Worker, Joe, who dared to go on the Slip ‘N Slide and had a wet and wild time.

Not only did we all have a wonderful time participating in activities together, we also shared a delicious roast chicken for lunch, with potato and pasta salad which everyone enjoyed. They also loved being able to catch up with other people and/or families they haven’t seen for a while.

NCNS Aboriginal Community Worker, Jen commented, “My highlight of the day was seeing the families who have struggled during COVID isolation, able to come together, socialise and have fun in a safe environment, adhering to COVID regulations of course!”

 

Not your normal NAIDOC Week – We celebrate at SRAC event and reminisce on past NAIDOC Cups

Always Was, Always Will Be was the theme for this year 2020 NAIDOC EVENT.

NAIDOC Week celebrates the history, culture and achievements of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people who have occupied this land for over 65,000 years. It recognises Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders as the traditional custodians of these lands.

Nepean Community & Neighborhood Services took part in Sydney Region Aboriginal Corporation NAIDOC Event in Penrith on Thursday 12th November 2020.

The event was a great opportunity to connect with community, have a yarn, share stories, learn from Aboriginal community members, take part in Aboriginal culture and taste some of the amazing foods that were available.

It was also a great occasion to reconnect with services and members of the community as COVID-19 has made this difficult in recent times.

The event was high spirited, colorful and an exciting experience for all.

This year sadly we were unable to hold our annual event NAIDOC Cup due to COVID-19 restrictions which we know so many young people look forward to each year. So in celebration of NAIDOC Week we thought we would look back at some of the previous years, our first event was in 2011, which was much smaller than the event we see today. In 2014 we had 12 schools with over 600 kids attending, this increased to 21 schools and over 750 students in 2016 and our biggest year last year with 30 local schools participating with over 1500 students on the day!

We hope that in the future when the restrictions ease (we hope next year!), we can hold a bigger and better NAIDOC Cup for all the students that missed out this year. Watch this space!

NCNS Celebrates the important role Grandparents play in families

This year we celebrated grandparent’s day through our at Braddock Playtime Playgroup, Koolyangarra Aboriginal Supported Playgroup and our Dark Emus Aboriginal Supported Playgroup. We had over 50 community members attend from our elders in the community to our young and emerging generation.

All playgroups were rich in culture, age, experience and wisdom. It was an opportunity for the relationship and diversity of grandparents to be recognised across age groups and celebrated, recognising the contributions and impacts that our grandparents have on our families, friends and community.

The playgroups were a platform to foster intergenerational teachings, learning and an opportunity for older people to participate within the community.

Through our playgroups we had an exchange of Aboriginal stories, songs and reading. We also provided each child a reading book that they could take home and read with their grandparent, kin, and those who take on the role of a grandparent. Thank you so much to Penrith City Council who provided the funds to purchase the books that were given to each child.

This celebration was an amazing experience for both our elders and emerging generations to untie and create fireworks.

A friendly update from our Functional Family Therapy – Child Welfare team

The Functional Family Therapy – Child Welfare (FFT-CW) team continues in full swing. As we prepare to depart a challenging 2020 (thanks Covid-19) and enter a new year, here are some of our reflections. Family therapy can indeed be done virtually, via the phone or the screen. But gee, it sure is challenging!

The FFT-CW team continued seeing families throughout Lockdown via small screens or large, and sometimes only by phone, and families and therapists alike became very familiar with the new phrase ‘Zoom Fatigue’. Having said that, we were taken aback and deeply touched by each family showing up to their appointments with good humour and grace. We were all in it together, our families, our NCNS colleagues, our community. And there was strength in these numbers that really gave us the energy to push through. Happily, we’ve come out the other side. We’re back in the homes of our courageous clients and moving full steam ahead.

We’re hoping that the Christmas period isn’t too frantic for everyone and provides us all some time to saunter into a holiday period and have some well earned rest. Happy Holidays everyone and a big cheery wave from Mal, Kelly, Craig, Narelle, Nigella and Sara.

How young people are working on their team work, communication & imagination

The NCNS Youth team have done something a bit different this term with their Monday afternoon activity at our Youth Hub. Youth workers, Sami & Joe decided to start playing Dungeons & Dragons with young people as local young people had shown an interest and it is a great game for helping young people further develop team work skills, communication and imagination.

If you aren’t sure what Dungeons & Dragons is, it is a table top role playing game. So this term, the small group got together in person. One group member becomes the Dungeon Master, who then creates a storyline and describes what is happening in the game. The other players act out the characters that they are playing.

Each player creates their own character using a website called DnD Beyond, using guidelines of what they want their character to look like and what they want them to be good at e.g. fighting, magic, talking. The young people then wrote a back story for their character to help them to be able to act that character better.

The young people play as a mix of humans, halflings, goliaths and elf characters. Some are skilled in magic, others are skilled fighters and one is a skilled musician.

Most of the game relies on their imagination, creating a fantasy world where they have to think of creative ways to get out of tricky situations.

The first part of the mission was for the characters to work together to break out of jail that they had all been captured in. From here they are trying to figure out a way to stop themselves from being captured again. Along the way they  collect some interesting tools, that each allow them to do different things.

Youth Worker, Sami asked the young people participating what their highlight has been and they responded “It’s D&D, what’s not to like?!” They also said that they have been enjoying the creative thinking and the adventure that the game requires.

Sami has really enjoyed seeing how much the young people have engaged so strongly with the game, watching their communication skills evolve, and watching them come up with creative ways to solve the problems they face in the game.

One massive highlight is also that the young people are enjoying playing so much that they are wanting to start their own games, so next term 2 of the young people will be hosting their own groups at the centre instead of me hosting it.

If you are interested in finding about more about the NCNS Youth Afterschool program please contact Sami on 0408 586 797 or Joe on 0417 498 918.

