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VCOSS Congress 2011 ‘Cause not consequence’ Stella Avramopoulos

Kildonan UnitingCare Aug 2011


2009 Victorian Bushfire response • Immediate response and Strategy required • 65% of the agency involved • 40% increase in staffing • Multiple services required • Multiple coordination and liaison points required


Community context •  Need for safe, calm spaces and health issues •  Displacement of community members •  Recognition of wide diversity across communities including; experiences, situations, needs, wishes, plans and recovery trajectories •  Responses from local people and services from the area with ongoing connections •  Tensions between need for community ownership of response and waves of new services and people also needed


Driving operational principles •  Service strategy: holistic, proactive, flexible, and respectful: “We will walk the journey with people” •  Sustainability of the community a priority •  Direct feedback/communication about community’s needs to drive response •  Range of integrated services that may change •  Staffing strategy: engaged people, right attributes and skills


Community capacity and support •  Building capacity of community members –  Support and access to information and resources –  Working behind the scenes to provide resources, infrastructure –  Training and employment opportunities

•  Community participation and leadership –  Encouraging a range of small projects with fail safe approaches –  Strategies and supports for fatigue –  Bringing community groups together through social functions, eg Community dinner program, Men’s Group –  Community Peer Support Program


Community capacity and support •  Integration of community development, case work and specialist services –  “Tag team at the trestle table”

•  Proactive outreach to engage people –  metro and rural

•  Identifying community representatives –  Who gets to speak for the community? –  Who can rightfully speak for the community? –  How can most vulnerable have a voice?


Summary of key elements •  Empowerment & Self-determination •  Adaptive, responsive action learning model •  Effective Outreach •  Integrated ‘Care Team’ Service Approach •  Relationships & Collaborations •  Information & Communication •  Internal Staff Support •  Planning and training for the Long Term


VCOSS Congress 2011 - Stella Avrampolous' Presentation