Training for Health System Consumer Representatives

The North Coast Primary Health Network together with the NNSWLHD have engaged Health Consumers NSW to run a 2-day training (2-3 August in Goonellabah) for consumer representatives who are involved or would like to be involved in the health system.

The 2 day course has been designed to:

  • Enhance your knowledge of consumer representation in the context of the health system.
  • Expand your effectiveness in the role as consumer representative.
  • Access networks to support your consumer engagement.

Register: Please contact Corinne Martin [email protected] or phone 0438 882 817

Post expires at 3:49pm on Thursday August 2nd, 2018

Congratulations Susan!

Tweed Valley NDIS coordinator Susan Knight’s dedication to community services and training has led to her being named Vocational Student of the Year.

Susan won the title at the recent North Coast and Mid-North Coast Training Awards, in recognition of her commitment to the community services sector.

“Social Futures is incredibly proud of Susan’s achievements. She is a valued member of our team of Local Area Coordinators, supporting people with disability to transition into the NDIS to achieve their goals” said Social Futures CEO Tony Davies.

Read the article about Susan’s achievements on the Daily Examiner website.

Post expires at 2:48pm on Wednesday August 1st, 2018

Webinar: Diagnosing children with mental health difficulties: Benefits, risks and complexities 

This webinar on Thursday 2 August 2018, 1-2pm AEST, will critically examine the diagnostic categories and practices used in Australian health and welfare settings. It will argue that it is vital that diagnoses be contextual to the child’s past and present environment and recognise the various biological, psychological and social factors that may be involved.

Like adults, children experience mental health difficulties. In some cases, the psychiatric labels we give to these difficulties play an important role in children’s treatment and recovery. Yet in other cases, such labels can be misleading and even harmful.

In practice, psychiatric labels can influence how child and family welfare professionals work with children, even if they are not responsible for diagnosing children themselves. Such diagnoses can influence their work in myriad ways, including:

•    how they talk about and interpret children’s distress and impairment
•    the expectations they have of families
•    the interventions they provide.

The webinar will aim to encourage service providers and policy makers to reflect on the role that psychiatric diagnoses play and will encourage them to place such diagnoses in broader contexts relevant to the children and families they work with. 

This webinar will be relevant to practitioners, service providers and policy makers whose work involves children at risk of mental health conditions.

Test your system before the webinar, and read the Frequently Asked Questions.

Register to attend the webinar

Post expires at 1:57pm on Thursday August 2nd, 2018

NSW Community Safety Fund​ 2018​ (Round 4)

Applications for up to $250,000 are invited for innovative projects designed to prevent crime and fear of crime and help people feel safe and proud of their community, under the fourth round of the NSW Community Safety Fund.

The  NSW Community Safety Fund provides funding for community safety initiatives which will reduce crime and stamp out anti-social behaviour.

The NSW Department of Justice is administering the significant grants program for local communities across NSW. This is the fourth year of the grant program which provides $10 million to local communities over four years to improve community safety across NSW. 

Non-government organisations, community groups, NSW Councils, chambers of commerce and businesses across NSW can apply for funding for capital works/infrastructure and service delivery projects which will:

  • address local crime hot spots
  • address anti-social behaviour in communities
  • promote safer and inclusive use of public space; and
  • promote collaborative approaches to community safety, crime reduction, prevention and detection initiatives.

The Department encourages applications for projects which aim to improve community safety in regional areas of NSW. 

Applications open on Monday 9 July 2018 and close at 5pm on Friday 10 August 2018.

More information is available in the Community Safety Fund – Program Guidelines 2018 (Round 4) and the Community Safety Fund – Grant Application Checklist 2018 (Round 4).

​You can also email [email protected] or phone: 02 8688 8666.


Post expires at 12:06pm on Friday August 10th, 2018

Tuning into Kids Free Parenting Program

Interrelate is running a free six-session parenting program for parents of children aged 3-12 based on John Gottman’s principles of emotion coaching, in Lismore Wednesdays 8 August-12 September 2018.