Children’s Week Celebration

On Monday we celebrated Children’s week. This year’s theme is ‘INCRC Article 15 – Children have the right to meet together and join groups and organisations as long as it does not stop other people from enjoying their rights. In exercising their rights, children have the responsibility to respect the rights, freedom and reputations of others.’

As we all know, this year has been like no other year we have experienced before. With this in mind, we had to dramatically change how we celebrated this year’s Children’s Week.

We invited our playgroup families to come and join us for a teeny tiny Children’s Week event in line with Covid-19 restrictions and guidelines.

Monday’s celebration gave our families an opportunity to meet other families, play and have fun with their children and others. Although the weather was dreary, cold, wet and windy, we still had some keen families come along to enjoy the fun.

The children who attended got to engage with a range of activities including construction with towers and buildings being made and demolished. Children got to dress up, read books and paint.

There was also a sensory experience where kids experimented with kinetic sand (many volcanos were formed), enjoyed the soft silky feel of flour, the stickiness of tapioca balls and interesting texture of coloured rice.

To keep the children energised we prepared some delicious cups of fruit salad and tasty cheese and vegemite sandwiches for them to munch on.

Some children even got to enjoy splashing in the puddles before going home for the day.

NCNS Child & Family Worker, Zoe H, smiled, “Although this year’s celebration was a lot smaller than usual, it was such a great way to spend a couple of hours celebrating children from the local community!”

56 dogs and 33 cats vaccinated, microchipped and given health checks in Cranebrook

On Saturday the 17th, Cranebrook Neighbourhood Centre opened its doors and welcomed cats and dogs from the local community. We held our Vaccination and Microchipping day in partnership with Greencross Vets and the RSPCA.

56 dogs and 33 cats were vaccinated, microchipped and given an overall general health check-up. It has been identified by local vets that the rates of vaccinated pets in Cranebrook and Kingswood Park have declined. These areas are also particularly high risk to infectious diseases such as Parvo which can have devastating effects on dogs.  Want to know more about Parvovirus? Click here.


The objective of these pet day are to increase the number of animals being vaccinated and reduce the number of sick animals.  All community members that came with their animal were given information regarding infectious animal diseases and prevention strategies.

NCNS would like to thank the RSPCA and Greencross Vets for their time and efforts to make our community and animals safer.

Penrith Rams helping our KP Kids play & experience playing a team sport

On Tuesday 20th October the Kingswood Park Kids Group started back after the school holidays. This term we are lucky enough to have the Penrith Rams who will be coming to group each week and teaching the children some great new skills.

NCNS Community Development Worker, Justine contacted Lauren from the Penrith Rams to see if the they would be interested in getting involved with our Kingswood Park Kids group. Lauren didn’t hesitate and organised for Isaac to come out with his two children who love to help kids play and experience playing a team sport.

This week the children learnt how to punt and to kick.

They also tested their reflexes and listening skills throughout several games.

The absolute favourite of the day was the game of builders and wreckers. During this game the children learnt to work together in their teams.

It was wonderful to see the children learn new skills while they enjoyed getting out into the fresh air and running around. This program will continue for another 7 weeks and we plan to organise a community game at the Rams home field towards the end of this term.

Thank you so much to Lauren & Isaac from the Penrith Rams for making this such an exciting program for our Kingswood Park Kids!

Young people enjoyed exciting adventures during our School Holiday Program

Sami & Joe from the NCNS Youth Team were super excited to run the holiday program this school holidays (all be it with limited numbers) so they could take young people out of the house and out of the centre. NCNS Youth Worker, Joe, exclaimed, “We are so thrilled that some of the Covid-19 Restrictions have been lifted so we could actually go out with the young people. Sami and I have never been more excited for an outing!”

An average of 10 young people attended each day. The vibes for each day were high spirited and of course, respectful.

The first outing was to Sydney Olympic Park Aquatic Centre where everyone played an entertaining game of Marco Polo, even including many other people in the centre. It was impressive to see that the young people displayed yet again just how inclusive they are.

The next day was a bushwalk to the Pool of Salom, while it wasn’t the longest walk, it was definitely steep! The water was beautiful to look at but freezing. Everyone enjoyed venturing around the area and relaxing. Although the steep walk back up was far from relaxing, it was hilarious, with a couple of us feeling (struggling with!) the walk. Joe laughed, “One young person even dramatically laid on the steps and said ‘Leave me here to die! You go ahead without me!’ We all had a good laugh about this and we made it up together! Lucky we had our chill day the next day at the youth hub to recover!” Also throughout the day, there was a lot of talk about our upcoming Dungeons & Dragons program on Monday afternoons which the youth are looking forward to.

The next week started with a trip to North Wollongong Beach. The weather was a bit cool yet some young people still went for a swim! Young people also worked together to dig out a sand bunker.

The Thursday evening was our traditional Movie Night at the NCNS Youth Hub and everyone enjoyed some delicious pizza for dinner. The movie selected to watch was ‘The Pacifier’. Everyone had a good laugh with many comments about Vin Diesel’s hilarious comedic role.

The holiday program concluded on the Saturday as the group travelled into the city to participate in the Wizards and Witchery virtual game. Young people had to work together as a team to search for clues and answer riddles using an app. They worked extremely well together, however the app was not reliable so unfortunately the group did not complete the quest. Joe explained, “Although we could not complete the quest, I was impressed by their perseverance.

The school holiday program was a great success with young people experiencing new places, creating strong bonds with each other and displaying the ability to have mutual respect and tolerance for each other. What amazing group!

Sami & Joe can’t wait until the next School Holiday Program!

If you missed out, come and check out the NCNS Youth Hub on Monday & Wednesday afternoons after school.

We recently conducted a survey and asked young people “What could we do to make the afternoon programs better?” and one young person answered  “Nothing. Honestly there doing amazing, my life has changed because of how much of a help they are. I’m so grateful to have such good people in the area.” This sort of feedback is why our youth workers love doing what they do.

