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Spirit A N E W S L E T T E R F R O M T H E S T V I N C E N T D E P A U L S O C I E T Y ( W A ) I n c . march 2 0 1 0

State President’s Message - March 2010


elcome to our first edition of The Spirit newsletter for 2010. It’s hard to believe the busy start to the year we have had – calls to our Call Centre have doubled compared to this time last year and our volunteers and staff are busier than ever trying to meet the demand for the delivery of Emergency Relief (ER) assistance. Our core delivery of ER is through Home Visitation – every week across WA the Society’s 900 members are out in their local communities visiting individuals and families in need. This delivery model is unique to the St Vincent de Paul Society and has not changed in over 144 years and remains at the very core of the Society’s mission. The process is a very personal and dignified way to offer someone support and upholds the ethos of offering hope, comfort and dignity while providing a hand up, not a hand out. When invited into a home to visit someone in need, you never know what you will find. Increasingly our members are finding households crippled by ever increasing living costs struggling to meet the demands of utilities, rent, school and

health expenses and the Society is under more pressure than ever to adequately respond to this need in the community. A Home Visit is an overall holistic approach and our members offer assistance in many different ways. Whether it be immediate assistance with emergency household items and/or vital information and advice to assist the individual or family further. In some cases the household may need advocacy to amend outstanding bills or our members may assist with referrals to other services such as financial counselling. The aim is to provide immediate comfort and support while helping the household to get back on track. In 2010 we will continue to work hard to engage volunteers and seek the support of the community financially to allow us to respond to every genuine call for help we receive and meet the increasing demands on our services. Thank you for your ongoing support.

Clément Astruc State President St Vincent de Paul Society (WA) Inc.

Together We Helped Complete Their Christmas


he St Vincent de Paul Society Christmas Appeal for 2009 was officially launched on Sunday 1 November in conjunction with the ‘Welcome to Western Australia’ picnic. The bi-annual picnics held at Carine Open Space are run jointly by the Society’s Refugee & Migrant Support Committee and the Christian Brothers. The picnics aim to provide newly arrived families assisted by the program with a chance to meet, share experiences and make new friends while enjoying a BBQ lunch and games for the children. The launch was attended by the Society’s State President Clément Astruc, Hon. Tony Krsticevic MLA, Father Brian Russell, guests of the Society, members and volunteers, over 50 students from Sacred Heart College and approximately 120 newly arrived refugees. The Society welcomed the opportunity to highlight the important work of the Refugee and Migrant Support Program at the launch which includes the provision of food, household goods, furniture and emergency relief clothing, assistance with travel arrangements, advocacy and friendship. Notably this Special Work is carried out by a dedicated and selfless team of volunteers. The 2009 Christmas Appeal focused on the theme ‘Help Complete Their Christmas’. For many living in disadvantage Christmas time can mean missing out on the Christmas tradition of giving and receiving gifts, and sharing family celebrations with all the festive trimmings. Thanks to the generosity of the West Australian community, the 2009 Christmas Appeal was able to reach its target with over



The Spirit


March 2010

$620,000 raised. All funds raised through the Christmas Appeal will assist the Society in meeting welfare needs up until the 2010 Winter Appeal which begins in May. The Society would like to acknowledge the generous efforts of the following corporate supporters - Burswood Entertainment Complex, St John of God Hospital Subiaco, Austral Pool Solutions and Harbourtown. The St Vincent de Paul Society would like to sincerely thank its loyal donors, the many corporate and community supporters, and the humble members and volunteers who helped put the ‘Merry’ back into Christmas for individuals and families in need.