The program has the following objectives:

  1. Parents will become more aware and accepting of emotions in themselves and their child
  2. Develop skills to help their child name their emotions
  3. Have more empathic responses to their child.
  4. Share more emotional aspects of life with their child
  5. Develop their own emotional self-care and anger regulation skills.
  6. Experience more closeness and intimacy
  7. Have fewer experiences of destructive expression of difficult emotions.

See the flyer for full details.

Contact Belinda Keech: [email protected] phone: 6623 2750 | mobile: 0475 817 383

Post expires at 11:35am on Wednesday August 8th, 2018

Lismore Council Supporting Shop-top Living

Lismore City Council is calling for more landowners in the CBD to think about shop-top housing as a way to help diversify accommodation options in the city.

Deborah Ray, the owner of Music Bizarre, was one of the first people to take advantage of subsidies and support Council provided to encourage more shop-top housing in early 2016.

Deborah had put the plans on hold due to other commitments, and then the March 2017 flood hit. Instead of letting it slow her down, Deborah decided having a secure income would make her more flood resilient and got the renovations back on track.

This week her new one- and two-bedroom units are ready to hit the rental market, while above Music Bizarre she is putting the finishing touches to a new vinyl lounge and flood-free storage area.

The Lismore Housing Strategy identified CBD housing was integral to increase housing options in the city, and in 2015 Council brought together a focus group to look at barriers and issues related to shop-top housing.

As a result of feedback, Council resolved to waive Section 94 and 64 fees and on-site carparking for shop-top housing (subject to conditions) and to work closely with property owners to help them meet the necessary fire regulations, which can be complicated and costly.

“CBD shop-top housing is a great way to ensure we have smaller types of accommodation to cater for singles and couples, which is a growing demographic. The three-bedroom home is often not a model that suits the way people are living in the 21st century,” Council’s Strategic Planning Coordinator Paula Newman said.

“We know that shop-top housing will be a huge driver in revitalising our CBD and bringing life into our city. All cities should have people living in the heart of the retail precinct and it’s something we are very keen to progress. We are thrilled to see Deborah’s renovations completed and approved, and the result is fantastic. We hope to see many others follow her example and encourage people to contact Council if they are keen to investigate shop-top housing options.”

Anyone interested in pursuing shop-top housing should phone Council’s Economic Development Manager Tina Irish on 6625 0458.

Post expires at 11:29am on Sunday September 16th, 2018

More Affordable Transport for those on the NDIS

Transport is about to get more affordable for people on the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS), thanks to a new fare subsidy of an average $10 per trip.

Transport for NSW has announced a $3 million dollar boost to community transport providers during the transition to the NDIS.

The NSW Government funding will give NDIS registered community transport providers a subsidy allocation, which will be passed on to NDIS participants, up until 30 June 2020.

The subsidy applies to Community Transport operators who have a contract with Transport for NSW. These operators could use a range of vehicles such as mini buses, small buses or regular cars.

Eligible NDIS participants will be subsidised an average of $10 per trip by those transport providers, including travelling to and from work and education.

“This funding boost is essential to keep services affordable for customers currently benefitting from the NDIS in New South Wales,” a Transport for NSW spokesperson said.

“Some of our customers need specialist services to get them to and from work on a daily basis, and this subsidy could provide a significant weekly saving.”

“While the NDIS will provide the main funding solution for participants’ transport needs, this additional funding will assist in a steady transition for participants and community transport providers,” the spokesperson said.

“The subsidy also gives certainty to participants reliant on community transport that the cost of travel will have less impact on their day-to-day activities.”

Eligible providers must be registered to provide NDIS services and a TfNSW-contracted community transport provider.

“These arrangements are a further commitment to Transport for NSW’s Disability Inclusion Action Plan 2022,” the spokesperson said.