To get in contact with our Youth Team please contact Joe on 0417 498 918 or Sami on 0408 586 797.

New culture and creative arts program, NICE launched

NCNS was incredibly excited the launch our new culture and creative arts program, Nations In Cultural Exchange (NICE) at the beginning of this month. This program is facilitated by Jie Pittman, who belongs to the Darug, Wiradjuri, Yuin, Kooma & Ngemba Nations. Jie is committed to sharing culture with Western Sydney communities and has done so for over 20 years. He currently manages his schools “Liven Deadly Program” and supports over 500 Indigenous students a week sharing Aboriginal Culture and a look at the Music, Film and Television Industries he has been employed in as a professional.

The NICE program aims to strengthen the relationship and faith of indigenous youth and families in culture and its practices. It will also incorporate hip hop, culture, film and music for Aboriginal young people aged between 11 and 18 years old.

For its launch Jie set up a yarning circle and everyone who was there was invited into the circle. The yarning circle was used as a meet and greet to find out who we all were and where we were from. This is always interesting as you could be sitting with a potential relative. Jie asked 5 questions and what he is preparing you for is that you are learning how to do an Acknowledgment to Country.

The second week participants wrote something about themselves; where they are from, what school they go to, what they love about their culture, what does NAIDOC Day meant to them and what is the meaning of NAIDOC Day. After this they had to start rhyming about themselves, which became the beginning of their rap. They also watched hip hop videos that other schools have put together which inspired the students to create a cool verse themselves.

This program will continue to run in term 4 from 22nd October to 3rd December 2020. If you would like more information on this program please contact Bronwyn on 02 4706 0280 or 0439 455 139

Young People thrive in Art Tasters Program

What a great experience it was for Sami and I to co-ordinate and be involved in the Art Tasters Program. The Art Tasters Program evolved from the interest displayed in art by young people on the Magnetic Place Skate Park Mural grant. We decided to it would be nice to explore different types of art mediums.

With the assistance of artist Diamando Koutsellis the program was a great success. Diamando was an excellent addition who works so well with young people. We ran the program for five, two hour sessions with an average of six young people attending each session. The various art mediums consisted of clay, painting, charcoal and pastel sketching and the young people decided they would like to revamp the youth hub sign as part of the program.

The aim of the program was to empower young people to gain confidence in their abilities, challenge them to try something new, use art as a way for relaxation and expression. Some young people were initially hesitant to pick up a brush in fear of not doing a good enough job, myself included! We all worked through that feeling and achieved results we were proud of. The environment was so supportive from all people involved. I guess the supportive and relaxed environment was my highlight!

 

The young people wished the program had more sessions so that is an indication we will run an art program again the future. In some way every young person achieved something, a new skill, more confidence, ability to relax and an unexpected outcome of increased communication between each other while participating.

Next term NCNS Youth are looking at running a simplified version of Dungeons & Dragons to increase skills in teamwork, communication, decision making and assertiveness in young people. It should be an interesting program with hopefully a few laughs along the way!

For all our youth programs please click here.

To get in contact with Sami and I,  please call 02 4706 0288.

Me & Bub Pop Up

Me and Bub is an opportunity for community to come together and share their stories and journeys about parenthood. Many parents face challenges with raising children and often believe that they are alone in their struggles. The Me and Bub project offers parents or guardians the chance to tell their stories with other people in the community and offer ideas to how we can better support one another through parenthood.

Strength comes from community and they always say, ‘It takes a village to raise a child’. All the stories that are shared will be written in a journal which will travel around the community. Parents will have the opportunity to read other parents’ stories and undoubtedly find similarities.

Storytelling allows community to share their experience and views in their own words building common ground among individuals in the community. Stories and pictures provide a human face to the complex challenges facing residents in the community today. They can revel common values that we share as a collective and start conversation that need to be had so we can better support one another thorough our journeys.

There has been an enormous amount of support from the community welcoming this project and its objectives of storytelling, journeys and community support. It is an opportunity for parents to learn, grow and develop support systems for other parents going through the same journey. During the pop-up parents are given information regarding services in the area that can support them, reducing the feeling of isolation and promoting community participation. Many referrals were handed out to parents to attend our fabulous playgroup that connects parents with young children to our early childhood team. This is a chance for parents to discover the services that are available to them locally.

If you would like to share you story with us please contact Nada on nada@nepeancommunity.org.au or 0407 044 119. This is a great way to connect with other parents in the community and open the way for supporting our kids and families.

National Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander Children’s Day 2020

The theme for National Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander Children’s Day was ‘We are elders of tomorrow, Hear our voice.’ This is an important event to engage families in culture and to reconnect.

NCNS Aboriginal Early Childhood Worker, Amy explained, “The day is about children having a voice, it’s about our Elders, listening to their stories, song lines, art and invaluable knowledge and this being passed onto our children, who are our future leaders.”

The day started with an Acknowledgment to Country by nine year old Jay. It was a beautiful way to connect with the children and families, coming from a young boy who is still learning about his culture. The other children were really listening to, and embraced Jay’s acknowledgment and this made Jay feel really proud.

It was a calm, interactive day where a small group of community had the chance to catch up after a long time between groups and events due to Covid-19.

The activities we chose were about connecting with nature. There was mud play, sensory play and native plants from Early Childhood Worker, Zoe’s garden.

We had an amazing performance from the Kooly Deadly Kids Dance Group and also entertainment by Jessie including sharing of his song lines and dances.

Jessie was really interactive with his audience showing them artefacts and also playing the didgeridoo.


The children also got to have their faces painted by Jessie.

Some of the children were his back up musical instrument players and you could see the joy in their faces as they played.

For all of our Aboriginal Services, including Kooly Deadly Kids Dance Group & our Aboriginal Supported Playgroups please click here.

Kingswood Park Kids

Kingswood Park Kids are back in action, moving to a new location at North Penrith Community Centre, due to Covid-19 restrictions.