Fast Facts....

in the amount here was a 59% increase » T ropolitan Call Met of client calls to the ember 2009 Dec and Centre in November in 2008. ths mon e sam the compared to contacted The majority of clients who »  in the tre Cen l Cal tan oli the Metrop e Parents. last financial year were Sol

Meet The Society’s New CEO

Introducing Mr John Bouffler


he St Vincent de Paul Society announces and welcomes John Bouffler as its new Chief Executive Officer. John commenced with the Society on 1 February 2010 after previously holding a senior management role with National Australia Bank. John has lived and worked in Sydney, Rabaul (PNG), New York and Frankfurt and comes to the Society qualified with a Bachelor of Economics, a Graduate Diploma in Applied Finance and as a Graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors as well as over 20 years in the banking and finance sector. As not-for-profits become more ‘business like’ in their operations due to increasing demands on them to meet the challenge of sustainability in the increasingly competitive not-for-profit sector, and compliance in areas such as OHS, Risk and Funding and Finance regulations; it is John’s skills and experiences in these areas that will most benefit the Society. John will ensure the Society meets its obligations to the people it assists, its donors and members, volunteers and staff who are involved in the delivery of services. John’s vision is to continue to grow support services to enable the Society to reach out to more people and through effective communication, policy development and strategic planning, John aims to develop ongoing and beneficial relationships with the people the Society assists, its donors, the government, media, the corporate and community sector as well as the dedicated members, volunteers and staff. As well as clear vision for the Society’s future, John also brings with him a long involvement in the community sector through volunteering and a passion to make a difference to the lives of others. In 1981, John spent 12 months in Papua New Guinea as a lay missionary working at a high school and managing a plantation; he has been on the board of Camp Quality and still remains a volunteer Lifeline telephone counsellor and mentor after 16 years of service. John is also active within his children’s school community through participation on school boards at John XXIII and St Thomas’ in Claremont.

Spirit “The Society is tr uly grateful for the generosity and continued support of our loya l donors and volunteers.”

“I have a long held desire to assist people. I have been actively involved in community services for over 30 years which has provided me with the opportunity to combine my professional skills with my passion for helping people in need.” “I feel as a state, Western Australia is extremely fortunate to have an abundance of natural resources, sound infrastructure, a strong and growing economy and stable government systems. However there are many in our community who struggle with high costs of living, health issues and unemployment. This results in a continued demand for the Society’s services to provide support, friendship and advocacy.” John is acutely aware of the challenges ahead in terms of ensuring that the services provided by the Society continue to meet the needs of the community, gaining support and funding from the community and continuing to engage volunteers to assist in the delivery of this work. “The Society is truly grateful for the generosity and continued support of our loyal donors and volunteers. Throughout 2010 we must remain focused and prepared and as more people turn to the Society for help in their time of need, we will need the Western Australian community to stand strong with us as it always has.” Along with his pragmatic approach to the job ahead, John has shared his excitement of taking on the role of operationally leading the St Vincent de Paul Society in this state and acknowledges its 144 year history as one of Western Australia’s most respected charities. He looks forward to being a part of that history and through his role as CEO being able to make a direct impact on the delivery of services to the disadvantaged. “The Society‘s history of helping the marginalised and disadvantaged is well known in WA and I am excited by the opportunity that lies ahead of me. This is a time in my life where I can put more back into the community and is a chance to work alongside a dedicated team of members, volunteers and staff who are focused on improving the plight of poverty and social injustices in our community.”

We wish John well in his new role!

101 WA schools participated in the 2009 Christmas Appeal

2010 in Focus


n the last financial year, the St Vincent de Paul Society in Western Austral ia reached out to over 175,000 people through Home Visitation and Special Works offering hope, dignity and friendship at times when it was needed most.

The Society relies greatly on the generosity of the Western Australi

an community to support and continue its services. With an already increased demand for the Society’s services evident this year, the Society is preparing for the months ahead as we lead into our Winter Appeal and many already living below the poverty line spiral further into disadvantage due to high costs of living, unemployment, family breakdown or isolation. Without the support from the public, essential services such as Home Visitation, Passages Resource Centre, Vincentcare, Vinnies Retail Centres and Vinnies Youth would not be able to positively impact on the lives of many people in their time of need. On behalf of the St Vincent de Paul Society and the people we assist, please know that your compassion and generosity is appreciated by many. We hope you enjoy reading about the services the St Vincent de Paul Society have been able to provide and the many exciting initiatives that are planned for the year ahead.

