Food packages have been donated to fourteen Bega families with children attending Bega Valley Public School.
Registered charity Campbell Page’s Indigenous, Youth and Family Services operation manager Dennis Scott said families are struggling, given some parents are out of work due to the economic effects of the bushfire emergency and the COVID-19 pandemic.
The charity purchased the packages from the Sapphire Community Pantry to help the local economy.
“The last six months has been flat out here,” Mr Scott said.
“We wanted to consult with the primary school to help us.”
“The donation won’t be a one-off, it will continue.”
The school’s principal Carolyn Nugent said the community has been supportive of the school through a difficult year.
“Our community is extremely grateful, and it shows the great support we have for each other in our country town,” she said.
The Family Place CEO Malindey Sorrell says coronavirus and government restrictions have ramped up anxiety, risk and tension in homes.
A South Coast service fears for the state of home life in the COVID-19 pandemic, and says more funding is needed for groups supporting vulnerable families.
The Moruya service says coastal families, such as many in the Eurobodalla Shire, were particularly vulnerable after the bushfires, and because entrenched disadvantage had “not been addressed”.
The Southern NSW District Data Profile, published in late 2019, revealed the shire trumped nearly every area of disadvantage in the Southern NSW District.
It had the highest percentage of vulnerable children; of children under the age of 15 affected by mental illness; of children and young people in out-of-home care; the highest likelihood of domestic assaults and non-domestic assaults; the highest rate of unemployment; of young mothers and of maternal smoking during pregnancy.
Those concerns were neglected before and after the bushfires, Ms Sorrell said.
She said the fires put a lot of pressure on families. Now, in constant close proximity, there was heightened risk of tension and domestic violence.
Ms Sorrell said children staying at home might increase tension in a complex home.
“Sometimes school is a protective factor; it provides routine and stability,” she said.
“(Now) if things are tough at home, there’s no time away.”
Home schooling was challenging for some families, particularly without technology.
Some people were so accustomed to high levels of cortisol, due to historic trauma, that the current crisis left them unfazed, but children suffered.
“It’s hard being a parent in the easiest circumstances, then look at what we’ve been through,” Ms Sorrell said.
“Not everyone has a good support structure. Financial distress can exacerbate relationship and family issues: losing jobs, hours cut and uncertainty.
“I don’t think we’re seeing the fall-out of this because we’re in survival mode.”
More funding would provide programs for families affected by domestic violence, drug and alcohol and historic trauma. She said funding for non-government organisations and not-for-profit organisations had not been reviewed.
“NGOs have never been supported in any localised way,” she said.
They could employ local people and intervene earlier with financial counselling, mindfulness, case planning and general family support.
In March, staff from The Family Place worked with a volunteer art therapist, Campbell Page and Gahdu Health at the Batemans Bay Surf Life Saving Club to help the community after the summer bushfires.
Ms Sorrell said 180 people attended the three-day “leaf by leaf” free art and wellbeing gathering and it was “very moving”.
Other high-performing services and providers on the coast could help close the disadvantages gap, but they also needed funding.
Since the bushfires, there was no communication or support given to existing NGOs in the shire, Ms Sorrell said.
Money given to national charities and international foreign aid since the bushfires had not met the goal of strengthening existing relationships in the community.
She had exhausted options of who to ask for funding.
“In short, we’re not able to provide families what they need,” she said.
“It’s an ethical thing that needs to happen for NGOs and NFPs. It’s an important step for community development,” she said.
On Sunday, morning, March 29, the Morrison government announced a $1.1 billion package to support coronoavirus-specific health and family-violence services, including more money for domestic violence support services and charities.
Ms Sorrell said while it was a promising development, “more needs to be done”.
“It looks as though this money may go to mental health clinical services for tele-health and domestic violence specialist services. Both of these criteria would exclude services like ours, yet because we work holistically with families, we are working to support families with a range of complex issues,” she said.
