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COVID-19 Safe Plan update – July 3

Intereach has updated its COVID-19 Safe Plan to reflect the changing situation in Melbourne.

Importantly, restrictions will apply to any staff member or participant who has travelled to Melbourne in the past 14 days. Restrictions also apply to staff and participants who have had visitors from Melbourne in the past 14 days.

Any Intereach staff member who has travelled to Melbourne in the past 14 days has been asked to avoid seeing participants face-to-face unless absolutely essential, and to work from home for at least 14 days after the visit.

Additionally, Community Support Workers will not be permitted in the home of someone who has travelled to Melbourne in the past 14 days or has had visitors from Melbourne in their home in the past 14 days. Executive or Senior Manager approval is required for essential services.

Intereach CEO Keryn Fox said the restrictions were consistent with the advice of the NSW Premier.

“It is essential we remain vigilant so we can, to the best of our ability, protect our colleagues, participants and our communities,” Ms Fox said.

Intereach staff will continue to have the opportunity to work from home.

At this point, Intereach offices will remain closed to the public unless there is a business need to reopen in a restricted way.

Anyone with queries should visit the Intereach website, www.intereach.com.au or phone the toll-free number on 1300 488 226.

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Growth for Intereach FDC service in Wagga

Intereach has come to the rescue of families in the Wagga area by significantly increasing its number of Family Day Care educators.

The human and community service provider already had about 50 educators across its footprint, but has added another 20 from a service previously provided by Wagga Wagga City Council.

When council recently decided to withdraw from the Family Day Care sector, Intereach was happy to step in and ensure the service it was providing to local families could continue.

Intereach CEO Keryn Fox said this continuity was important, especially during the difficult times faced by childcare during COVID-19 restrictions.

“It has been tough for the educators, as well as some of the families under their care,” Ms Fox said.

“In reality, Intereach is the ideal organisation to take these educators under our banner, as we are experienced FDC providers in numerous communities across the Riverina and northern Victoria.”

Intereach will serve as the Approved Provider for Family Day Care in the Wagga area from June 29, 2020.

Intereach FDC nominated supervisor Bec Fitzpatrick welcomed the new group of educators to the Intereach team. Intereach recently held an information and induction night in its Wagga office for their newest team members.

“We already have an excellent team of about 50 professional educators, and I’m delighted it has been strengthened with the addition of another 20,” Bec said.

Wagga FDC Educator, Robyn Grimson said she was excited about Intereach managing the service. Robyn was familiar with Intereach as her daughter is a member or the Reach Out A Relax (ROAR) team and knew Intereach would be perfect to provide FDC service in the Wagga area.

“The Information session with Bec the Family Day Care coordinators was great. They really showed us how much Intereach cares about Family Day Care and assured us educators; that they are a confident service organisation with similar values to what we have had in the past. I am certain this will be a smooth transition and look forward to many more years in Family Day Care with Intereach.

Intereach will be delivering Family Day Care from Monday, June 29, 2020 and expect minimal disruption to families.

Intereach support and assistance is offered across community services, children and families, older people, people living with disability, mental health and carers.

Anyone in the Wagga Wagga district with queries about Family Day Care services can visit the local office at 20 Peter St, Wagga Wagga, phone 1300 488 226 or go to www.intereach.com.au









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Corowa Centrelink service

 The Corowa Intereach office will open for Centrelink customers only, effective Monday, June 29, with strict restrictions applied.

The office will only open on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday mornings, from 9am until 12pm. Appointments must be made by phoning 1300 488 226, or in-person within these hours at Shop 18-20, Corowa Arcade, 109 Sanger Street, Corowa.

Intereach CEO Keryn Fox said she must emphasise that the office is for Centrelink customers only, not for other Intereach enquiries.

Only one person will be permitted in the office at any given time, with a ‘one in and one out’ policy to be strictly enforced. Chairs will be available outside the office, physically distanced and with monitoring by staff.

