It is at this time of year that we like to thank all the communities that we work with including services that partner with us, funders, other stakeholders and of course our neighbourhoods and families.
2018 has been a challenging year for many small-medium, locally-managed services. Shifting reform messages and service delivery boundaries, the loss of funding from locally-based services to state-wide services –have impacted the services sector. Partnership and collaborations lose out to competitive advantage. In the meantime, the communities and families we work with, have never needed more from the services sector, and lose out when our service system becomes less joined-up and connected.
Despite this general observation of dynamics of the services sector, we are incredibly fortunate to have many committed and productive partners – at Kooly Playgroup, the organisations partnering with our Child & Family Team are highly committed, and this is resulting in a cohort of Aboriginal kids who are readier than ever to get a great start at school. Working with Their Futures Matter on an Aboriginal Evidence Building Pilot on the Kooly model – has been a highlight of this year, and recognition to our team and great partners who are making big strides in Closing the Gap in educational disadvantage and keeping kids safe at home with their families. It’s great to see this model being recognised – congratulations to Carolyn and her team, and the Kooly Playgroup partners including Community Health, Building Strong Foundations team, Lifestart, Uniting – NDIS, Muru Mittigar, Explore and Play, Northcott, The School Dentist and STEPS Vision ( NSW Health).
This year has seen an expansion of our service delivery areas – to the east into Blacktown, and the west to the Mountains and Lithgow. A very big thank you to Angelique and her team at Thrive Family Services, for the new working partnership, and the opportunity of co-locating Closing the Gap staff so we can provide a more accessible service to Aboriginal communities in the Mountains and Lithgow. Thanks also go to the FACS CSC’s – at Penrith, BM, and Lithgow – for the close integration and willingness to work with this is to implement this truly exciting family therapy model.
Breakfast Club at Cranebrook Neighbourhood Centre now serves 500 breakfasts per week. With the Braddock school pick up service, a safe space for teens, and whole families now coming to Breakfast – it’s a wonderful, warm, very busy, community space – with kids aged from 4-18 all sharing the space and embodying all that is great about an active local neighbourhood centre. Very big thanks to Penrith City Council’s retiring GM and his family, PCC, and a number of local businesses for your kind donations this year.
This year we’ve had an unprecedented need for material and emergency support with folks on pensions doing it incredibly tough. We are so appreciative of SSI for the amazing Staples Bag initiative, and also to Second Bite for the great food that we are able to provide to community. We’ve never seen such need and these partners provide high quality, nutritious food, offering choice and dignity to families.
Our local schools have been very excited about new Youth Mentoring program developed by our Youth Team, called Resilient Me, it is an evidence-informed program offered in school to provide skills and support to young people.
And a new program developed for our Aboriginal Dual Diagnosis project – called “Steps to Healing”, combines ACT and Mindfulness, with Aboriginal Cultural connectedness – the participant feedback has been extraordinary. It’s an activity we’ve long been looking to provide, and we’re very pleased that the community feedback has been so positive to this Healing group.
Meanwhile our other projects; Community Development, Child & Family Services, Parenting Programs, Brighter Futures & Youth Hope Casework, Neighbourhood Centres, Chaplaincy, Youth Workers and the rest of the NCNS team have been busier than ever, working with communities in new and different ways, as we evolve our programs.
The work we do collectively is not possible without strong partnerships and we are very fortunate to have such amazing colleagues in so many organisations. Thank you to each and every one of you!
Best wishes to all you, we hope that you have a relaxing time with your loved ones over Christmas and New Year. We look forward to seeing you all again in 2019.