On Tuesday afternoons the group will either walk or some catch our bus directly after school. It has been amazing to see these children so competent in reducing the risk of Covid-19,  they are helpful and reliable with taking all the precautions required.

This group runs from 3:15pm to 4:45pm, giving the children plenty of time to play and explore together in a safe environment. The children love afternoon tea time and share stories daily as they eat.

We would like to thank Coles, as majority of the afternoon tea items have been donated by them as well as Cathy from our Breakfast Club.

This month the children have been working on String Art Carpentry. The use of hammers has been  popular and the children are developing their hand eye coordination, fine motor skills and risk management ideas. This project will run over the term as it involves a lot of details, concentration and persistence.

Lego designs, dancing, rapping, bead making as well as the popular hand ball tournaments happen every Tuesday.

One of our goals for the group is to assist the children to expand their self-help skills, creativity and acceptance of others.

During term 3 we will also learn some basic cooking skills, pancakes and home made pizzas. YUM!

Once restrictions are reduced, we are aiming to put on a feast for the families that the children will create the menu, prepare and serve.

This group is currently full and has a waiting list. (This is due to limitations from Covid-19 Restrictions) We hope once restrictions have been reduced we can make this a larger group!

Watch this space!

For more information about this group, please contact Justine on 02 4729 0442 or 0417 550 382.

 

FoodREDi Program

Before the world was sent into chaos due to Covid-19, NCNS was delivering a 6 week FoodREDi Program with 10 participants from Cranebrook, Glenmore Park and Kingswood Park.

The FoodREDi Program helps participants learn how to save money on groceries and to eat more healthily, with hands on guidance on preparing and cooking easy, tasty meals.

This program had to shut down due to Covid-19 restrictions during term 2 so during term 3, Community Development Worker, Justine decided that we would deliver the remainder of this program remotely.

Justine made up hampers of fresh ingredients and delivered them to the participants homes.

Justine laughed, “I felt a bit like Hello Fresh, haha! I loved that some families sent through photos of them cooking and eating the food they had made during the program.”

The group kept in touch via phone, Facebook and Facetime to ask any questions, share recipes and talk about any struggles. Monique from Penrith City Council will be doing a check in and Justine has spoken with the families who participated who provided positive feedback:

“Great new ideas and recipes”

“I loved learning how to make healthier substitutes”

“I can’t believe my children ate this!”

“Quick and simple”

“I loved that it has healthy desert options and healthy snack foods”

Justine explained,” I loved doing this program due to the great benefits for those who participate in the program. We would love to be able to deliver this program again in the future.”

Do you need help completing your tax return?

Haven’t done your tax yet? Don’t fret!

You may be eligible to get your tax done for FREE with our tax help volunteer!

What is the Tax Help Program?
Tax Help is a network of ATO-trained and accredited community volunteers who provide a free and confidential service to help people complete their tax returns online using myTax.

How can a volunteer help you?
– Help lodge your tax return
– Help with an amendment online
– Claim a refund of franking credits
– Complete non-lodgement advice (if it turns out you don’t need to lodge a tax return)

Am I eligible?
You are eligible for Tax Help if your income is around $60,000 or less for the income year and you did not:
– work as a contractor, for example a contract cleaner or taxi driver
– run a business, including as a sole trader
– have partnership or trust matters
– sell shares or an investment property
– own a rental property
– have capital gains tax (CGT)
– receive royalties
– receive distributions from a trust, other than a managed fund
– receive foreign income, other than a foreign pension or annuity.

We have appointments available with our Tax Help Volunteer on selected Tuesdays between 9am – 12:30pm from 11th August 2020 at South Penrith Neighbourhood Centre.

To book your appointment contact 02 4721 8520. There are limited spots available so bookings are essential.

Before your appointment
Please make sure to have the below ready to bring with you:
– your myGov user ID and password
– your bank account details (BSB and account number)
– your tax file number
– an original or amended notice of assessment from any one of the last five years
– income statements from all sources
– all your receipts for gifts, donations and work-related expenses
– details of any child support payments made
– details of any losses on investments in shares and rental properties (net investment losses)
– details of your spouse’s (married or de-facto) taxable income or a reasonable estimate if you had a spouse at any time during the financial year.
– proof of identity documents (Driver’s licence, passport, Centrelink CRN, Birth Certificate)

If you are not eligible, please go to ato.gov.au or call 13 28 61 for more information about your tax return.

Information from https://www.ato.gov.au/Individuals/Lodging-your-tax-return/Tax-Help-program/

Term 3 2020 Updates

Our team is extremely excited for Term 3, as we are able to recommence most of our regular groups, of course, with social distancing measures in place to keep our workers & the community safe. For program updates please read the following information.

EARLY CHILDHOOD
St Marys Aboriginal Supported Playgroup has relocated to Werrington Downs Community Centre with a new name, Dark Emus Aboriginal Supported Playgroup starting 5th August 2020.

Braddock Playtime Playgroup will resume on Thursday 30th July at its temporary new location at the Cranebrook Neighbourhood Centre.

We have limited spaces available in both playgroups due to COVID-19 restrictions so if you are interested in attending please contact Amy or Zoe on 02 4729 0442 to book in.

KIDS & YOUTH
Kingswood Park Kids after school group has relocated to North Penrith Community Centre from Tuesday 28th July 2020.

Cranebrook Girls Talk has moved from online to Cranebrook Neighbourhood Centre. Registrations for this program are essential so please contact Nada on 0407 044 119.

Breakfast Club is running again and will be serving free breakfast on school days for primary aged children only during term 3 as well as a takeaway service available for high school students on Thursdays only from 30th July 2020.

The NCNS Youth Team will be resuming their Drop In at the Youth Hub on Mondays and Wednesdays as well as running an Art Tasters Program from the 27th July 2020. Bookings are essential for the Art Tasters Program so please contact Joe 0417 498 918 or Sami 0408 586 797 if you are interested.

