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GWP M a g a z i n e

Nov/Dec 2007

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BUSINESS Resource&Lifestyle

IT TAKES MORE THAN MONEY

MARK TAYLOR

Christmas Message from an Aussie Icon

Recognising good people for great performance

CUSTOMER FOCUS Are Your Customers Shopping Around?


GREAT AUSTRALIAN BUSINESS PEOPLE

MATESHIP AND CORPORATE RESPONSIBILITY: HOW BUSINESS CAN MAKE A DIFFERENCE by Larry Woldenberg

THE GREAT PARADOX OF MODERN LIVING IS HOW OUR WEALTH CAN KEEP GROWING WHILE AT THE SAME TIME THERE ARE MORE AND MORE PEOPLE BEING MARGINALISED — THE MENTALLY ILL, THE PHYSICALLY AND SEXUALLY ABUSED, THE HOMELESS, AND THOSE CAUGHT IN ADDICTION CYCLES INCLUDING GAMBLING, ALCOHOL AND DRUGS. ONE OUTSTANDING AUSTRALIAN ICON IN THE FIELD OF SERVICE TO THOSE DWELLING ON THE FRINGE IS PARRAMATTA MISSION. WHAT BEGAN IN 1817 WITH A FEW PARISHIONERS IN THE MEETING ROOM OF A METHODIST CHURCH IN PARRAMATTA HAS SINCE MUSHROOMED INTO AN INSTITUTION WITH OVER 15 MAJOR SERVICE ARMS RANGING FROM LIFELINE TO MEALS PLUS. IT NOW HAS AN ANNUAL BUDGET IN EXCESS OF $9,000,000 OF WHICH ONLY 50 PER CENT IS GOVERNMENT SUBSIDISED.

Parramatta Mission as we know it was only formally acknowledged as an entity in 1969. In the early 1970s the Mission was simply a coffee shop that ministered to the poor. But the demand for counselling was so great that Lifeline Parramatta was established. This service provides both face-to-face counselling and a crisis telephone line. Today it fields over 14,000 calls a year and assists over 220 people per month with faceto-face counselling. By the early 1990s mental health accommodation programs were developed to support sufferers of mental illness and their carers. Today, over 63 homeless men

are given a room each night along with over 30 women and children. Meanwhile, over 26 teenagers are provided crisis accommodation as well. All told, the Mission now employs over 130 staff and counting. The need is so great that there never seems to be enough help at hand. For this issue, Business and Resource Lifestyle catches up with the Aussie cricket icon Mark Taylor to explore Corporate Responsibility and the principle of Mateship and how the two can interact to make a real difference in the lives of those needing assistance.

Since 1997 Mark has been a principal Patron of the Parramatta Mission, replacing the equally well-known Rugby Union icon Nick Farr-Jones. For those who may not follow sport, Mark was the Captain of the Australian Cricket Team from 1994 to 1999. Two of his greatest achievements are scoring 334 runs in one innings against Pakistan in 1998 to equal Sir Donald Bradman’s record score and being honoured as Australian of the Year in 1999. Born in Leeton, Mark learned most of his sport in Wagga Wagga where he played AFL for nine years. But cricket was his first love, having played it from the age of six. He

Nov/Dec, 2007 GWP Magazine

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came to Sydney at the age of 15 becoming a student at Chatswood High School and played Aussie Rules for Parramatta before earning his Baggy Green. Currently he resides with his family in Gladesville and is the corporate face of Fujitsu while working as a Cricket Commentator for Channel Nine. We asked Mark how he came to be associated with the Parramatta Mission. “To be honest, I knew nothing about the Mission until I got a telephone call from Nick Farr-Jones in 1997. Nick had commitments to attend to in France, so he wanted to know if I would be available to take his place as Patron of the Mission. It sounded interesting, so I came down to visit what is today known as the Meals Plus program that serves over 55,000 meals each year to the homeless and those in need. “I had a hearty roast with peas and mashed potatoes and found the people appreciative and sociable. One bloke even rolled up a sock and practiced his cricket delivery repertoire including his fastball, leg spinner, off spinner and wrong-un! “Now every year my own boys, who are 13 and 15 years old, come down every so often

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Nov/Dec, 2007 GWP Magazine

and help to prepare and serve meals in the kitchen. I wish every teenager had a chance to do this. It’s a real eye opener. When the Mission Superintendent asked my son William ‘What did you think of the people?’ he answered: ‘Oh, they’re normal enough.’

get out of the particular bad cycles in which they were involved. They weren’t bad kids! In fact I found them to be good value to spend time with.

“‘And how many do you think have a mental illness?’ the man asked.

“But the seriousness of their situation was driven home to me when I asked one young girl where she would be without Koompartoo (a medium term supported accommodation program for young people)? Her answer: ‘Oh, probably dead.’

