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Intereach gets extension of Family Preservation program

A program designed to improve the safety, placement permanency and wellbeing of children will continue to be delivered by Intereach in the Albury region.

Intereach has been advised that it has been given a six-month extension for the Intensive Family Preservation program, provided through funding from the NSW Government Department of Communities and Justice. Intereach provides this service in the Albury area and this extension continues the program until at least June 30, 2021.

The Intensive Family Preservation (IFP) service is based on the understanding that it is in the child’s best interests to remain in the care of their family, wherever this is a safe option. The service targets families with children aged from birth to 18 years. It supports in building the capacity of families through a three-month period of intensive support followed by a less intensive level of individually tailored services.

Intereach General Manager Operations Michelle Tai acknowledged the commitment and quality of work from team members who supported families through the program.

“The funding extension is short term while the program is considered within the broader context of Family Services funded by the NSW Government, however there is strong sector support for its continuation”, Ms Tai said.

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Rotary jumps at Family Centre fundraising opportunity

The children attending the annual January Vacation Care program in Deniliquin are enjoying playing on a new trampoline, thanks to the combined efforts of local organisations.

Intereach purchased the trampoline for its Family Centre, where Vacation Care and After School Care is held. It co-opted members of Deniliquin Rotary Club for the challenging task of assembling this latest acquisition to its vast range of activities for participating children to enjoy.

Rotarians gathered at Intereach on a Tuesday evening late last year, in warm conditions, where the trampoline was carefully put together, much to the delight of the Family Centre staff.

This week Intereach made a $500 donation to Rotary as thanks for its efforts in assembling the trampoline, as well as its overall contribution to the local community.

As a local human and community services provider, Intereach is always looking for opportunities to work collaboratively with the numerous community groups that operate in Deniliquin.

“We are extremely grateful to the Rotarians, led by Tony Kew, who ensured out latest equipment was ready for our January Vacation Care program. At Intereach we appreciate the work of organisations like Rotary for our community,” Intereach Out of School Hours program manager Cath McLean said.

“The children are having lots of fun on the trampoline,” she added.

Mr Kew thanked Intereach for the opportunity to help out, and for the generous donation.

“Fundraising for all service clubs has been difficult in 2020, so we welcomed the chance to assist another community organisation and at the same time raise some money,” Mr Kew said.

The Intereach Out of School Hours and Vacation Care programs provide a vast range of activities for children including art, sport, craft, cooking, drama and excursions. Participating children are under the care of professional educators.

OOSH and Vacation Care are based at the Intereach Family Centre at 366 Trickett St, next door to the Intereach Neighbourhood Centre. Vacation Care runs from Monday to Friday during NSW school holidays, but is closed on public holidays.

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10 year celebration for Volunteer drivers

Four volunteer drivers who have each served the Deniliquin community for a decade were last week recognised by Intereach.

Daryl Whateley, Barb Finn, Neville Lester and Barry Macauley all started as volunteer drivers for Community Transport in 2020.

Their contributions to the service were highlighted at a dinner in their honour, held at the Globe Hotel on Wednesday (December 9) and hosted by Intereach CEO Keryn Fox and General Manager Operations Sam Hall.

The drivers each received a personally inscribed drinking glass which included recognition of their 10 years’ service.

It was a special evening for Barb Finn and Daryl Whateley, who have retired from their volunteer roles with Intereach Community Transport.

Barb Finn:
Over the past 10 years Barb has supported Community Transport as a volunteer driver, taking clients on trips for medical appointments, especially to regional centres such as Albury, Shepparton and Bendigo.

Barb admitted that in the early days of her driving it was a challenge “to get up so early”, in particular when a client had to be in Albury by 8am. However, more recently appointment times are set to ensure a driver doesn’t have to start before 6am.

“I used to have the alarm set for 4.30am … but I got used to it,” Barb said.

She is full of praise for the Community Transport service and the way it is administered by Intereach. Vehicles are constantly updated and so are the ‘little things’ like uniforms and badges. Barb also appreciated the training

provided by Intereach which included various courses in first aid, work health and safety, and basic counselling, teaching drivers to “be a good listener”.