Post expires at 11:18am on Sunday September 16th, 2018

Aboriginal Chronic Conditions Network Conference

Registrations are now open to attend the Aboriginal Chronic Conditions Network Conference, with the theme Walk a mile in my shoes…do we ever factor the social determinants into how we deliver health care? It’s on 8 August 2018 at Rydges, World Square, Sydney.

There are significant health disparities between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal people. At least 34.4 per cent of the health gap between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal peoples is linked to social determinants, which rises to 53.2 per cent when combined with behavioural risk factors, such as tobacco use, alcohol use, dietary factors and physical inactivity.

A social determinants approach considers a holistic whole of life lens through the broad social, political, economic, cultural and environmental context in which people live and the impact these contexts have on health and wellbeing. The health sector itself is a good place to start building supports and structures that encourage action on the social determinants of health and health equity.

See the Conference website for Registration and further details.


Post expires at 11:15am on Wednesday August 8th, 2018

Social Futures to Provide Youth Services in Ballina – But Needs to Find A Venue

Social Futures has been contracted to provide the youth services in Ballina previously provided at B-Space, under a 12-month ‘interim agreement’ with NSW FACS, filling the gap left by FSG Australia which went into administration on 30 June.

“When we heard about FSG our thoughts went immediately to their young program participants and staff,” says Deb Hall, Manager of Community and Youth Programs at Social Futures.

“We are talking to several organisations regarding suitable space to rent and welcome any offers or suggestions from businesses, sports, church, community or social groups who might be able to house the service, even short term.

“We know from our work with young people how important centres like B-Space are to them, particularly in regional locations. They provide a safe place where young people can hang out, build social networks and skills, be themselves, find a listening ear and engage with positive role models.

“We have employed former FSG staff and are keen for others who have been involved with B-Space to help us to shape our services,” Deb said.

Anyone needing more information about any of the NSW Family and Community Services funded programs formerly provided at B-Space or who can offer accommodation for the service can call Social Futures in Lismore on 02 6620 1800.


Post expires at 10:09am on Monday July 30th, 2018

Splendour Sponsors Survival Skills for Young People At Risk of Homelessness

Social Futures is pleased to announce that it has been awarded a $5,000 Splendour in the Grass Community Grant to deliver a living skills program for young people at risk of homelessness.

Social Futures Acting Executive Manager, Cathy Serventy, says the grant will be used to deliver Survival Skills, a six-week practical living skills program designed to provide skills and knowledge for young people experiencing homelessness.

“The Survival Skills program is a wonderful, very practical initiative developed by staff from our Connecting Home program to pass on real world knowledge about how to survive when facing homelessness”.

Topics include information on how to sustain a tenancy, managing money, working through conflict and improving relationships, wellbeing skills such as preparing healthy food on a budget, legal rights and responsibilities, and employment and training opportunities.

“Each week we present on a different topic, inviting guest presenters from community legal, health services, financial experts, real estate agents and more. We teach young people about the services they can access for help, as well as passing on strategies to use in different situations.”

“In addition to building resilience, this program is also a valuable social outlet. Attendees get to meet other young people in the community who are facing similar issues, they make connections, share experiences and knowledge, and they leave with better mechanisms to cope and knowing they are not alone,” Cathy says.

“We end each session with a cooking lesson, teaching participants how to cook a healthy, cheap meal which we all then share together.”

Social Futures Connecting Home program works with more than 800 young people every year in the Northern Rivers.

“Homelessness is an issue prevalent across our region. Our Connecting Home Program staff are highly committed, work with many more people every year than we are funded for, and understand there are many more still in need of our assistance. The Survival Skills program builds capacity and provides vital skills to help people pull themselves out of homelessness, it’s an incredibly valuable program but is not something that we have direct funding to deliver. Our service users and staff are therefore very appreciative of the support of Splendour in The Grass,” Cathy said.

If you or someone you know is experiencing or at risk of homelessness, you can contact Connecting Home on 02 6620 1800. To donate to Connecting Home go to


Post expires at 10:04am on Thursday August 30th, 2018

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