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Celebrating International Day of People with Disability

When International Day of People with Disability is celebrated this Thursday (December 3), the staff at Intereach will be able to reflect positively on the contribution they are making in their communities.

For example, there’s the story of Tommy (not his real name) who was showing developmental delays in multiple areas. He was referred to Early Childhood Intervention support after his family expressed concerns about Tommy’s development compared to his peers, especially in the areas of social skills and communication.

Tommy’s assessment indicated he met developmental delay criteria, and as a consequence, he was supported by the Murrumbidgee Early Childhood Early Intervention team to access the National Disability Insurance Scheme and develop a funded plan.

The ECEI team worked with Tommy’s family, helping them understand the importance of early childhood intervention. This included identifying the areas where Tommy was doing well, and also those which needed development. The team worked with the family to identify priorities for Tommy, helped them navigate NDIS access and linked the family to appropriate early childhood intervention providers. Throughout the entire process, a family-centred approach was adopted.

Tommy reacted positively to the supports he received. He started school and was able to quickly develop strong friendships – which was important to his family – and was fully participating across his school environments, including having no trouble with communication. In fact, Tommy’s improvement was so significant that his family wanted to transition out of the NDIS as all their goals had been met.

It is this type of success that makes the Intereach team proud of the work they do across a large footprint in southern NSW and northern Victoria.

On International Day of People with Disability, team members will receive a range of resources and content, enabling continuing discussions with peers and networks on the way we think about disability and to see the ability in disability.

Intereach believes every person with a disability deserves to live their life as an equal and valued member of the local community. It works alongside its participants, their family and carers to identify a person’s dreams, goals and hopes, and put practical actions in place to achieve this.

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Intereach expansion, despite challenges

Despite all the challenges over the past year, Intereach has continued to increase services to its country communities, the organisation’s annual general meeting was told this week.

In her annual report, CEO Keryn Fox said bushfires and COVID-19 had delivered “challenges at a new level”.
However, the community service provider continued its significant expansion, to now operate from 17 offices with more than 440 staff and 120 volunteers.

“With the support of our corporate services teams we were able to respond to the exceptional challenges, though this required extensive modifications to the way we delivered services to participants and the community,” Ms Fox told the AGM.

She said changing circumstances presented an opportunity to consider new ways of operating that would not compromise the quality and effectiveness of our supports.

Intereach chair Pat Fogarty, in her annual report, congratulated the entire staff team for their outstanding efforts during a difficult year, and for “taking care of each other”.
She said the team had “lifted Intereach to new heights … the manner in which you have overcome the challenges presented has been exceptional”.

“As I have frequently said, Intereach delivers ‘from the cradle to the grave’,” Mrs Fogarty said, citing the New Parents’ Group and aged care services, adding

“Intereach serves its communities and thrives on diversity”.

This year had also seen strengthening of Intereach’s work with Aboriginal communities through its Indigenous Advancement Strategies.
Mrs Fogarty said a highlight of the year was being recognised with the Deniliquin Business of the Year Award, which was “brilliant recognition of CEO Keryn’s leadership and the team’s work together”.

Other significant achievements which were noted at the annual meeting included:

  • Being awarded the tender as the Partner In The Community (PITC) to deliver the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) in the Murrumbidgee area for Local Area Coordination through to 2023.
  • Successfully expanding Family Day Care Services into the Wagga region with an additional 20 FDC Educators.
  • Being awarded the tender to deliver the Commonwealth Home Support Program in Campaspe Shire which equated to a 75% expansion of this program, supporting an additional 800 participants.
  • Commencement and implementation of the Aboriginal Drivers project, and employing Aboriginal drivers in both Deniliquin and Griffith to enhance the ability to deliver culturally appropriate services.
  • Opening new offices in Maryborough and Gisborne, and relocating to a new office in Bendigo.
  • Expanded services with a community linker now based in Balranald, to bring more services to this area.