Ms Fox said two Intereach Community Linkers – staff who work with participants – would attend the office on each morning that Centrelink services are available. One will work with the participant, the other will manage those outside who are waiting for an appointment before they enter the office.

A ‘Community Links Centrelink sign-in sheet’ will be created to maintain contact details confidentially, and COVID-19 assessment questions will be asked at the time of making the appointment and before the participant enters the office. Once inside, participant contact will be limited to the front reception where a laptop will be available if anything needs to be printed for Centrelink purposes\

Intereach staff will ensure there is a sanitisation wipe-down after each appointment.

Ms Fox said the service would benefit those in the Corowa area who require Centrelink services, however, it was essential that the protocols are followed.

She reiterated that the Intereach office would be open on these days for Centrelink only, and not other Intereach services.

Anyone with queries should phone the Intereach toll free number on 1300 488 226.






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Celebrating Refugee Week 2020

Last week Australia celebrated National Refugee Week from 15 to 22 June. The theme was ‘Celebrating the Year of Welcome’.

Intereach not only chooses to recognise Refugee Week 2020 but additionally welcomes the diversity and cultural wealth refugees and asylum seekers bring to the make-up of regional and rural communities. From day to day and in reflection, Intereach continues to learn how to do this better.

Intereach is spread across regional and rural Victoria and NSW, and is well-positioned to engage with people from a Culturally and Linguistically Diverse (CALD) background and provide services and supports to link them to their community and Intereach programs during their initial and secondary settlement. This occurs in initial settlement locations such as Bendigo, Shepparton, Swan Hill, Mildura, Albury, Wagga Wagga and the secondary location of Griffith where 18% of the local community is born in another country compared with 11% elsewhere in regional NSW.

Intereach is continually learning from our engagement with refugee and asylum-seeking communities in each of these locations, this presents opportunities for how we are welcomed in and communicate with these communities.  At times this may include the use of interpreters to facilitate the presentation of information about Intereach services and supports in ways that are culturally appropriate and accessible.  Sometimes it is as simple as understanding the ideas, concepts and practices don’t always translate from ‘clunky’ English language to another community language. Other learnings include bringing people together to share their own culture through food.  This is one simple communication method which demonstrates the need to continue to think ‘outside the box’ about discussions with different communities.

Intereach has learned the important notions of family and extended family needs to be thought about differently when working with our different communities. It is important to understand that you are communicating with an entire family and sometimes an entire community, not simply individuals. Intereach acknowledges that whilst many refugees may have become disconnected from immediate family during the asylum-seeking process, other members from their communities can take of familial roles of ‘aunty’, ‘uncle’ and ‘grandparents’ to make up their extended family.  It becomes necessary for us to understand that when these individuals and communities speak about ‘family’ they are speaking about a collective or peoples rather than western notions of ‘nuclear family’.

Intereach understands there is always potential and opportunities for new ways and styles to communicate and build rapport depending on the culture, history and journey of the particular refugee communities. It is common for a level of mistrust to be present when working with different multicultural communities, especially if the people have refugee and asylum seeking experience(s) in their life.  The services currently delivered by Intereach as a not-for-profit community-based organisation are commonly delivered by foreign Government organisations in their own country of origin, or where they were initially displaced. The same Governments may have a negative Human Rights history and have detained refugees for a sustained period of time, sometimes on multiple occasions. What does this mean for Intereach?  We ensure we are considered and understand some of these complexities when we are communicating in culturally appropriate ways.

Intereach works alongside key Ethnic Councils to learn and develop our practices to suit the need of the community. Recent learning through this partnership was about gendered communication, regardless of the Intereach staff member’s gender, it is only appropriate within some cultures to communicate with the male member of the household. However, as it was highlighted by the community it is important to understand that it may actually be the woman, or a matrilineal household member, who makes all the household decisions, such as the go-ahead for a child with support needs to receive assistance from external services to the family.  This can sometimes explain why an initial positive response about services and supports may change the next time you are in contact with the family.

For more information about Refugee Week visit https://www.refugeeweek.org.au/


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