“The federal government needs to make a much bigger commitment to NGOs in the community setting, particularly those who are supporting families who are bushfire-impacted and now COVID-19- impacted.”
Eden’s indigenous youth have come to the final stages of an exciting half year project collaborating with Fling Physical Theatre to create an original music video featuring the teens, set to be released in coming weeks.
As part of the “Beats Project” the group worked with locally renowned creatives and mentors, Gabriela Green Olea, Chelsy Atkins, Meaghan Holt, Warren Foster and Shaquille Aldridge to write, record and produce the inspiring song, dance and video clip.
The six month project saw the teenagers participating in cultural and hip- hop dance, songwriting, singing, rapping and film making workshops. As well as reflecting on themselves and their community as indigenous Australians through in depth discussion and journal writing.
The experience culminated in the writing and recording of an original track titled “The Power Within.”
The song was recorded at Merimbula School of Music by Chelsea Atkins and Ricky Bloomfield.
The film clip was shot at various significant locations across Eden by Sydney film maker Catherine Knight and David Dixon over the past week.
Fling Physical Theatre dance development officer and project leader Gabriela Green Olea said the group had come a long way from start to finish and are beginning to recognise their potential as future leaders in their community and beyond.
“The opportunity to be guided by working artists has shown there are real prospects out there and they can achieve them. They proved to themselves that they can do it, and have gained an important sense of self belief.”
Cultural advisor and mentor to the group Meaghan Holt said the confidence and personal growth individuals had gained throughout the experience was unbelievable and encouraged the teens to continue on their path of “deadliness”
“Working with each artist, the kids were able to find a space to express themselves and even when they weren’t confident they gave it a go any way. It took a lot of courage from many of them.”
After recently discovering her Aboriginal heritage,17-year-old Latesha Pateman said participating in the project gave her a deeper connection to her culture.
“It’s made me feel new on the inside and special…like I fit in somewhere,” she said.
Participants William Webb and Harley Warnke said having local mentors like Shaquille Aldridge teaching dance and cultural practices was inspiring them to aim high and achieve their dreams.
“I can see myself rising to the top,” William Webb said.
The project was supported by Campbell Page and funded by Create NSW.
The music video launch date is yet to be confirmed.
On 23rd May 2018, the team in Sunshine hosted their first Be Seen Diversity Career Fair with the aim of connecting Campbell Page customers and partner employers in an informal setting to chat about potential work opportunities. The event saw 40+ interviews secured for customers
Foxtail, shoot for the hoop, string ball toss, frisbee net throw and the ring toss are just some of the games on offer at the annual Elders Games Day to be held at Jigamy Farm on Thursday, April 12. The event is supported by some of the regions healthcare providers including Grand Pacific Health, Katungul and Campbell Page who have all been invited to attend.
Based on its strong performance and commitment to community, Campbell Page now has the opportunity to almost double its reach from 36 sites across New South Wales, Victoria and South Australia to 70 sites, including the move into Queensland.
In addition to retaining its support for customers within Disability Management Services, Campbell Page will also be welcoming new customers within Employment Support Services who are looking for a greater level of support, both to find a suitable job and to keep it.
Campbell Page CEO Natalie Turmine said the DES announcement was a welcome one as it would allow Campbell Page to extend its support for people with illness, injury or disability who are seeking employment.
Last year, we supported over 7,600 people to achieve their personal goal of finding employment and/or education and we’re excited to be extending our reach to even more customers this coming year. – Ms Turmine.
A number of changes within the DES program come into effect on 1 July, giving Campbell Page customers far more flexibility in the support they receive. Customers will be given greater choice and control over the employment services they receive, the way they want to interact with the service and even the location they wish to attend.
We’re excited about the upcoming changes and we’re embracing the opportunity to reshape the way we offer support to both employers and to people with a disability looking to find work – Ms Turmine.
Below is a list of the new communities Campbell Page will be providing employment support in, following the July 1st changes to the Disability Employment Services contract: