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AMCS Annual Report 2012–13 1

Annual Report Australian Multicultural 2012–13 Community Services Inc.


AMCS Annual Report 2012–13

Australian Multicultural Community Services Inc. Suite 111, 44–56 Hampstead Rd, Maidstone, VIC 3012 P: (03) 9689 9170 F: (03) 9687 7446 E: ABN 69022519263 Inc. no A0048140C

AMCS Annual Report 2012–13 3

Contents About us 5 A message from our President 6 A message from our CEO 7 AMCS’s identity 8 AMCS initiatives overview 9 AMCS’s eventful year in CALD communities 10 Ethnic Ageing Seniors Projects 12 AMCS services and program overview 13 HCPP and Brokerage Services 14 Multicultural Emergency Relief Program 15 Information and Referral Services 16 Visiting Programs 17 An eventful year for AMCS volunteers 18 Respite Services – Eastern European Day Care Centres 19 Multicultural Planned Activity Groups 20 Centre for Learning 23 AMCS Board 24 Thank you 28 Funding Acknowledgments 30


AMCS Annual Report 2012–13

AMCS Annual Report 2012–13 5

About us Our Vision AMCS is a community-based organisation addressing the diverse and changing needs of multicultural communities in Victoria. We care for, support and educate Victoria’s multicultural communities, families and individuals so they can reach their full potential. We work with men and women of all cultures and faiths to achieve cultural diversity, equity and consumer satisfaction. We want older people to live independently in their communities for as long as possible. This is why we offer a personalised and culturally appropriate Home Care Packages Program (HCPP) and Brokerage Services to adults from all cultural backgrounds. Our bilingual care workers ensure we can communicate to our consumers in their own language. We support older people to remain active and connect with others from their own culture. Our Visiting Programs and Planned Activity Groups are the right places to achieve this goal. We understand carers sometimes need a break. Our Eastern European Respite Day Care Centres enable carers to have these breaks. We know anyone can sometimes require guidance. This is why we offer support in finding access to the right HACC Services. We help those in personal and financial crisis. Our Emergency Relief Program is here to assist

and support our clients from culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) backgrounds to improve their situation. We believe in the potential of each individual. Our Centre for Learning offers diverse courses in plain English to encourage students from CALD backgrounds. We care, we support, we educate. This is what we have been doing for thirty years.

To be the preferred supplier of community-based services to multicultural Australia by providing support, opportunity, access and equity to CALD communities and individuals.

Our Themes Improve independence and support for people from CALD backgrounds. Provide training, education and support to all involved in supporting and caring for people of CALD backgrounds. Establish and foster relationships with individuals, appropriate service providers and government agencies at all levels that will enhance the objectives of AMCS. Liaise with local, state and federal governments to work together to ensure appropriate supports are available for people from CALD backgrounds. Provide direct relief from poverty, sickness, suffering, distress, misfortune, disability, destruction and helplessness. Promote and celebrate cultural diversity in Australian society.

Our Values We deliver quality. We stand for respect and diversity. We strive for client satisfaction. We practice continuous improvement. We ensure compliance.


AMCS Annual Report 2012–13

A message from our President In 2013 AMCS is extremely pleased to celebrate thirty years as a community-based organisation providing a range of services to address the needs of migrants within our multicultural society. Starting out originally as a small organisation responding to the welfare needs of an ethno-specific community, today AMCS has expanded to deliver a broad range of projects, services and programs to a diverse range of communities. We have over two hundred different nationalities contributing to Australian society and it is said that every second person is a migrant or the child of a migrant. We are resolute in strengthening our efforts in embracing other multicultural communities as this is where our future lies. While we are pleased with our success to date, we must continue to strengthen and broaden our partnerships, our client base, programs, brokerage services and Centre for Learning courses across as many communities as possible. AMCS is one of a number of organisations offering home aged care and related services. As outlined in the last year’s report, the number of providers is expected to decrease as governments prefer to deal with larger organisations and client choice via Consumer Directed Care is introduced over the next few years, bringing about wide-scale change within our industry. The recently elected Federal Government will also bring new changes. AMCS will continue to face challenges over the next few years from external changes and the need to adapt internally.

Internal change includes broadening our focus (as outlined above), building new systems to cope with Consumer Directed Care, training and developing staff to continue to deliver high-quality and cost-effective client care and strengthening marketing and business-development activities across all areas. We have undertaken a broad range of activities in the past year and these are outlined in the CEO’s report. I am particularly pleased that we have held functions to acknowledge the wonderful work of our volunteers, members, staff and AMCS’s role in Australian society. We have a proud history to recognise and celebrate and an exciting future. I am pleased to report that over the past few years AMCS has performed strongly and introduced many initiatives to build a sustainable organisation. We have managed to build up cash reserves that will allow us, over the next twelve to twenty-four months, to invest in our management systems, staff and business development to meet the challenges we face. I am confident that AMCS can more than meet the new operating requirements and community environment. We have a dedicated, committed, energetic workforce to deliver quality services to our clients. They have done so for thirty years and will continue to do so in the future. I thank the board, our long-serving CEO, Elizabeth Drozd, staff and volunteers for their support and excellent work over the past twelve months. The next year will see further changes within AMCS as we strive continuously to improve all aspects of our operations.

Russell Harold Howard President

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A message from our CEO This year marks the thirtieth anniversary of Australian Multicultural Community Services, and I am delighted to have an opportunity to present an annual summary on the wide variety of achievements and successful activities that occurred during this milestone year. In 2012–13 AMCS continued to focus on broadening our services and supporting as many ethnic communities as we can. We are pleased to have successfully commenced working relationships with the Ethiopian community in Melbourne and the Filipino community in Geelong. We thank the State Department of Health for enabling us to do so through Home and Community Care funding. Further, in partnership with the Uniting Community Care Options (UCCO), AMCS was able to extend the respite service to several Eastern European communities. Part of the broadening of AMCS services has been the provision of accredited aged care courses, with an emphasis on multicultural students and expanding the AMCS Brokerage service to as many communities as possible.

AMCS continues to be a vibrant and dynamic organisation, thirty years after its establishment and I hope that our founding members would be proud and pleased with our achievements. I thank all organisations that support AMCS financially so that we can continue to work together and support multicultural communities in Victoria. May I also thank the AMCS board, in particular Russell Howard, our management team, staff and volunteers for all their efforts during 2012–13. As for the future, community services and community aged care are undergoing one of the most significant if not the most significant change in history. Good planning, forward thinking and establishing successful alliances will be critical in preparing the agency for these challenging times ahead. Together we face this future with confidence and energy.

Elizabeth Drozd Chief Executive Officer


AMCS Annual Report 2012–13


AMCS’s identity 2013 was a significant year for AMCS as we celebrated our thirtieth anniversary. Thirty years ago, in 1983, AMCS was established to respond to the welfare needs of older refugees and newly arriving special humanitarian entrants. Initially the focus was on the western suburbs of Melbourne. Over the years we have broadened and expanded our services to a more diverse range of communities. AMCS staff come from more than ten different cultural backgrounds and speak many languages. Today we proudly serve Victoria’s multicultural communities in aged and home care services; we support seniors with our Visiting Programs and Activity Groups and we offer Emergency Relief Services for people who are facing emergency situations. Our Centre for Learning delivers language training, aged care courses and computer courses to a wide variety of multiethnic students every year. In 2013 we recruited a marketing coordinator to support AMCS’s online activities and to strengthen the organisational collective approach to consumer and stakeholder engagement, events and conferences, as well as media coverage. In mid 2013 we celebrated thirty years of AMCS with a new branding look and feel, updating

all printed and online material, upgrading our Maidstone office and launching a new, userfriendly AMCS website and branded Facebook page. Information on the new website is segmented into easy-to-understand categories that contain our many programs. Contact details are easy to find. Our general AMCS brochure is now available in twelve different languages, and all brochures and publications are available on the website, ready to download. Our new slogan ‘We care, we support, we educate’ not only focuses on the efforts of AMCS employees, but also on the interest of potential clients, consumers, students and partners. Even though it does not change our purpose of serving the Australian multicultural community, we think the new slogan promotes a fresh, positive and professional impression about AMCS and our many programs. It helps us to engage with the community and other service providers. We feel ready and motivated to serve existing and new consumers, clients and communities. We look forward to continue working hand-inhand with our stakeholders and partners for the next thirty years and beyond. Thank you for celebrating our success with us!

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AMCS’s initiatives overview Client-driven initiatives: »»

Initiated and undertook a Building Community Sector Capacity to Adapt to a New Funding environment project (known in short as a CDC project), through financial support from the Office for the Community Sector (State Department of Human Services) and in partnership with Leadership Victoria.

Celebrated Cross-Cultural Awareness Week by staff attending a presentation by an Aboriginal elder.


Successfully expanded AMCS accredited aged care courses to a wide variety of students from CALD backgrounds. Community engagement initiatives:


Established of a Planned Activity Group program in Geelong with the local Filipino community.

Hosted a visit by His Excellency, the Hon. Alex Chernov AC, QC, Governor of Victoria, as part of celebrating AMCS’s thirty years of service.


Organised a volunteers’ appreciation function at Queen’s Hall, Victorian Parliament, in the presence of the Hon. David Davis, State Minister for Ageing.

Launched the successfully completed dementia perspective within CALD communities research project, in partnership with the North-West Migrant Resource Centre.


Implemented the Ethnic Ageing Seniors project on behalf of the Department of Health, Victoria.


Participated in a community consultation organised by the Leader of the Opposition, the Hon. Daniel Andrews and Mr Jude Perera, Shadow Parliamentary Secretary for Multicultural Affairs.


Commenced liaison with the Turkish, Hindu, Ethiopian, Coptic Egyptian and Greek community representatives for the purpose of establishing support services for those communities on a needs basis.


Completed the Aged Persons Welfare Foundation funded project that aimed to increase access to services.


Expanded a carer’s respite program through partnership with UCCO.



Continuous improvement initiatives: »»

Initiated and conducted research into volunteer visitor demand by 100 aged care facilities in Victoria.


Participated in the annual meeting of the National Network of Multicultural Aged and Community Care Providers, including meeting Senator Concetta Fierravanti-Wells, previously Shadow Minister for Ageing.


Implemented the Communication and Information Technology Audit recommendations. Respect and diversity initiatives:



Organised a successful multicultural conference attended by 180 delegates which was MC’ed by well-known entertainer Magda Szubanski and officially opened by the Hon. Nicholas Kotsiras, Minister for Multicultural Affairs and Citizenship.


In 2013-14 we are preparing for opportunities to serve even more ethnic community groups within our programs. Elizabeth Drozd, CEO


AMCS Annual Report 2012–13

AMCS’s eventful year in CALD communities 15.08.2012




Indian Independence Day lunch: AMCS staff celebrate with Indian colleagues the Indian Independence Day in the AMCS office in Maidstone.

AMCS celebrates the twentieth anniversary of volunteer work at Queen’s Hall, Victorian Parliament, in the presence of the Hon. David Davis, State Minister for Health and Ageing.

AMCS honours Crosscultural Awareness Week by inviting Uncle Reg, an Aboriginal elder, to deliver a presentation about Aboriginal culture and the impact of settlement and history to AMCS staff and a number of invited CALD organisations.

Launch of the AMCS leadership survey. In conjunction with Williamson Community Leadership Program, this report was created to provide an analysis and evaluation of AMCS and its leadership within the community sector.

AMCS’s Multicultural Conference `Strengthening Diversity ’.



AMCS representatives take part in the Premier’s Gala Dinner, which launched the Cultural Diversity Week with a festive show of unity from Victoria’s multicultural community.

AMCS holds the Multicultural Conference `Strengthening Diversity ’. One hundred and eighty delegates and leaders from across Australia come together to explore key issues around multiculturalism.

AMCS CEO Elizabeth Drozd at the African Ramadan Iftar Dinner.

The Governor of Victoria, His Excellency the Honourable Alex Chernov AC, QC, and Mrs Elizabeth Chernov visit AMCS.

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Aboriginal elder Uncle Reg delivers a presentation at the AMCS office.

AMCS exhibition Passion lasts forever.



AMCS organises the very successful exhibition Passion lasts forever. Thirty artists, who are CALD clients of AMCS HACC programs, present woodwork, craft, painting, knitting, crochet, embroidery, handmade regional costumes and much more. More than one hundred participants attend the exhibition.

Many of AMCS HACC clients take part in the Multicultural Art Exhibition in Geelong, displaying their own art and connecting with other artists.

2013 AMCS celebrates its thirtieth anniversary.

20.02.2013 AMCS conducts a workshop titled ‘Working with Victoria’s African Communities’.

AMCS twentieth anniversary of volunteer work celebrated at Victorian Parliament.




The Governor of Victoria, his Excellency the Honourable Alex Chernov AC QC and Mrs Elizabeth Chernov, join AMCS staff and board members for morning tea in their Maidstone office to celebrate AMCS’s thirtieth anniversary.

Launch of the Multicultural Perspective on Dementia: Case Studies and Community Perceptions in the North-Western Region of Melbourne report. A study conducted by AMCS and the Migrant Resource Centre North West Inc., funded by the Victorian Department of Health, Home and Community Care Program.

AMCS representatives take part in the African Ramadan Iftar Dinner, which was organised by the Australian Intercultural Society and the African Think Tank.

Magda Szubanski MC’ed AMCS Multicultural Conference `Strengthening Diversity ’.


AMCS Annual Report 2012–13

Ethnic Ageing Seniors Projects Projects for Seniors from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds During the year AMCS undertook two projects with the aim of removing barriers to participation in social and community life, and to increase opportunities for elderly people from CALD backgrounds experiencing social isolation in the western suburbs. One project involved a series of excursions to promote healthy living and lifestyle changes and encourage participants to utilise available transport in the future. A series of information sessions were also organised about the availability of help as well as benefits for seniors in Victoria. Various methods of advertising were used to reach individual seniors. Radio announcements were translated into several languages and broadcasted on relevant SBS Radio programs. Flyers informing the public about the project were left at community centres, public libraries and seniors clubs. Organised ethnic groups of seniors were also approached. Each group participated in one outing or information session. The topics were chosen based on the needs and interests of the group and aimed to increase overall independence and wellbeing. Overall, seventy-five participants were involved. Groups were given the opportunity to socialise with members in a different setting, to learn new skills, meet people and gain information. The project sought to enable participants to become more independent at their own level, taking into account needs and interests. Each information session was tailored specifically to the group, and participants were encouraged to ask questions. Outings allowed participants to travel to places inaccessible by public transport, to spend a day outside with others. From left to right: Picnic with the Filipino Community. Raspberry picking with the Polish Community. Outing to Montsalvat historic gardens with the Croatian Community.

All outings encouraged physical activity, social participation and consumption of fresh food where possible. The other project aimed to build the volunteer capacity of smaller ethnic community groups to provide volunteer recreation and social support initiatives to elderly people who experience isolation and are not linked to existing services and programs. The project worked with existing unfunded and voluntary ethnic community organisations in the delivery of a range of social support activities. This was to harness the voluntary efforts and support of these organisations, and to establish groups and activities that could be supported on an ongoing basis by the communities themselves after the completion of the current project. The project targeted the development of social support and recreational activities for isolated elderly people from the Polish, Greek, Ethiopian, Filipino and Croatian communities resident in the Western Region of Melbourne. The project proved an excellent way to engage with unfunded ethnic communities. Three ongoing initiatives have resulted from the activities. The Greek group now meets weekly as do the Ethiopian and Polish groups. These groups are run by volunteers from these communities with direction and support provided on an ongoing basis by our organisation. This is a good model for engagement with communities and involvement of volunteers to sustain activities for a longer period of time.

