Successful start, despite challenges
20 Jul 2020

The outstanding success of a program designed to link community members with various support services that are available is being celebrated by the team at Intereach.

The community and human services provider is justifiably proud of its new Community Links program, which started in October 2019. As its name suggests, the program’s staff are trained to ‘link’ people with the supports that can enhance their everyday lives.

In each of its 17 offices, there are now ‘Community Linkers’, playing a vital role that is providing a valuable service to those who seek assistance from Intereach.

CEO Keryn Fox explained that the Intereach Community Links team provides a ‘no wrong door’ approach for community members to be able to access services that they are entitled to.

“Our thorough understanding of the communities in which we operate enables us to support linkages to local and outreach community and mainstream supports provided by a range of organisations.

“Since October, Community Links has doubled in size and continues to grow as it meets the needs of our participants, communities and the organisation,” Ms Fox said.

Although the Intereach offices are presently closed due to COVID-19 restrictions, in ‘normal times’ every office operates from Monday to Friday, from 9am to 5pm, with Community Linkers available to discuss services with anyone seeking information or support.

Statistics compiled by Senior Managers Mardi Chartres and Erin Smith highlight the level of assistance that has been provided. For example, in the nine months to June 30 ‘linkers’ represented Intereach at 586 Community Engagement and Capacity Development (CECD) activities and were involved with a further 727 conversations with community groups and organisations.

‘Linkers’ welcomed and supported 1,124 new participants to ‘link’ with their community via intake forms, with more than 1,000 referrals made to community organisations. After the initial intake, they had nearly 4,000 additional conversations to ensure appropriate support services were being delivered. On top of this, one-off support for simple requests was provided to more than 7,000 new participants.

A further 26,000 calls were answered and triaged across the Intereach footprint, more than 1,900 entities were added to the Asset Map, there has been growth in the Intereach Reference Groups, and seven Observance Days have been celebrated and recognised. A successful artwork campaign has also made offices more welcoming and inclusive for participants and communities.

Additionally, staff have been trained and practices modified, all while dealing with the challenges of bushfires and COVID-19.

“It has been a fantastic effort by our team to transition to Community Links in such a successful way, despite the challenges that have been faced,” Ms Fox said.

“I have no doubt that the first nine months of the program has laid the foundation for future growth. Community Links is the way forward, and at Intereach we are proud to be leaders in developing this program,” she added.

Intereach provides support for children and families, older people, people living with disability, mental health and carers. It has 17 offices and employs over 400 staff across a footprint that covers the Riverina and western NSW, north and central Victoria and the Mallee.

If you, or someone you know, needs support you can contact the team at Intereach by phoning 1300 488 226 or go to www.intereach.com.au

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