At the meeting an impressive annual report was tabled, with Mrs Fogarty describing it as an exciting format that showcases the outstanding work achieved across the diverse range of programs delivered by Intereach, which are of quality and have value.

The annual meeting re-elected three directors to its Board – Pat Fogarty, Robert Brown and Andrew Johnstone.


Click here to read the 2020 Intereach Annual Report







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NAIDOC Week Celebrations

Activities centred around the documentary film ‘In My Blood It Runs’ will be featured as part of NAIDOC Week activities for Intereach volunteers and staff.

The documentary will provide many learnings for staff and assist them to think about Aboriginal youth, people and communities in different ways.

The community and human services provider will screen the movie for staff on Friday November 6 from 2.30pm, and Monday November 9 from 3.30pm. It will be also available for volunteers and Family Day Care Educators to watch at home.

This year’s theme for NAIDOC Week is ‘Always Was, Always Will Be’, which recognises that Australia’s First Nations People have occupied and cared for this continent for over 65,000 years. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people were Australia’s first explorers, first navigators, first engineers, first farmers, first botanists, first scientists, first diplomats, first astronomers and first artists.

The film ‘In My Blood It Runs’ features 10 year-old Dujuan, a Arrernte Garrwa boy, who is a healer, Elder, a good hunter and speaks three languages. As he shares his wisdom of history and the complex world around him, viewers see his spark and intelligence. Yet Dujuan is ‘failing’ in school and facing increasing scrutiny from welfare and the police. As he travels perilously close to incarceration, his family fight to give him a strong Arrernte education alongside his western education before he becomes another statistic. He grapples with these pressures, shares his truths and somewhere in between finds space to dream, imagine and hope for his future self.

After the Intereach screenings of this film, staff will be invited to participate in a 45 minute virtual office event when a video will be screened featuring members of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander reference group discussing what identity, family, culture and connection to Country means to them. This session will include a Welcome to Country by Deniliquin local, Danica Reeves.

The NAIDOC Week recognition and celebration at Intereach is part of a commitment to walk alongside local Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander People in its journey towards Reconciliation as outlined in its Innovate Reconciliation Action Plan 2016-2020.

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Belinda a Shaw winner in Family Day Care awards

Belinda Shaw loves looking after young people so much, that caring for her own four children is not enough.
She also operates a Family Day Care service in Moama, providing high-quality early education and care for many local families.

Belinda’s dedication and quality care has been rewarded, being announced as the ACT/NSW Regional Winner (Albury, Wodonga, and Murray) in the 2020 Excellence in Family Day Care Awards.

Celebrating their ninth year, the awards highlight the incredible work of family day care educators and the invaluable contributions they make to the lives of children, families, and communities.

Belinda has been operating a Family Day Care service since 2014, and remarkably she won the same award for the Shepparton / Goulburn Valley region back in 2015.

“During this time I have provided early education and care to many local families who experience a great sense of comfort knowing their little ones are spending their time in a warm, nurturing, and safe small group environment which fosters their learning,” Belinda said.

“Starting my own Family Day Care has been a wonderful professional journey, and on a personal level I love being a mum to my four children –Matthew, Jasmine, Jordan, and Ryan,” she added.

The Family Day Care awards are based on professional practice, relationships, flexibility, autonomy and diversity, and social support.

“I have a relaxed, home-like environment where the children can explore and discover. I believe that play is the basis for children’s learning and gives the best opportunities to learn and discover,” Belinda said.

“I am honoured that the work I love has been recognised with this award and would like to thank the team at Intereach for all the support they provide.

Intereach Family Day Care offers nurturing home-based childcare for small groups of children with flexible and extended hours. Care is available in the homes of qualified, registered FDC educators on weekdays, school holidays, overnight, weekends as well as before and after school. It is available for babies and children under the age of 13 in Deniliquin, Finley, Jerilderie, Berrigan, Tocumwal, Nanneella, Tennyson, Echuca, Moama, Rochester, Swan Hill, Kerang and the Wagga City region.

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