Nepean Young Pregnancy Support (NYPS) is back! To make an appointment with Sandra (Midwife), please contact Amy on 02 4729 0442 or 0477 004 773.

PARENTING PROGRAMS
We will be running both the Keeping Children Safe & Circle of Security – Parenting Programs during term 3 at Cranebrook Neighbourhood Centre. Keeping Children Safe is a 5 week course starting Tuesday 28th July 2020 and Circle of Security – Parenting is an 8 week program starting Friday 31st July 2020. Limited spaces for both groups due to COVID-19 restrictions so to book please contact Zoe on 02 4729 0442 or 0437 699 019. We still have spaces left!

ABORIGINAL PROGRAMS
Our Aboriginal Programs Worker, Bronwyn will be running both Steps to Healing & Aboriginal SMART Recovery during term 3 on Tuesdays from 28th July to 15th September 2020. For more information, please contact Bronwyn on 0439 455 139.

For all Term 3 programs , please check out our Activity Directory.

Science Day in the Park

The shutdown was challenging for many people in the community, and especially for children who are used to going to school and seeing their friends every day. Not to mention, it was a difficult time for parents, having to help school and entertain kids every day at home, with many also trying to work at the same time. Boredom Busters was created by NCNS Community Worker, Justine in response to Covid-19 restrictions. This program was for primary aged kids via Zoom to provide interactive fun facts, ideas, homework help, activities and to create a place that they can connect with friends in a safe environment.

Since they were unable to meet in person during this period, the NCNS Community team promised the kids from Boredom Busters that they would host something special for them once the restrictions had been lifted, so they came up with the idea of a Science Day at the park. This get together was all about having fun and encouraging the children to create long lasting friendships with each other and connect with NCNS Staff.


During the day the kids got to complete 4 different science experiments that Justine first demonstrated over zoom. When the kids got the chance to do the experiments themselves they were so excited. The team also provided morning tea for the children and parents who attended.

The 4 science experiments were A Mentos and Coke Volcano, Colour Changing Milk, Skittles Rainbox and Dancing Stick Figure. Each child was given a science pack with instructions of how to conduct each experiment. Download instructions here.

On the day, we were able to meet some new families and created new connections. Seeing the smiling faces of both parents and kids, made our day!

The community development team are looking forward to putting together more fun days for kids and their families. Watch this space!

 

 

May Newsletter

2 months ago if you told me we would be in isolation and that for weeks we would only be allowed out of our homes for essential reasons, I would have laughed and said, no way, not here!

I did not expect or anticipate how much Covid-19 would impact the world we live in and how quickly this would change the world as we know it.  This situation has highlighted and made me think about the things in life that we take for granted, from simple face to face interaction with our friends, family and colleagues, to being able to work and the freedom to do whatever we want, when we want to.

As the Online Communities Worker for NCNS, I am used to connecting with people online and via different forms of technology but even I have found it difficult to be alone all day long without the interaction with colleagues at work, community who come through our centres or being able to see friends and family.

Our staff are used to, and thrive, working hands on with the local community. They love the face to face interaction and human connection, so for many of our workers, this new way of working has been challenging and we have tried our hardest to adapt the best we can during this time.

This month, we celebrated Neighbourhood Centre’s Week (NCW), a week that celebrates the role that Neighbourhood Centres have in their community.

It was strange celebrating NCW this year, with all NCNS Neighbourhood Centre’s currently closed due to Covid-19. Our Neighbourhood centres are a point of contact for many community members, whether they are stopping in for a cuppa and a chat or come in for some assistance. With the closure  of our centres and our regular groups on pause, many community members are feeling more alone and isolated. Without the face to face connection with friends, family and support systems, this time has been a lonely experience for many people.

Ironically this year’s Neighbourhood Centre’s Week theme is, ‘Loneliness, the solution is community.’ The NCW website states  that 1 in 4 Australians are lonely. Loneliness can negatively affect our mental health, physical health and overall happiness, and this is even more emphasised at this time due to Covid-19.  So at NCNS, we have made it a priority to try and combat loneliness and to connect with our communities in a new way.

Since the shutdown, we have moved our 3 Playgroups online, delivering them via Zoom. Aboriginal Early Childhood Worker, Amy, even hand delivered craft packs to her St Marys Aboriginal Supported Playgroup families in preparation for her Zoom playgroup, making sure the families from the playgroup had the materials to do the activities that she had planned.

NCNS Early Childhood – Team Leader, Carolyn and NCNS Early Childhood Worker, Zoe have also moved their playgroups, Kooly Aboriginal Supported Playgroup and Braddock Playtime Playgroup online via Zoom.

We have created Facebook groups for St Marys & Kooly Playgroups to keep families connected to us and to each other. It has been wonderful to see the families share photos of what they are doing with their children to keep them entertained and giving us updates on how they are going. We have also been sharing lots of activities to try with their kids and any information that we think might be helpful.

We have definitely had some technical difficulties along the way but our staff have persevered and our wonderful families have been very understanding so we thank them for this!

NCNS Early Childhood Worker, Zoe has even put herself out there, recording videos reading children’s books, and we have been posting these videos on the NCNS Facebook page for the families who usually attend Paint The Town REaD. So far, families have loved seeing a familiar face and enjoy Zoe’s enthusiastic reading style.

Our Communities team have also been busy coming up with ways to connect and run their groups online. They have created a new Facebook page NCNS Communties to share information and their online, community activities.

Our incredible volunteer group, Collective Community have been meeting on Zoom, brainstorming ideas about what they could do to help vulnerable community members while enjoying the chance to catch up with their friends, even if it is just via video.

NCNS Community Worker, Justine created Boredom Busters for primary aged kids via Zoom providing interactive fun facts, ideas, homework help, activities and so they can connect with friends in a safe environment.