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AMCS services and program overview

Home Care Packages Program (HCPP)

Multicultural Brokerage Services

Multicultural Emergency Relief Program

Information and Referral Servives

Home Care Packages Program (HCPP) for older people and people with disabilities from diverse backgrounds.

Multicultural Brokerage Services provide culturally appropriate home care services to older adults from multicultural backgrounds.

Multicultural Emergency Relief Program provides support to people experiencing financial difficulties.

Information and Referral Services work with clients in identifying their needs, providing information and arranging referrals.

Visiting Programs

Respite Services

Planned Activity Groups

Centre for learning

Visiting Programs provide culturally appropriate visiting services to socially isolated Eastern European elderly and people with disabilities.

Respite Services: Eastern European Day Care Centres enable carers of older people and people with disabilities to have a break.

Planned Activity Groups organise activities that bring older people from CALD backgrounds together to socialise with people from their own culture.

Centre for Learning offers courses in Aged Care, English and computer classes in plain English to encourage students from multicultural backgrounds to undertake further education.


AMCS Annual Report 2012–13

HCPP and Brokerage Services Home Care Packages Program (HCPP) Over the past twelve months the Community Aged Care Packages (CACP) program has managed and facilitated 170 home care packages within the multicultural communities of the west, north-west, east and Barwon regions. With the introduction of the Department of Health and Ageing’s new aged care reform ‘Living Longer. Living Better’,

the acronym CACP has become redundant. Packages are now to be known as Home Care Packages Program (HCPP). This year has also seen the introduction of Consumer Directed Care (CDC). AMCS HCPP staff have worked tirelessly in preparing to meet the new requirements and now await the allocation of CDC Home Care Packages.

The HCPP program continues to provide services to the broader ethnic communities including Croatian, German, Latvian, Polish, Russian, Ukraine and Greek.

Multicultural Brokerage Services Multicultural Brokerage Services offer both short-term and long-term home care support for older people and those from CALD backgrounds with disabilities to enable them to live independently in their home. We focus on enabling people to enjoy living through personalised services that are culturally appropriate. Multicultural Brokerage Services are available to people on a government subsidised package such as CDC or an individual support program. During the past twelve months, service delivery and service agreements have expanded to include TAC, Uniting Community


Care Options, Care Connect and Prahran City Mission. AMCS currently delivers services to sixteen different service providers. The Brokerage Program is currently supporting fiftyfive clients of diverse cultures including Greek, Maltese, Italian, Croatian and Macedonian.

delivery and created an opportunity to promote and train local government and direct care staff in the area of cultural awareness. HCPP staff are implementing this training. Outsourcing such training will enhance the Brokerage Program from a business perspective.

In late 2012 a business development and marketing officer was employed on a six-month fixed term and the number of partnerships completed increased during that period. This position also provided AMCS with an identified increase in service

I have been an AMCS CACP client for a few years now. They helped me a lot, especially when I had a stroke. AMCS gave me home and personal care I needed very much. I am grateful for everything they have done for me. Maria, HCPP Consumer

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Multicultural Emergency Relief Program Overview


The Multicultural Emergency Relief Casework Program supports individuals and families from CALD backgrounds who experience financial crisis and live in the western metropolitan region of Melbourne.

Our Multicultural Emergency Relief Program has continued to gather momentum since the appointment of Ekram Awadallah as coordinator. The service has increased referrals significantly, particularly from newly arrived asylum seekers with no source of income. This increase is concerning and we will be consulting with the Commonwealth about ways in which we can support these people who are in significant financial distress.

Types of assistance: »» casework »»

support and counselling




food parcels, food and travel vouchers


access to services

Achievements and network capacities


financial counselling




Effective presentation of the Emergency Relief Program to job-seeking organisations, settlement organisations, neighbourhood houses and others.


Strong working relationships


with key service providers, such as Department of Human Services, Salvation Army and Department of Housing. »»

Attended and hosted various Emergency Relief network meetings.


Secured a financial adviser to provide financial counselling on site.

Volunteer work We have established a link with Job Prospects Employment which has been very positive for both parties. Job Prospects provides us with skilled volunteers. AMCS provides the volunteer with work experience that assists in obtaining paid employment in the future. Our volunteers have been invaluable to AMCS in general and to the Emergency Relief program specifically.

I like working as a volunteer for the AMCS Emergency Relief Program because we are able to assist those people in greatest need. Richard, AMCS Volunteer


AMCS Annual Report 2012–13

Information and Referral Services Overview The AMCS Access and Support Program and Service System Resourcing Program provide a variety of roles, with the ultimate goal of linking older people from CALD backgrounds to the aged care service system. Both programs are involved in service intake, including assessment of needs, short-term casework intervention and referral to internal or external aged care and community support services as needed. Achievements The Service System Resourcing Program coordinated by Maria Fruhwirth has provided assistance to 422 individuals, of these sixty-two were formal referrals using online software and 300 were informal referrals. These formal referrals were made on behalf of clients to other agencies as well as internally. They were primarily used for aged care assistance either through clients’ local councils, provision of ACAS Assessments for an Aged Care Package, as well as to other services such as occupational therapy, Friendly Visiting Scheme and to a Planned Activity Group. The more informal referrals, numbering in excess of three hundred, resulted in providing information, advocacy on housing, Justice Department mediation, respite, legal matters, finance, medical transport, notary issues, postacute care, VCAT, elders’ rights, drug and alcohol rehabilitation, grief counselling, mental health and problems encountered with Centrelink. All these actions successfully responded to the individual CALD client’s needs. The program has also been involved in a number of community initiatives that support and encourage access and has actively participated in the project ‘Improving Pathways between HACC Assessment Services and Ethnic & Multicultural Aged Care Services’. We also initiated an incontinence awareness project with RDNS and various ethnic ageing groups. We provided informational presentations on aged care services to seniors clubs including Reservoir, Werribee, Yarraville, St Albans and Pascoe Vale. The program also provided a presentation to a Filipino seniors club on aged care services. We applied for a grant for the Ballarat seniors club to celebrate their tenth anniversary and assisted three other seniors clubs in applying for funding.