E3 Program – Empower, Engage, Encounter Passages Resource Centre, a joint venture between the Society and the Rotary Club of Perth, is not only a welcome respite for Perth’s street present youth to obtain vital everyday necessities like bathroom, laundry and kitchen facilities, it is also an opportunity for disadvantaged young people to participate in a program such as E3, taking the first steps towards changing their lives for the better. E3 is a practical three phase program that aims to empower, engage and encounter youth by providing them with skills and qualifications that will help raise their employability, increase their life skills and provide an awareness of how volunteering impacts the world in a positive way. In November 2009, three Passages clients qualified to participate in phase two of the Program which involved a national week long project working alongside Conservation Volunteers Australia (CVA). On this particular occasion, phase two consisted of a 10 day remote project at 80 Mile Beach in Broome where participants were involved in nest and track counts of Flat Back Turtles, feral animal track identification and marine debris surveys. On the completion of this particular phase, participants qualify for a Certificate in Active Volunteering. Shaun was part of the project and says that when he found out he was accepted to go to Broome he was ecstatic. “When I first accessed Passages about eight months ago, I was living in my car, drug dependent and depressed. Passages helped me out with heaps of stuff and it is a good place for support, they even helped me find a place now. Passages and the E3 Program have given me opportunities and support to make me believe that I can make it happen. Being able to accomplish something like the trip to Broome, has given me self esteem to continue to move forward.” Shaun has since been offered a job with an indigenous community in Chilli Creek doing gardening and community up keep. The E3 Program continues to give street present youth hope for a brighter future and throughout 2010 will offer clients monthly day projects as well as the possibility of another 10 day project working alongside CVA.

Emergency Relief Assistance for 144 Years With Western Australian rental prices tipped to increase by 11% in 2010, the need for support services run by the St Vincent de Paul Society is also certain to rise. The Metropolitan Call Centre is already seeing a demand for welfare with calls for assistance in January 2010 growing by 35% from the same month in 2009. And as Western Australia picks itself up from the slumping global market another resources boom is in sight, meaning the burdening rift between the ‘have’s and the have not’s’ will also impact on the Society’s services. 4


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The Society’s volunteers, known as members, form small parish based groups called ‘Conferences’. Conference members deliver the core work of the Society - Home Visitation, which involves visiting people in their homes to provide an immediate lifeline through assistance with food, clothing, bedding, utility bills and advocacy issues as well as offering friendship and support. As they have since 1865, Western Australian ‘Conferences’ will continue to provide welfare assistance to the marginalised and disadvantaged through Home Visitation in 2010. The St Vincent de Paul Society relies greatly on the generosity of the community, not only is the need for financial donations at the forefront for the Society’s challenge ahead, but just as important is the need for more volunteers to carry out our work and keep our services running.


A View to the Year Ahead Support and Self Respect - Vincentcare Vincentcare continues to be a vital service in the West Australian community since the first Vincentcare house officially opened in 1996. The service has established itself as one of WA’s most respected mental health and homeless service providers with six share houses, two independent living complexes and a Village/Hostel of supported accommodation for 28 people. Vincentcare plans to expand throughout 2010 by providing more facilities and accommodation options to assist more people who are experiencing homelessness and/ or are living with mental illness.

Affordable Shopping in Comfort Vinnies Retail Centres are constantly evolving and 2010 is no different with many exciting projects planned for the year ahead. To date, the Centres team have upgraded 29 Centres with new signage, layouts, flooring, sorting areas and new fixtures to show an even better range and choice for our customers. These renovations all help to make Vinnies Retail Centres exciting places to visit while also ensuring a safe and pleasant environment for the dedicated volunteers who spend many hours giving of their precious time. The first project completed for the year was the upgrade of Vinnies South Hedland which provides a great deal of material aid to the indigenous communities in that area. March saw the re-opening of Vinnies Heathridge following a full upgrade. Vinnies Girrawheen and Claremont will be the next two Centres on the agenda to be provided with a face lift. Vinnies Centres are an integral part of the West Australian community, they engage 1,500 volunteers across WA. Last year saw 900,000 customers pass through Vinnies doors. The Centres also directly provided over $200,000 in welfare assistance plus generated vital revenue to support the Society’s Special Works.