For their first zoom meeting the kids were excited to see themselves, share some stories and were amazed by the science experiment that we conducted called Dancing Rice. Click here for instructions.

The children also helped to come up with some great ideas for future meetings such as brain teasers, science, movement, craft, jokes, nature hunts, eye spy, and lots of catch ups and chats.

The Cranebrook Girls Talk Group was put together to provide young girls (7-12 years old) with the opportunity to connect with one another, create bonds through shared interest, and speak about important matters that they may be going through. NCNS Communities Worker, Nada has expressed that this group has made a huge impact on the girls who are a part of the group. Our Community Development team have also been lucky enough to have help from our wonderful work placement students, Bree and Alanna who have been a part of this group.

Alanna explained, “Every Wednesday Nada, Bree and I,  work together in performing and undertaking activities that engage the girls,  encouraging them to talk about their feelings and increase their self-esteem and well-being. Each activity is designed to help girls move through life and achieve set outcomes of life skills, safety and protection, mental and physical health and plenty more. Through the challenging times of COVID-19 it is so important for us to remain in contact with the girls to remove any isolation and loneliness that one might be feeling. We are striving to get back into face-to-face contact but for the meantime we are working towards connectedness and making great relationships and friendships with the girls in this group”

Bree, describes the group as, “a great opportunity for the girls, and us, to try and maintain some level of normality and have some much-needed social interaction. One of the fun activities we have done during Girls Group is a drawing game entitled ‘Draw A Monster’. The objective of this game is to add features to your monster depending upon a dice roll. This game encourages the development of problem-solving strategies through creative thought. Everyone’s drawings looked very impressive. There is always room for more to join and, if you have any girls aged between 7 and 12, we would love to see you there!”

The NCNS Youth team have been coming up with weekly challenges for young people and announcing winners of each challenge on the NCNS Youth Instagram page.

Pictured above: NCNS Youth Worker, Joe doing the Optical Illusion Challenge

They are now doing a virtual hangout, Wednesdays on Zoom giving young people the chance to catch up with their friends and NCNS youth workers, Sami & Joe. The youth team are now looking at doing Quizzes on Kahoot,  to try and keep young people engaged while having some fun.

Our Closing the Gap & Functional Family Therapy – Child Welfare teams are continuing to work with vulnerable community members and families. These teams are really missing being able to see their clients face to face and are eager to get back into the office and out into the community, but for the meantime they are doing their best to deliver services via phone and video chat.

The whole NCNS team is really missing our community and we hope that you are all safe and well. We can’t wait to get back into the community and get back to doing what we do best.

With the future uncertain, we know this time has been challenging for everyone in the community and we want to encourage anyone who may be feeling lonely or who is having a hard time to reach out to us, as we are still here and we are still working, just differently.

Contact us by:
info@nepeancommunity.org.au
www.facebook.com/NepeanCommunity
www.facebook.com/NCNSCommunities
www.instagram.com/youthteamncns

 

Helpful Links:

Black Dog Institute – Coronavirus: Resources for Anxiety & Stress

DV NSW – Where to get help in NSW

Service NSW – Emergency Relief Packages

Energy & Water Ombudsman NSW – Support for customers impacted by Coronavirus

Salvation Army – Moneycare

Wentworth – Homelessness

Likemind – Mental Health

Leep – Technical Support

 

Communities Team & Aboriginal Programs Update April 2020

The Community Development Team would like all our residents and communities to know that we are still here and working, just in a different way.

All our staff are available to assist you – If you require support or assistance – contact us by phone, email or message us on Facebook. We are still connecting with community via phone, email, burst text, Facebook, previous connections and other organisations.

The Community Development Team and all NCNS workers miss the face to face with our residents and the daily catch ups with all the children, young people and parents that we see daily at Breakfast Club, in all our groups and at the residents that drop into our centres. It has taken us a little while to get creative about how we can still be here for everyone and also to continue to run groups in the virtual world.

So, something to look out for is our new NCNS Communities Facebook Page. This will have all upcoming groups and activities that you can be involved in and you can always inbox us if you need some help or just to connect.  Follow the NCNS Communities Team on Facebook.

Cranebrook “Girls Talk” group will recommence online through Zoom. The group will run weekly from 3pm-3:45pm from Wednesday 6th May to 10th June 2020.

This group will have a range of activities including hair tutorials, boosting your self-esteem, staying safe online talks, online fashion shows and so much more. This group is for  girls ages 7-12yrs old in Cranebrook. Contact Nada on 0407 044 119 for more information and a zoom link or via our Facebook page

“Boredom Busters” group will start on Tuesday 5th May and run weekly from 3.30pm to 4.15pm on Tuesday afternoons. Contact Justine on 0417 550 382 for more information and/or for Zoom link.

Collective Community Volunteers” group is moving online, starting Monday 4th of May from 10.00am -10.45am and running fortnightly. To get involved please contact Justine on 0417 550 382 or via Facebook page  facebook.com/NCNS Communities for more information and/or for Zoom link.

We are planning to set up a “Chat with Cathy at Brekky” via Zoom in Term 2.  This will be for our Brekky kids who would like catch up twice per week with staff from our Breakfast Club. We look forward to seeing the smiling faces of all our kids and families. We are also planning to have regular chat times with our workers. Scheduled times will be posted on our Facebook page so make sure you follow us for up

Something else to look forward to is we will be inviting the community to join us in celebrating Reconciliation Week through participating in online activities in the week of 27 May to 3 June 2020.

The Theme for Reconciliation Week this year is- “In this together” and under the current climate is resonating with us all right across Australia. Join us on Facebook to celebrate and watch this space.

Lisa, Justine and Nada from the NCNS Communities Team have a message for the community.

“Our Community connects us to people, places, our sense of self and belonging and in difficult times having each other’s backs, being kind and helping each other builds a stronger more connected community”. Even though we are not together face to face we are still here when you need us.