Information sessions were also organised for seniors clubs relating to Home Energy Saver Scheme provided by Uniting Care Kildonan. The access and support programs sought to work with a number of ethnic communities to extend our reach with multicultural communities. We worked closely with a number of small, unfunded ethnic communities in the western region to increase their capacity and ability to prioritise and support elderly residents and members. We worked with Greek, Polish, Ethiopian and Filipino groups to organise and deliver social recreational and information activities in support of the elderly. These partnership arrangements between AMCS and smaller unfunded community groups will continue. Later in 2013 our access and support role will be extended to cover the Municipality of Wyndham. Funding has been obtained to employ a new coordinator who will work with multicultural communities to link them to available services and programs. We have recently employed Margaret Kolesidis to the role of access and support coordinator. Caring for carers Throughout the year we also provided ongoing assistance to carers with funding provided by Carers Victoria. Several events were organised for the carers.

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Visiting Programs Agnieszka’s story Agnieszka is an AMCS Visiting Volunteer. I believe that what you give comes back to you. I am twenty-six and have been volunteering with Australian Multicultural Community Services since the beginning of 2013. One person

Overview Our Friendly Visiting Program and Community Visitor Scheme Program are volunteer-based. Volunteers visit socially isolated seniors and younger people with disabilities from Eastern European backgrounds living in their own homes in Melbourne or in aged care facilities in Victoria, including Ballarat, Morwell, Moe, Geelong and Dandenong. Joanna Kaflowski and Marek Smalec were our Friendly Visiting Program coordinators over the last year and they managed the program during that time. Joanna Kaflowski is also responsible for coordinating our Community Visitor Scheme Program.


cannot change the entire world, but if each of us does our little bit, the world will be a much better place. The experience has been so rewarding and fun! To meet a kindred spirit who brings as much warmth, joy and friendship into my life as I hopefully bring into hers, is purely incredible.

Both programs match volunteers to isolated elderly people who are resident in nursing homes or live in their own homes. The programs provide elderly participants with much-needed companionship and socialising in a culturally and linguistically appropriate manner. Volunteer work and Achievements Currently more than eighty volunteers actively visit older isolated people. The role of the Community Visitors Scheme and Friendly Visiting Program in providing company and friendship for the growing number of fragile and lonely people from Eastern European backgrounds




Matches - volunteer and client were brought together as a match. FVP

Visits made by FVP volunteers.

Matches - volunteer and client were brought together as a match. CVS

in Victoria has become increasingly important. Older people value having ‘a friend’ and appreciate the one-to-one relationships that are offered by volunteers. For many, an AMCS volunteer is their only visitor. AMCS is constantly looking for new volunteers. We are very keen to encourage the younger generation to consider volunteer work as a way of gaining work experience. To recognise the valued role and involvement of volunteers, the program coordinators organised many events and social activities for our volunteers.

1330 Visits made by CVS volunteers.


AMCS Annual Report 2012–13

An eventful year for AMCS volunteers Twentieth anniversary of AMCS volunteer work AMCS celebrates the twentieth anniversary of our volunteer work at Queen’s Hall, Victorian Parliament, in the presence of Mr David Davis, MLC, Minister for Health and Ageing. More than one hundred volunteers, leaders and representatives from the Polish, Croatian, Eritrean, Filipino, Turkish and Vietnamese communities, as well as members of parliament and representatives from the Department of Health and Ageing, among many others, attend.

Celebrating International Volunteers Day with a Christmas party More than fifty volunteers celebrate the International Volunteers Day with an AMCS Christmas party at Millennium House in Footscray on 7 December 2012. AMCS CEO Elizabeth Drozd joins the celebrating group and presents personalised calendars and Christmas cards to each volunteer.

Celebration of National Volunteer Week AMCS writes a ‘thank you’ letter to all our volunteers during National Volunteer Week. On 19 May 2013 a ‘thanks a million’ trip to the Melbourne Aquarium with morning tea is organised for the busy AMCS volunteers.