“Intereach always reinforced how valuable we were to them. Being valued was important. I thoroughly enjoyed being part of the organisation,”

Barb said. She also appreciates the relationship built up with clients, especially those who she regularly transported to their appointments.

“I made a lot of good friends, so there are many positive memories. This includes the wonderful times when socialising with other volunteers and the Intereach staff; we all got on very well,” she said.

And while Barb appreciates that a Community Transport volunteer needs patience, as there can be long waits while clients attend medical appointments or sometimes undertake small procedures, waiting around was not something she had a problem with. In fact, she would request taking clients who were likely to take quite a while as it allowed Barb to enjoy her passion of ‘op shopping’.

“I love the opportunity shops. There are 23 in Bendigo. I’ve had a wonderful 10 years as a driver and I know every ‘op shop’ in every town,” she said.

Although Barb has retired as a volunteer driver, her community work is far from finished. She has now taken up a position as a volunteer at Deniliquin Hospital so she can continue helping her
fellow citizens.

Daryl Whateley:
Daryl is well known for his service to the local community, in particular with Deniliquin Lions Club and Deniliquin Collector’s Club. In 2010, after retiring from his position with Australia Post in Deniliquin, he decided to volunteer as a Community Transport driver because “I wanted another challenge”.

Over the next decade he mainly drove the town bus, and became the regular driver for the Men’s Group which gathers each Tuesday at Intereach. For many years his life has revolved around this Tuesday commitment – if Daryl and wife Lyn were going away they would leave Wednesday morning or return Monday afternoon, to ensure he was there for the group.

During these days out he told many stories, including about his days at the Post Office, and heard many in return.

“Some of the stories these men told me were quite phenomenal … they were amazing,” Daryl said.

“When I started with Community Transport I said I would do 10 years, and that’s what I’ve done. I have really enjoyed the camaraderie and being able to serve the community. I met some very interesting people and was able to help some of them get around and make them a bit happier.”

While Daryl has enjoyed his role driving the Men’s Group around, they also have received great benefit from the service he provided.

“I took them to various places that they might not otherwise have been able to see. That was the advantage of being in the bus … they were up high and got a good view.”

Occasionally someone would ask, “what’s down that road?”, and Daryl would go and have a look, even though it might not have been on the original route.

“We worked on the theory, ‘what happens on the bus stays on the bus’. For some in the group, Tuesday was their only outing for the week.”

Like many programs, the men’s group has been suspended during 2020 due to the Coronavirus pandemic, and Daryl says he “hopes it starts up again, because it’s a valuable service and good fun”.

While he primarily drove the bus for the Men’s Group, Daryl also volunteered as a Community Transport driver, taking clients to medical appointments in regional centres.

“Community Transport is an excellent service, especially for older people who don’t have family and have to get to appointments in places like Albury or Shepparton. It’s fantastic to have a service like that in Deniliquin. And Intereach has been great to work with,” he said.

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Intereach office closures over holiday period

Human and community services provider, Intereach, has advised its office closure times over the Christmas and New Year period.

Intereach operates from 17 offices across central and northern Victoria, the Mallee, and the Murray/Riverina regions of New South Wales.

Its offices will close for the holiday period at 5pm on Thursday, December 24 and re-open at 9am on Monday, January 4.

However, Intereach will have procedures in place over this period to ensure the needs of participants are catered for if an urgent situation arises, as follows:

  • Anyone who requires emergency aged care services or respite will be able to contact Carer Gateway on 1800 422 737.
  • Anyone seeking essential information about the Out of School Hours care program can call 0428 554 478.
  • You can call the NDIS contact centre on 1800 800 110 between 8am and 8pm, or urgent enquiries for a Local Area Coordinator or Early Childhood Early Intervention Coordinator can be directed to 0467 963 400.
  • If you require urgent assistance in relation to Family Day Care you can call 0427 814 288.

Intereach advises that for any other program, staff are unavailable and will return on January 4.

If you require emergency assistance, you can call emergency services on 000. For support with mental health, you can contact Lifeline on 13 11 14 or Beyond Blue on 1300 224 636.

The team at Intereach would like to thank all participants and community members for their support throughout a difficult year.

The Board of Directors, management and staff of Intereach take this opportunity to wish everyone a happy and safe Christmas, happy holidays and New Year.

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