Stay safe, look out for each other and we are only a phone call, zoom or inbox away.”- Lisa Eggers, NCNS Team Leader – Communities 

“NCNS team is still operating and are very creative in providing help, advice and support in a vast array of areas. We aim for everyone to feel connected to their community and to support each other through this crazy time. No question is a silly question and we value your contact. Contact us even if it’s for a chat or via all the social mediums”. – Justine Renolds, NCNS Community Development Worker

“My Community, Our Community- now is the time for us to stay connected with each other and keep up our community support. Cranebrook is renowned for being a community that STANDS TOGETHER in hard times, we are still here to support you through Facebook, online services and phone calls. I look forward to hearing from you and seeing you on Zoom.” – Nada Mohammed, NCNS Community Development Worker. 

Aboriginal Programs

We would just like to let our community know that we are still working and can be contacted via phone 02 4706 0280 or email bronwyn@nepeancommunity.org.au.

Dave and I are really missing running all of our groups and seeing you all at Kooly.  We wish you all to stay healthy and positive throughout this time.

Please call us if there is anything you need or even if it’s just for a yarn!

Bronwyn Nuttall, Aboriginal Program Worker

Closing the Gap Team Update April 2020

Closing the Gap (CTG)  Integrated Team Care (ITC) are continuing to provide a service to the community with only 2 key changes with the way we work. We are currently not in the office, so we are working from home due to both Covid-19 restrictions and vulnerability of the community we service. This means that we are unfortunately not able to attend for home visits. What we will do in this place is arrange phone conferences.

In fact, if you are a current CTG client you should have already been contacted by your Outreach Worker on the number we have for you on file. We will discuss with you your upcoming appointments and even have a yarn as we understand the importance of staying connected.

In terms of transport we will be utilising both current running community transport services or taxis to get you to your medical appointments.
As for the administration and payment of medical bills, the process for this has not changed and the team are working hard behind the scenes to ensure all payments are going through on time.

Furthermore, We are also still open for all new referrals and allocating these accordingly each week. If you think you may need to be referred to our service please discuss with your local GP.

The CTG team are hoping you all stay healthy, stay connected and stay deadly!

To contact the team call 02 4706 0299 or ctg@nepeancommunity.org.au

Rodney Matthews, Program Manager – Closing the Gap

 

Functional Family Therapy – Child Welfare Update April 2020

Here at FFT-CW, we have coined the relational phrase of ‘Insane to the membrane’, which is exactly where we and our families are at whilst experiencing the spectrum of crazy-madness within this new world of COVID-19. It feels a bit like being isolated in a bushfire bunker, waiting for the danger to pass, sitting with our feelings of restriction (Gov Safety) and the conflicting eagerness to get out amongst it to support others, even though the danger still poses a risk.

However, we do what NCNS does best, WE GET CREATIVE!!!!!, and even from a restricted sideline we are able to all hold hands in a virtual world with each other and our families, until we are able to all meet again. #StayconnectedStaystrongOurfamiliesstaysafe

Craig Donelly-Wells, Family Therapist

Youth Team Update April 2020


Sami & Joe pictured above with young people from a previous School Holiday Program, before ISO

The NCNS Youth Team may be not physically present but we are well and truly still available to all young people. Young people are welcome to contact us through social media, phone, text or email.

We are available to set up virtual catch ups if anyone would like to see a familiar face. This time has been challenging but in many ways it has also been an exciting time for us as we are learning new ways to connect with young people.

NCNS Youth have been running weekly challenges and now starting a virtual hangout space. Most communication and promotion has been done through Instagram so follow our page @ncnsyouthteam for updates. We have also been in regular contact with the young people we usually work with via messages.

“I miss seeing everyone’s faces. I have met some new young people through live feeds on Instagram which is exciting. I hope everyone is taking the time to recharge, work out what’s important to them and keeping in contact with each other. As a quote in High School Musical says: We’re all in this together!”  Joe Benchoam, NCNS Youth Worker

“Now being the school holidays I’m missing everyone more than ever. I can’t wait to be seeing everyone in person again and for our next school holiday program to kick off.”  Sami Thoms, NCNS Youth Worker

Early Childhood Team Update April 2020


This has been a challenging time and our Early Childhood Team have been trying to figure out new ways of working with our families. We have created a private Facebook Group for the families who attend our St Marys Aboriginal Supported Playgroup and Kooly Aboriginal Supported Playgroup. In these groups, we are encouraging our families to share photos of their kids doing activities to keep themselves active, connected and engaged. This is a forum to ask questions about learning and teaching children about topics they are interested in and a place to share information to support the families within the group.

NCNS Aboriginal Early Childhood Worker, Amy is creating craft packs for families who usually attend her St Marys Aboriginal Supported Playgroup before starting playgroup via Zoom  on Mondays 9:30am -10am from the 4th May 2020. Amy is plans are to include singing songs, craft activities/fine motor, yoga poses or physical activity, show and tell plus story time. This is a new way of working so we will find out what works best using these online mediums.

NCNS Early Childhood Worker, Zoe will also be doing her Braddock Playtime Playgroup via Zoom on Mondays & Thursdays weekly from 10:30am – 11am from 23rd April 2020.

This Zoom playgroup is a place where you get to say hello to your friends, read a story and sing some songs. Zoe is planning to include some craft, sometimes science or nature and always lots of laughter and smiles.

Zoe will also be starting a 6 week Keeping Children Safe (KCS) Course via Zoom. This will run weekly on Tuesday 12pm – 2pm from 5th May to 9th June 2020. KCS is a six week information course that explains the various aspect of abuse and neglect, what it is, the impact on children and importantly, easy ways we can keep our children safe. Fantastic knowledge for all parents and carers. This course will have limited numbers, so bookings are essential. Zoe will provide a Zoom link to join the course once you have been enrolled.