Training sessions »»

Meetings and workshops Quarterly meetings are organised for volunteers at the AMCS premises. These are usually combined with workshops conducted by a volunteer health professional. Topics include: »» »» »» »» »»

Medicines and you Be active your way Fight stroke Home Energy Saver Scheme MYKI information session

»» »» »» »» »» »» »» »» »» »» »»

Interpreters Perform CPR – HLTCPR201A Safe driving Depression in frail older people Supporting people with sensory loss Condition of ageing Effective group facilitation Working with Muslim clients and carers Apply first aid – HLTFA301C Assertive communication Dementia education for direct care workers Loss and grief Managing challenging behaviour in older people

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Respite Services - Eastern European Day Care Centres Overview The success of a pilot project conducted between February and June 2012 allowed AMCS to establish the first Eastern European Respite Day Centre in the eastern region of Melbourne. This service has now continued over the past twelve months. As a Commonwealth Government initiative, the AMCS Respite Program is funded by and developed in partnership with Uniting Care Community Options. The AMCS Respite Service targets carers of frail older persons living with dementia or/and challenging behaviour who have an Eastern European background and who are living at home, alone or with their family. This service provides carers with a break from their caring responsibilities, allowing them

to catch up on other tasks or simply to have some rest. It also provides an opportunity for the person being cared for to meet others and be more involved in social life. Achievements The AMCS Respite Service in Wantirna has been providing carer support services for over twelve months and is ably led by Marek Smalec. The program was recently audited by the Commonwealth Department of Health and Ageing who found the service fully compliant with Commonwealth standards. As a result of the success of the program, Uniting Care Community Options have agreed to extend the service in Wantirna by an extra day. Uniting Care Community Options have also agreed to fund a new respite service in the northern region.

Activities Focusing on the needs of people with dementia, activities and exercises used in the program have been adapted to the individual needs of the participants in order to stimulate their memory and functionality. Events for carers To recognise the valued roles of carers, social activities and outings, as well as many information sessions, were organised for them over the year. Continuous improvement Respite staff participated in various training sessions, forums and conferences in relation to the Active Service Model, occupational health and safety, diversity planning and general professional development.


This year I became a full-time carer to my husband. The pressure was mounting and my patience was running out. Just then, respite activity opened to us. Since then I enjoy once a week a much-needed break. Dana, Respite Wantirna


AMCS Annual Report 2012–13

Multicultural Planned Activity Groups Overview


Our Planned Activity Groups in Geelong and Melbourne are designed to help older people and those with disabilities to stay healthy and active by engaging them in interesting and fun group activities.

Last year our groups went to the Planetarium to see Escape from Andraxus, Black Holes and Night Sky. We visited the art gallery at Wintergarden, Geelong, to see an embroidery exhibition and paintings. We organised trips to shopping centres and shops. We also went to a community festival in Geelong.

The program is designed to meet the cultural and linguistic needs of people of Eastern-European, Filipino, Polish and African backgrounds. PAGs also have a respite function, allowing carers to take time out to catch up on other tasks or just to have a rest from carer responsibilities. Achievements and innovations Our Planned Activity Groups have been operational for many years now and continue to be effectively delivered, underpinned by the Active Service Model informing the design and objectives of the program. This approach allows us to respond to the expressed and identified needs of clients, but also allows recognising and responding to the strengths and interests of program participants. As part of the Active Service Model approach, a special meeting with clients was organised at the beginning of 2012 to discuss ideas for activities and outings for the following year. It created an opportunity for clients to express their interests, propose new ideas and to help their dreams to come true. The meeting was planned to maintain clients’ independence, to give them a sense of belonging and encourage them to make their own decisions about their lives. Care plans, including clients’ individual needs, strengths and achievable goals have been updated. Clients decide about changes they want to make, discuss their needs and goals with the coordinator and are actively involved in care plan preparations. Our Eastern European Planned Activity Groups are led by Anna Suchowiecka in Sunshine and by Jola Czajkowski in Geelong. Consistent with the AMCS goal of establishing multicultural services, we have also sought growth in our PAG initiatives. We have recently established a Filipino PAG group in Geelong and will soon be establishing a third group in that region, with the language to be determined. We are also seeking to establish an African Planned Activity Group in the City of Melbourne.

Special day celebrations We have celebrated Mother’s Day and Father’s Day, Christmas and Easter. We celebrate clients’ birthdays with cake and candles to make them feel very special. Exhibitions This year we organised a very successful seniors art exhibition where many HACC clients showed their work and enthusiasm for art. It was a part of Positive Ageing Promotional strategies and implementation of the Active Service Model plan. Information sessions and workshops: »»

Depression and anxiety – beyondblue


Reduce the risk – CFA home fire safety


Stroke: how to prevent it and how to deal with it – Stroke Association of Victoria


Hearing loss and ageing – Australian Hearing

Other activities such as light physical exercises, cooking and music days among many other general activities keep our PAGs interesting and diversified. Continuous improvement PAG staff participated in various training programs, forums and conferences in relation to the Active Service Model, occupational health and safety, diversity planning and general professional development.

AMCS Annual Report 2012–13 21


We have everything in PAG what we need in our lives – company, care and entertainment. Thanks to PAG we do many interesting things and we don’t feel lonely. Teresa, PAG member


I like coming to PAG because of the staff. They do everything to make us feel welcome. PAG is great. I have met many friends here. Alina, PAG member


AMCS Annual Report 2012–13

AMCS Annual Report 2012–13 23

Centre for Learning Minh’s story My friend recommended the AMCS Centre for Learning. I am now enrolled in the Certificate III in Aged Care and Home and Community Care. The course with AMCS is very interesting and I’ve learned extensive knowledge and lessons about aged


care. My trainer is an excellent teacher who has extensive knowledge and experience to share with us. After I graduate the course, I will become a PCA and I will continue to study to become a nurse.