Summer Time Fun on Vinnies Youth Camps The January school holidays are often a time when parents and guardians experiencing financial disadvantage struggle to provide children with recreational activities – but through the Camps program run by Vinnies Youth many children this year were able to share in experiences that offered them friendship, mentoring, development opportunities and just as important FUN! Children attending Vinnies Youth Camps are referred to the Youth Department by schools and other agencies such as the Department of Child Protection and by conference members who have come in contact with families while conducting Home Visitations. Conference members identify that either the child/children would benefit from the activities and supportive environment provided on camp or that the parents or guardians of the child/children may be in need of respite. The first Kids Camp for 2010 was held from 12 – 15 January at Forest Edge in Waroona. Over 40 kids aged between 8 to 12 years, 16 leaders and three staff attended the camp enjoying activities including raft building, horse riding and a skit night.

One week later 11 teens, five leaders and three staff boarded two 12 seater buses and made the seven hour journey to Kalbarri. Teen Camp was held from 20 - 23 January with teens aged 13 to 15 years participating in activities such as Pelican feeding, canoeing, fort building, sandboarding and a trip to the outdoor cinema. All the activities on camp offer the children and teens the opportunity to develop their confidence and communication skills. The opportunity to participate in camps and go on a ‘holiday’ is something many of the youth have rarely experienced in their lives and firm friendships are formed within the groups. Through the support of donations of food to the Society over Christmas the Vinnies Youth team was able to provide nutritional meals on the camps. The Vinnies Youth Support program will continue to provide recreational and educational opportunities for disadvantaged children in 2010 with a weekly Homework Centre, monthly Buddy Days, school holiday Camps and a September Roadshow to Mullewa tentatively scheduled for the children in and around the Mullewa district, six hours northeast of Perth.

1,500 hampers were distributed from Ozanam House to people in need at Christmas

Vinnies CEO Sleepout June 17, 2010

Rise To The Challenge


ill you rise to the challenge on Thursday June 17, 2010 and sleep out for one night to gain an understanding of the plight of our state’s homeless? The St Vincent de Paul Society is calling on Western Australia’s business and community leaders to register for the 2010 ‘Vinnies CEO Sleepout’ to raise vital funds and build awareness about the serious issue of homelessness on behalf of the disadvantaged. The event will be held on the same day in every state and territory in Australia and aims to raise $1.5 million nationally to support current services and develop new responses to the growing and changing needs of the homeless. The Australian Bureau of Statistics, using figures from the 2006 census – “Counting the Homeless”, puts the number of homeless in Australia at just over 100,000. But as the nature of the demographic means it is virtually impossible to measure, we have no doubt the figure is significantly higher.

Register now

In WA there are close to 14,000 people homeless every night, and while Western Australia has recorded unprecedented growth in recent years, it also has one of the fastest growing incidences of homelessness nationally.

Together, we can make a difference The CEO Sleepout allows the business community to experience firsthand, for just one night, what it is like to be homeless and be an integral part in a national action to influence policy and decision makers on tackling the issues surrounding homelessness.

If you think you have what it takes to join with the rest of Australia and make a stand on Thursday June 17, 2010 for homelessness then register today. Log on to www.ceosleepout. and fill in the registration form. The website has many handy resources along with everything you need to know about the event. Those who register will receive regular updates in the lead-up to the event and will have their own fundraising page to encourage colleagues, family and friends to get behind their involvement and donate. All other enquiries about the Vinnies CEO Sleepout can be directed to Anne Smith on (08) 9475 5414 or on email

Homelessness is not someone else’s problem, it’s everybody’s problem and charities like the St Vincent de Paul Society realise the magnitude of overcoming it and that’s why the Society needs the support of Government, the community and businesses to tackle this problem head on. This event is not just a fundraising initiative or a symbolic gesture; it is also about upholding the very foundation on which the St Vincent de Paul Society is built – to advocate for the poor. The CEO Sleepout will give the St Vincent de Paul Society a loud national voice on issues relating to homelessness with the ultimate aim of change across Australia. This event can play a major role in shifting policy, perceptions and breaking down stereotypes.