Carolyn would like the community to know, ‘that the Early Childhood team are really missing the face to face time with their families and their kids. We are reachable through phone, email or Facebook so please contact us. We want you to remember that you are not along and please reach out even if it is just to say hi, reach out no matter what.’

If you are interested in any of the above activities please contact our Early Childhood Team:

Zoe Harris – 0437 699 019   or  zoe@nepeancommunity.org.au
Amy Lear   – 0477 004 773  or  amy@nepeancommunity.org.au
Carolyn Gilbert  – 0438 690 777   or  carolyn.gilbert@nepeancommunity.org.au

COVID-19 update from NCNS

Now, more than ever, as our whole community faces challenging and uncertain times, we renew our focus on empowering the people and communities we work with.

Ever present in our minds, is the reality that many of the vulnerable families and communities we work with – will be faced with compounding challenges.

In particular we acknowledge the significant health and life expectancy gap for Aboriginal community members as a result of colonisation – we are extremely motivated to lessen and minimise the impact of COVID-19 for the Aboriginal people we work with across Nepean Blue Mountains and Western Sydney.  Across all our program areas, the NCNS team are working hard to explore new ways to provide continuity of connection and care.

 

At NCNS – Nepean Community & Neighbourhood Services – all our focus and commitment is to our local community. More than a community service, we are here alongside you in your neighbourhood, locals with you. Celebrating your strengths and achievements; sharing ideas and the hard work to make our neighbourhoods more connected, safe places where everyone is respected. Empowerment through opportunity and access – whether that’s child development; youth advocacy; Closing the Gap health services; or any of the activities running everyday across our centres.

Whether you connect with us through Breakfast Club at Cranebrook Neighbourhood Centre, an Aboriginal Supported Playgroup at Kooly, a home visit from your Closing The Gap Outreach Worker, a school holiday activity, parenting support or family therapy, or even booking South Penrith Neighbourhood Centre for your mum’s 60th – the common thread is connection, strengthening social bonds, reducing isolation. We are here for everyone, but are always focused on empowering our most vulnerable community members.

Guided by the latest information and directives from government we are adapting the ways we work with our communities. We are still open but working differently. This will adapt as we develop new modalities of service, so we will update our website and social as we progress different models of working with you.

NCNS continues to provide services to new as well as existing clients. This may be provided by phone or internet, as we are following guidance and reducing face-to-face contact. Some of our group programs – such as SMART Recovery and Keeping Children Safe – are being offered through live video streaming sessions with our facilitators. A limited on-site, appointment only, emergency relief service will be available in the coming days.

We are following advice from the NSW and Federal Government Health authorities and the World Health Organisation in relation to exercising social distancing and hygiene measures and self-isolation where appropriate. Clients are also screened for particular risk factors.

An update on our services through this, all Community Centre group activities have been suspended – including Breakfast Club, Aboriginal Women’s and Men’s groups, Kooly Deadly Kids Dance, KP Kids, Aboriginal Supported Playgroups, Youth Drop In and other workshops and community programs.

We are in continuous phone contact with the young people and families that would normally be at our groups or activities. Online social spaces have been set up by Joe and Sami on Instagram for our young people to connect.

For these and all our programs we are working on innovative and creative ways to re-connect. Watch this space as there will be some news as we progress our ideas and develop new online groups and workshops.

Across our programs – we are continuing to work with our community partners to ensure a coordinated approach to supporting the most vulnerable members of our community at this highly challenging time. We will be commencing a new emergency relief program at Cranebrook in the coming days. Keep an eye on Facebook for developments. This will be developed within the guidelines including screening, and a strictly limited number of people in the centre at any time, to access the emergency relief.

Like everyone else, we have also had to suspend all groups, programs, events and workshops until further notice. Sadly, our NAIDOC events will be postponed – we are hoping for a September or October date for NAIDOC Cup.

Parenting programs and some facilitated group-work will be provided through video conferencing in the near future.

The work for our Closing The Gap Aboriginal Health teams across Western Sydney and Nepean Blue Mountains have continued seamlessly. We are receiving new referrals daily from GP’s and community, and our existing clients are getting their usual friendly, caring and informative service from their Care Coordinator and Outreach Workers, who are doing an incredible job to keep up the vital work of keeping this most vulnerable group – Aboriginal people with chronic and complex diseases – safe and well in the community through this time.

Our Functional Family Therapy Team (FFT-CW) and Aboriginal Family Support have also switched to phone and video therapy sessions – and have managed this with a full capacity caseload and a waitlist. We are extremely conscious that families referred by DCJ to FFT-CW will be facing enormous challenges in this time – with the added pressure of kids at home and the strain of food and financial insecurity. This team are using their advanced engagement and relational skills to maintain connection with families with a focus on keeping vulnerable children safe through this time.

We are keeping a close eye on developments and will act appropriately following advice from the Australian and NSW Governments. Our priority continues to be to provide continuity of support and connection to our community and to protect the safety, health of wellbeing of clients, community, and staff. Resilience is a word we use a lot at NCNS, it’s a word that embodies hope, perseverance in the face of hardship, an intrinsic belief in our own and our community’s strength and an optimism for the future, despite todays’ struggles. I hope we can all carry that meaning in our daily life – for everyone doing the vital job of Staying Home – as well as for all the essential workers, parents, carers, kids and young people.

Don’t hesitate to contact me or any of the team to share your ideas, and opportunities for working collaboratively through the challenging times now and ahead, for our most vulnerable community members.

Joy Impiombato
CEO
Nepean Community & Neighbourhood Services

 

CONTACT US

Phone:  0400 772 117
Email:   info@nepeancommunity.org.au

Facebook: 
www.facebook.com/NepeanCommunity
www.facebook.com/NCNSYouth
www.facebook.com/koolyangarra
www.facebook.com/NCNSCommunities

Instagram:
https://www.instagram.com/youthteamncns/