English for working in aged care

The aim of AMCS Centre for Learning is to create and deliver quality education and training programs in the area of aged care, English and IT in a supportive environment that conforms to national training standards and meets the needs of both students and industry employers. We recognise there is a need for flexibility in the delivery of our courses to cater for the cultural, employment, language and personal needs of our students, and we are committed to delivering training programs that meet these needs. AMCS courses are tailored for students from CALD backgrounds and are delivered in plain English.


English using technology


Employment Ready for working in aged care (Introduction to Aged Care)


Computers for beginners.

Achievements This year has seen a number of changes for AMCS Adult Education and AMCS registered training. Both have come together under the Centre for Learning. The centre was also involved in the new AMCS branding and received an attractive new logo. This change has been implemented to provide our students with a one-stop shop for their educational needs and to provide a pathway from non-accredited to accredited programs. AMCS Centre for Learning now provides an extensive range of non-accredited courses Our existing English for Daily Communication course has doubled in size and we now provide additional classes in:

Classes run in both western and eastern metropolitan regions at Maidstone community centre, Braybrook Maidstone Neighbourhood house, Banksia Gardens Community Services and Community Centre SYRENA. Our Dual qualification Certificate III in Aged Care/Home and Community Care has proved to be a popular program. Enrolments have nearly doubled at our Maidstone office (on-site) and we are now delivering the course externally at the following locations: »»

Centre for Philippine Concerns, Dandenong


Delahey Community Centre


West Footscray Neighbourhood House


Duke Street Neighbourhood House, Sunshine


Kalyna Care, Delahey

The next twelve months will be an exciting and challenging time for the team at the Centre for Learning as we continue to expand our programs statewide.


AMCS Annual Report 2012–13

AMCS Board

Russell Harold Howard

Ryk Bliszczyk

Ron Horfiniak


Vice President


Russell has had more than thirty-five years extensive experience in human resources, line management, executive and non-executive director roles across a wide range of organisations locally and internationally. His experience covers the construction, transport, heavy engineering, general manufacturing, aerospace and aircraft maintenance, consulting, superannuation and not-for-profit industry sectors. During the course of his career Russell was responsible for developing and implementing wide-ranging business and human resources strategies. He has also held a number of directorships for Australian and New Zealand companies, including superannuation funds. Russell’s formal qualifications are a Bachelor of Economics, Post-Graduate Diploma of Business Administration and Post-Graduate Certificate of Industrial Law. He is also an alumnus of the Advanced Management Programme – INSEAD (Europe). Russell has been president of AMCS for the past three years. He is also a Client Manager with Great Connections, an organisation that matches volunteers with not-for-profit organisations.

With over eighteen years experience as a strategy consultant, Ryk has spent most of his professional career advising companies globally. He now uses his unique insights into human behaviour gained as a clinical neuropsychologist to support corporate leaders in leadership development. Ryk continues to consult and make presentations to corporations, most recently to Ho Chi Minh City TV in Vietnam, Reserve Bank of India, Johnson & Johnson Medical and La Trobe University. He currently holds a position as Adjunct Professor in the Graduate School of Business and Law at RMIT University, Melbourne, lecturing in economics and strategy. Ryk is a registered psychologist in Australia. He is also completing a PhD in behavioural economics studying the effects of group identity on decision-making. The Bliszczyk family have long been community activists. Ryk continues this tradition having recently completed the Leadership Victoria Experience Bank program, is school councillor for the William Ruthven Secondary College and psychological consultant to Melbourne Heart Football Club (honorary).

Ron is a qualified accountant and a fellow of Certified Practicing Accountants of Australia. He has a diverse and extensive business background spanning the IT, manufacturing, management consulting, financial services and not-forprofit sectors. He has held executive positions as general manager, CFO and director of strategic planning for both local and international organisations, punctuated with running his own management consulting practice, mainly involved in mergers, acquisitions and business transformation.

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Agatha Pawlowski

Assunta Marrone



Agatha is a registered psychologist and has been working in public service settings and privately for over fifteen years. She began her career as a probationary psychologist working with the Department of Human Services in 1999 in regional Victoria. Since registering as a psychologist she has worked in various teams and settings within the Department of Human Services and the Department of Education and Early Childhood Development. Agatha completed a Graduate Diploma in Mental Health (Child, Adolescent and Family Stream) with support from the Department of Human Services in the form of a scholarship to better understand the systems and interventions available in assisting families where a family member has a mental illness or disability. Most recently Agatha has been involved in statewide training of teachers to better include students with a diverse range of needs and disabilities. As well as working in the public health system, Agatha is currently completing a Master of Public Health on a part-time basis. She has a keen interest in the provision of quality services to clients and in efficiency, sustainability and support of the health workforce.

Assunta is currently employed as the Manager for Community Participation and Diversity for Western Health. In her currently role Assunta works with patients, consumer’s carers and community members to ensure that the services and programs delivered by Western Health meet the needs of the people they service and are culturally appropriate. Assunta has over twenty years experience as a community development worker, delivering community projects for organisations such as Centre for Multicultural Youth, Department of Justice and Womensport Victoria. Assunta has always had a passion for social justice, human rights and multicultural affairs. Assunta has a Bachelor of Social Sciences and a Diploma of Management. Assunta joined the AMCS board in 2013 as a way to acknowledge the contribution that migrant communities have made to Australian society.


AMCS Annual Report 2012–13

Barbara Swiatkowski

Ben Lloyd

Professor Des Cahill, OAM




Barbara works in the superannuation industry and has over thirty years experience in the field. Barbara’s extensive administration, management and consulting experience cover most aspects of effective management of corporate superannuation funds. Key competencies include benefit design, investment structures, member communication, insurance arrangements, staff management, fund secretariat and compliance reporting.

