Social Futures is offering a new program called Opportunity Pathways for Rent Choice recipients and social housing clients to help them access education, training and work in the Northern Rivers region.
The program offers flexible, personalised support to people who want to improve their employment options. Participants will have access to pre-employment training, employment support, post-employment support and housing independence services.
This year the Deaf Community will have more access to the Byron Writers Festival, beginning with an Auslan-signed promotional video developed in collaboration with Social Futures’ Far North Coast (FNC) Ability Links.
The video features FNC Ability Links Co-Manager Sigrid Macdonald introducing the event and explaining the Auslan interpreting services that will be available during the festival, which runs from 2-4 August at Elements of Byron Resort. “It’s great to see Byron Writers Festival in the vanguard of public events realising the need to make themselves more accessible to people with disabilities, including members of the Deaf Community like myself,” Sigrid said.
… and the impact of the Stolen Generations on all Aboriginal people in Australia. Our thoughts are with our staff, our participants, our wider communities and their loved ones. We remember and honour Elders past, present and those who are yet to come.
Sorry Day has been held annually on 26 Maysince 1998. It provides an important reminder for everyone in Australia to remember the past policies of forced child removal. On Sorry Day we reflect on the sad and painful history of the Stolen Generations and recognise moments of resilience, healing and the power of saying Sorry.
The first Sorry Day was held ten years after the publication of the Bringing Them Home report. However a report on government services, released by the Productivity Commission last year, said there were 17,664 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children in out-of-home care in 2016-17, compared with 9,070 in 2007-08. So is sorry enough?
The Right Support. Right Time. 2019 Better Chances Regional Forum held on 13 June 2019 at Lennox Head Cultural and Community Centre focused on and explored the question, can children, young people and families we work with get the right support at the right time?
The event attracted 135 attendees representing 46 organisations. The day was facilitated by Naomi Moran, General Manager at the Koori Mail and we had 16 presentations and 4 workshops. All of the presenters were from the Northern Rivers, with the exception of two NSW Government presenters from Sydney who joined with The Family Centre to present on the results of a child protection pilot project. There was a really strong focus on Aboriginal culture, and understanding how the whole sector can work more supportively alongside Aboriginal workers, organisations and communities. Other themes for the day included connecting across organisations and systems, acting on Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD) and connecting with community in our work.
Evaluation told us that 95% of attendees surveyed thought the forum was engaging and interesting, and 96% of those surveyed learnt new things or made new connections that will assist them with their work.
Participants also told us that most useful and enjoyable sessions on the day were Helene Collard, (We Al-li), Carmen Stewart (It Takes a Town) and Naomi Moran (Forum facilitator).
The number of recommendations were developed from the day which will inform the BCF’s work program and results framework. We thank everyone who contributed to making this event a great and challenging day for the sector.
Fifteen young songwriters have been chosen to perform live at this year’s Lismore Young Songwriters Competition Finalists Showcase on Friday 12 April [tomorrow] at Studio One29, Southern Cross University.
The young songwriters hail from Byron Bay, Mullumbimby, Lismore, Lennox Head, Grafton, Evans Head and places in between and will battle it out for more than $11,500 worth of prizes.
Lismore Young Songwriters Competition committee member, Madeline Seely of Social Futures, said prizes on offer included professional RODE microphones, double passes to Splendour in the Grass, mastered track recordings at Rockinghorse Studios, SAE Institute Byron Bay, and Southern Cross University, a fantastic stereo system from The Audio Room, paid gigs at Crankfest Youth Festival, and the Lismore Lantern Parade and more.
“It’s such a great opportunity for our budding musicians to get their name out there, but also to win some real prizes for their talent which can help launch their career,” Madeline said. “The Finalists Showcase is popular and tickets to last year’s event sold out quickly. It’s a free event but it’s important to reserve a ticket well in advance so you don’t miss out.”
Social Futures CEO Tony Davies has welcomed the Federal Budget announcement that $527.9 million has been set aside for the proposed Royal Commission into Violence, Abuse, Neglect and Exploitation of People With a Disability – but says there is little else to celebrate for residents of the Northern Rivers.
“Congestion-busting initiatives are all well and good for big city residents but we actually want some decent social and economic infrastructure in places such as the Northern Rivers,” Mr Davies said.
“Beyond the Royal Commission there’s not much for vulnerable people in this Budget.”
Mr Davies said the most obvious area overlooked by the Budget was the urgent need to lift the Newstart allowance, as called for by organisations including the Australian Council of Social Service and the Business Council of Australia.
Opportunity Pathways is a new program that is designed to break the cycle of disadvantage for social housing recipients. It will also reduce their reliance on government-funded social housing or Rent Choice subsidies.
Anita Mansfield from Social Futures, says “This new program is designed to help people realise their career aspirations and transition away from social housing toward housing independence. We will create personalised support plans and pathways to career opportunities, but we can also support participants with Social Futures wrap-around services, so it’s an entirely holistic approach.”
The program will be offered in Lismore and Tweed Heads to people aged 17 or older who are: social housing tenants or members of their household; approved social housing applicants on the waiting list; and people who receive the Rent Choice subsidy. Social Futures anticipates it will support 165 participants over the next three years.
New national research backs the Northern Rivers community’s call to address the housing crisis in our region, where over 12,000 households are experiencing rental stress and more than 3,000 households are on the social housing waitlist.
The research is contained in a just-released report from the University of NSW’s City Futures Research Centre and finds more than one million social and affordable homes need to be built across Australia by 2036 just to meet current demand and keep pace with population growth.
Social Futures CEO and President of the NSW Council of Social Service, Tony Davies said the research also revealed the current social and affordable housing shortfall in NSW was 216,400 homes with the shortage particularly acute in the Northern Rivers.