How to register 6


The Spirit

| March 2010

Nominate your CEO Did you know you can nominate your CEO, business or community leader to participate in the Vinnies CEO Sleepout? Simply register at, and we’ll contact them about being involved.

CEO Sleepout NSW 2009


Paving The Way For National Awareness


he St Vincent de Paul Society of NSW held the Vinnies CEO Sleepout in 2009 and put the event on the national airwaves. It was held on June 18, 2009 at Luna Park and set out to attract 100 CEOs, raise $250,000 and promote vital awareness and understanding of the issue of homelessness. The event surpassed expectations across the board and attracted a number of targeted event ambassadors including Dick Smith, Minister Linda Burney (pictured right) and John Latham from Pfizer and event sponsors and participants including Real Estate Institute of NSW, Fairfax Media, AMP and Qantas. In addition to this, the event attracted 220 CEOs, raised $620,000 from over 5,000 individual and corporate donations and received unprecedented media coverage in over 100 mediums across Australia, New Zealand and overseas both in mainstream media and through new social media channels such as Twitter, YouTube and Facebook. With the help of the WA community, the St Vincent de Paul Society can reach similar heights and make this state recognised nationally as one who cares most about the plight of the less fortunate.

of diary video e h t m ts fro Excerp mberlain – SW ha ions N Tony C onnect C g n i Stag CEO of 2009

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Food and assistance with utility bills are currently the most commonly requested welfare service

In Short Quick News ble Annual Reports Availa tern Australian l Society 2009 Wes The St Vincent de Pau ort are 9 National Annual Rep Annual Report and 200 a copy of would like to receive now available. If you on ce ase call our offi these publications, ple il ema (08) 9475 5400 or

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Free Wills Booklet

‘Love in Action’ - a simple guide to Wills and Bequests is an informative handbook available from the St Vincent de Paul Society. The booklet provides information on legal issues when writing a Will, the types of Bequests and provides an opportunity for people to leave a gift to the Society and to join the Tom Perrott Friends Forever Club.

Autumn Racing To Support Passages Resource Centre The annual Perth Rotary and St Vincent de Paul Society Race Day in support of Passages Resource Centre will be held on Saturday May 22 at Belmont Race Course. The event is a great way to treat staff to a successful start to the year and/or network with other businesses across Perth while enjoying an afternoon at the races. All proceeds raised from the Race Day go directly towards supporting the young people who rely daily on the Passages Resource Centre by enabling them to access services offered such as kitchen, bathroom and laundry facilities, informal counselling, information and development workshops as well as access to legal and medical advice. Donations of items to support this year’s fundraising efforts would be greatly appreciated and will ensure the 2010 Race Day is another success. For further information on the Race Day, to book your table or to donate items for the auctions please contact Anne Smith on (08) 9475 5414 or Contact Information ‘The Spirit’ is produced by: The Public Relations and Fundraising Department, St Vincent de Paul Society WA. Copyright 2010. Because we respect the privacy of the people we support, names in this newsletter have been changed, stories summarised and adapted and pictorial models used. All correspondence can be sent to: Communications Coordinator, Public Relations and Fundraising St Vincent de Paul Society WA, PO BOX 473, Belmont, WA 6984 Email: 8


The Spirit


March 2010


The Tom Perrott Friends Forever Club consists of a special group of people who have selected the Society as the recipient of their Bequest and is our way of honouring our benefactors for their generosity during their lifetime.

To receive a copy of the ‘Love in Action’ booklet, contact Anne Smith on (08) 9475 5414 or email

A Warm Welcome The St Vincent de Paul Society welcomes Christine Ringrow to the new role of Volunteer Coordinator. This important role is responsible for the successful and innovative recruitment, retention and recognition processes for the Society. If you would like to know more about volunteer opportunities at the St Vincent de Paul Society, please call Christine on (08) 9475 5491. In October 2009 the Society welcomed Yvonne Pallier as the new Vincentcare Manager. Yvonne has tertiary qualifications in Sociology and honours in Psychology, and has a career in health and psychiatric services of 25 years. Yvonne is focused on staff training in mental health and building on the first - class model of care that is already in place at Vincentcare.