Ben is a principal of the law firm Russell Kennedy practicing in the field of Public Law, Litigation and Aged Care. His connection to the AMCS was initially through marriage as his wife is Polish and is a former employee of AMCS. He has volunteered to assist AMCS by being a member of the Board because he believes he has a range of skills that can assist the organisation in continuing to deliver the services to its historical base (the Polish community) and to help it broaden the range of services it provides and the clients it delivers those services to.

Des is Professor of Intercultural Studies in RMIT University’s School of Global, Urban and Social Studies. He is one of Australia’s leading authorities on immigrant, refugee and crosscultural studies, and has carried out many studies for Australian and State governments and other organisations in areas such as immigrant and multicultural education, ethnic minority youth, intercultural marriages and ethnic community development.

Barbara is a Senior Associate with a global consulting Firm providing expertise in group insurance arrangements for the firm’s master superannuation trust. She is a member of the firm’s Diversity and Inclusion Council as well as a member elected superannuation representative on the staff superannuation committee. Barbara has a strong interest in all aspects of aged care and believes that she can assist the AMCS board with delivering the range of services it provides within the multicultural community. Barbara completed a Diploma in Superannuation Management and Advanced Diploma Financial Services (Financial Planning).

More recently, he has focused on religion and cultural diversity. With Elizabeth Drozd he has edited two books on Poles in Australia, and has been closely associated with the Polish community in Victoria since the early 1990s. In 2010 he was awarded the Order of the Medal of Australia for his contribution to multicultural education and to the interfaith movement.

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Mary Schloetzer

Paul Walec



Mary is currently employed at both Swinburne University and Victoria University as a senior educator. Mary is an experienced practitioner in public relations, especially in corporate communications and advertising for both private and not-for-profit sectors. Prior to teaching at university level, Mary acted as a public relations specialist for many established niche markets, providing strategies for major corporations and major stakeholders.

Paul works in the property and finance industry and has a strong interest in aged care, retirement and associated services. He has twenty years experience in the areas of strategy, financial/commercial advisory services, property development and investment.

She is particularly noted for her photographic styling skills, and much of her work has been published both locally and internationally. Mary has a Bachelor of Arts, Advanced Diplomas in Marketing, Advertising and Public Relations, as well as a Graduate Certificate in Vocational Education and Training.

He has worked internationally in a number of senior roles in various countries. Paul’s qualifications include an engineering degree and postgraduate qualifications in teaching and management. Paul also has an MBA from the Australian Graduate School of Management. Paul joined the board to assist AMCS expand its business to become a leader in aged care and affiliated services in the broader multicultural community. He is also an advisor to other boards and has lectured at both RMIT University and the University of New South Wales.


AMCS Annual Report 2012–13

Thank you to our volunteers Volunteers contribute their time and effort, skills and passion for our all communities. We thank them from the bottom of our hearts.

Thank you to our donors Their gifts make special achievements possible and we thank them sincerely.

Thank you to our members For their continued support and for their recognition of the importance of AMCS work for the community.

Thank you to our clients, consumers and students Our clients, consumers and students are the ones who give us the most valuable feedback. We are here to support each of them in their individual needs by offering culturally appropriate services, so we thank them for their trust.

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Thank you to our staff Our dedicated staff ardently support the many diverse communities. We thank them for their dedication.

Thank you to our partners and supporters Our partnerships make it possible to serve and support communities and individual clients. Thank you for the teamwork.

Thank you to our funding bodies AMCS is proud to work in close association with the following government departments and non-government funding bodies: Australian Government Department of Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs Department of Health and Ageing Victorian Government Department of Education and Early Childhood Development, Skills Victoria Department of Health Department of Planning and Community Development Aged Persons Welfare Foundation Carers Victoria – Respite Connections Rotary Club of Footscray, Community Service & House of Friendship Fund Inc. Uniting Care Community Options Victorian Multicultural Commission Western Region. Aged Care


AMCS Annual Report 2012–13

Funding Acknowledgments Home Care Packages Program (HCPP) is funded by the Commonwealth Government, Department of Health and Ageing. The Multicultural Emergency Relief Program is funded by the Commonwealth Government, Department of Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs. The Access and Support Program is supported by funding from the Commonwealth and Victorian governments under the HACC program. The Service System Resourcing Program is supported by funding from the Commonwealth and Victorian governments under the HACC program. The Friendly Visiting Program is supported by funding from the Commonwealth and Victorian governments under the HACC program. Planned Activity Group is supported by funding from the Commonwealth and Victorian governments under the HACC program. The Community Visitor Scheme is funded by the Commonwealth Government, Department of Health and Ageing. Respite for Carers Program is funded in partnership with Uniting Care Community Options / National Respite for Carers Program and the Commonwealth Government, Department of Health and Ageing. AMCS accredited and non-accredited courses are funded by the Department of Education and Early Childhood Development.

Australian Multicultural Community Services Inc. Suite 111, 44–56 Hampstead Rd, Maidstone, VIC 3012 P: (03) 9689 9170 F: (03) 9687 7446 E: ABN 69022519263 Inc. no A0048140C

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Amcs annual report 2012 13 online  
Amcs annual report 2012 13 online