“‘Oh, not many,’ came the answer. To which the Superintendent replied: ‘Try around 75

“It feels, in fact, like most of them miss out on childhood, going straight to adulthood.

per cent!’ Lessons like this you just don’t get in normal suburban living,” Mark added. Now Mark makes a point of regularly visiting the different programs run by the Mission. He was particularly impressed by both the youth and staff he met during a recent visit to Parrahouse, a crisis refuge for teenagers aged 14-18. Here young people who can’t stay at home get full time support and counselling in matters like mental health, addiction and relationships.

“In many instances the parents are affected by drugs. It’s like these kids are perched on a fulcrum that can go either way. The goal of the program is to get them back into school as quickly as possible; otherwise a bad pattern is set in place. They are smart kids who will either be a future benefit to society or fall off the rails. It’s a crucial time in their lives and it’s great that Parramatta Mission is there to get them off the street and back on track.

Mark recently spent 1 ½ hours with the Parrahouse staff and young adults discussing their circumstances. “I found the vast majority just needed an opportunity to

“And I have the utmost respect for the staff who are on call 24/7. The love they pour into these teenagers, the 2 am phone calls, all the rushing around here, there


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and everywhere. It’s so stressful from the outside. I don’t know how they do it, but I do know they are totally dedicated to these kids and need all the support they can get — something, as a parent, I totally appreciate! “There are real success stories like one of the kids who was a resident of Parrahouse and went on to achieve success in a Miss World event. But there are also the failures and the welfare area can be very stressful. Clients can be abusive and the re-occurring nature of setbacks is a constant concern. Their patience and persistence is

Youth Programs. We raised nearly $50,000. I even encouraged Fujitsu to donate two plasma TVs. “Finally, there’s the Mateship aspect — doing something out of love for my fellow man and the Community at large. I’ve always felt an association with Parramatta and Sydney’s west where I played sport as a youth. I know the people in the streets could just have easily been in my place and I in theirs. It’s just a matter of circumstance, a roll of the dice. The people we aim to help are not that dissimilar from the rest of us.

inspirational! “Mission programs like the Thelma Brown Cottage which accommodates women and their children who are fleeing from violence are always full. When we asked Mark how he personally benefited from his involvement, he answered: “Three things. Firstly, I come from a loving family environment with no real contact with life on the streets. My involvement has opened my eyes to the real problems out there. Next is the selfsatisfaction from feeling I’m doing something good with my life. For instance, this year I hosted an Auction Night for the Mission’s

“I would like to encourage everyone in the corporate world to just become more aware of what’s happening. I feel that they will then naturally want to become involved. Whether you do something big or small — every little bit makes a difference. Something I love to see is the former clients helping to serve and encourage others — like the beauty contestant.

“Mark Taylor’s high profile and generous spirit have greatly assisted in transforming Parramatta Mission into a major regional provider of community services. We now enjoy outstanding support from some of the Region’s largest businesses as well as many of the smallest. All these relationships are important to us and can lead to tremendous win-win synergies. More and more I’m finding that Business Owners and Chief Executives are impressed by the outcomes focus of our transforming work with people in need. Our strong strategic partnerships with the Parramatta Chamber of Commerce,

Mark’s mentor in the Mission is David Osborne, the Manager of Resource Development. It was through David that the above meeting with Business Resource and Lifestyle was arranged. So we asked David to amplify on Mark’s comments. Nov/Dec, 2007 GWP Magazine

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Hills Chamber of Commerce and Western Sydney Business Connection are highly valued and at the heart of our business development strategy.

Meals Plus: Serves breakfast and lunch to the homeless five days a week

“Mateship is synonymous in Australia with a sense of shared experience, mutual respect and unconditional assistance, which is why we’ve branded our regular giving program MissionMate.

while putting those attending in touch with various counselling and support

“Contrary to popular opinion, I generally find business people have a kind heart and really do care about those in need. More often than not they want to be part of the solution.

Youth Services: Crisis accommodation for teenagers without a home to go to

“Christmas is fast approaching. The expectations of Christmas bring extra stress to the disadvantaged and the disenfranchised feel even more alone. The demand for food parcels and financial assistance goes up every year around this time, so we would greatly appreciate your support for our Christmas Appeal. “I’ve also included an overview of our services with this article. Anyone wishing to volunteer financial assistance, food or goods, or their time can call us on 9891 2277 or visit parramattamission.org.au for more information on how to get involved.” 

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WHO IS PARRAMATTA MISSION?

Nov/Dec, 2007 GWP Magazine

services. Thelma Brown Cottage: Provides accommodation for women and children fleeing violence while offering support and skills mentoring.

or who are fleeing abuse (Parrahouse). Also, medium-term service to impart the knowledge to live independently (Koompartoo). Hope Hostel: A refuge for homeless men over the age of 18 which provides support and counselling. The Community Visitors Scheme: Offers social contact to nursing home residents without family or friends. UnitingCare Mental Health: Specialised services for those living with a mental illness including housing, a Leisure Club, and support for families and carers. Lifeline Western Sydney: A 24 hour telephone crisis counselling centre plus face-to-face counselling and contact calls to isolated and disabled members of the community. Worship and Pastoral Care: Offers a spiritual refuge for those seeking solace.


Mateship and Corporate Responsibility: Mark Taylor