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Society A NEWSLETTER FOR SUPPORTERS OF THE ST VINCENT DE PAUL SOCIETY IN VICTORIA

SEPTEMBER 2008

Winter Appeal brings warmth to those in need It is with great pleasure that we report that our Winter Appeal campaign for 2008 has received generous support, which is a welcome relief for our many clients who depend on us in times of need. There has been a marked increase in demand for our services and assistance this year, in line with the increasing pressures felt by many due to economic demand. This winter we utilised an innovative approach for our appeal. Aiming to tell the story of homelessness and need from our clients’ perspectives, we offered clients the opportunity to be involved in the artistic creation of our Winter Appeal campaign. Participating clients were sent disposable cameras and were asked to take photos of their lives. With an emphasis on privacy, these photos were non-identifying to ensure the confidentiality of our clients was maintained. The support of our clients was overwhelming, with most of them only too happy to be able to give back to the Society. In debriefing sessions, our clients reported that they found the experience both empowering and therapeutic, and thoroughly enjoyed being involved in the project. The photos taken by our clients were a confronting and honest picture of the daily life and hardships that they face as they struggle to feed themselves and their families. Jason showed us photos of the derelict house that he uses for shelter.

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Life on the street

Tom showed us photos of his wardrobe and his bed of cardboard boxes under a bridge in one of Melbourne’s parks. Simon showed us pictures of his companion – a pet bird – who he spends his time with, and the Society shelter where he gets a hot meal each day. To date, our Winter Appeal has raised a fantastic $900,000. Thank you for your generous support of our Winter Appeal, which enables us to help people like Cindy, Tom and Simon and the many other clients that we are able to offer our services to.

Did you know? • Australia is now the world leader in unaffordable housing. More than 400,000 Australians spend more than 50 per cent of their total income on housing costs. (Affordable Housing for low income Australians; AHURI Research Paper # 3, Judith Yates & Michelle Gabriel, 2006, pg 3).

• Over 100,000 Australians are homeless. Almost half of these (46,000) are young people under 24 years of age. (Homelessness: A new approach; Australian Government, January 2008, pg 2).

Using the photos taken by our clients for the Winter Appeal, the Society created the “Getting to Know Me” Exhibition which received phenomenal coverage in the local media. We will be utilising other opportunities to show this Exhibition to the public and to educate people about the hardships that many homeless people face. The Getting to Know Me Exhibition can be viewed online at www.vinnies.org.au/gallery.

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Society President’s Message Dear friends of the Society

Victorian State President Jim Grealish

It is with pleasure that I extend a welcome to you in this issue of Society. Last month the Society staff and volunteers were involved in the World Youth Day celebrations. It was heartwarming to experience the joy and exuberance of the pilgrims involved in this momentous occasion, as they passed through Melbourne before joining with the Sydney events with His Holiness, Pope Benedict XVI on his first visit to Australia. We hope that the momentum created by these events will result in continued support of the good works that the Society achieves and an increase in volunteers for the many works that we have. We have numerous exciting ventures planned to support the Society’s good works over the next few months. As a result of the large demand we experience in our Vinnies Centres, we will be launching a new drive for the Spring Racing Carnival to a) generate good quality clothing, accessories and goods; and b) show the youth and public about the fantastic opportunities that there are to create unique outfits for events such as these, at very little cost. As always, please support us by overhauling your

wardrobe and donating recyclable goods to our Centres. Monies raised through our Centres represent approximately half of the Society’s income, and are used to support local communities through the provision of goods and clothing. Monies generated are used to assist those in need with bill payments and other necessities. The recent opening of our new and improved warehouse in Altona enables a far greater capacity to better manage the donations of goods and clothing to our Vinnies Centres, and is a welcome improvement in our Centre operations. With the increased economic pressures felt by families recently with the rise in petrol prices, food costs and interest rates, the Society is experiencing increased demand for assistance by the many people we help. Your continued support of the Society is greatly appreciated and goes a long way to help us to help those in need. With best wishes

Jim Grealish State President

Society’s good works receive fantastic support

CitiPower and Powercor showed its support for the good works of the St Vincent de Paul Society by partly sponsoring the Vinnies Next Generation Concert, held at Federation Square on Thursday 10 July as part of the World Youth Day celebrations. We were very proud to also receive support from media partners radio station Nova 100, Rockit Advertising, and MySpace.com. This high profile event featured

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artists such as Troy Cassar-Daley, Gary Pinto, Cam Tapp, Chasing Bailey, the One-Fire Dance Troupe, the Brolga Boys and international rapping monk from the Bronx, Fr Stan Fortuna. Six to eight thousand pilgrims thoroughly enjoyed the concert, despite Melbourne’s rain and cold weather. The concert provided a fantastic platform for the Society to showcase all the good works that it is involved in and received good media coverage both locally and internationally. Many thanks for the generous support of the sponsors, including Days in the Dioceses 2008, media partners and the team of staff and volunteers who made this ■ event such a success.

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Society Bequest establishes a Reading Club for youth A group of enthusiastic students in grades three to five at St Pius X Primary School in West Heidelberg have been delighted by the establishment of an after-school reading club by the Diamond Valley Region of the St Vincent de Paul Society. Each week, volunteers provide the children in the club with afternoon tea and then settle down on cushions to enjoy a story or poem. The group later breaks up into small groups, often one-on-one, with an adult who helps the child extend their enjoyment of literature. The establishment of the Reading Club was funded through a generous bequest from the late John Potter, which enabled the Society to purchase a laptop and

software, scanner and books. Each week, wonderful volunteers assist the children, all of whom love reading but may particularly benefit from the reading club because of a limited access to books at home or coming from a non-English speaking family. Feedback from the school has been good and it has been gratifying to see how much the children have enjoyed the club. Mr Potter’s bequest has helped change lives in a very positive way and the project is one that the Diamond Valley Region can be very proud of. If you would like information about how to include the St Vincent de Paul Society in your will or have any questions about leaving a bequest

to the Society, please contact Bequest Co-ordinator Sue Pitt on 03 9895 5821 or ■ suep@svdp-vic.org.au.

A young student and volunteer share the joy of reading

Vincentian Village opens

(Back L-R) Senator Jan McLucas, Bishop Christopher Prowse, CEO ACCS Doug Kent and State President Jim Grealish, (Front L-R) Chair ACCS Board of Directors Pamela Macklin and Aboriginal leader Betty Pike celebrate the opening of Vincentian Village

The much-awaited St Vincent de Paul aged care facility, “Vincentian Village”, was opened in Hamlyn Heights, Geelong on 5 September 2008 by the Honourable Jan McLucas. Named after the Patron Saint of Christian charity St Vincent de Paul, Vincentian Village is a welcome home to the 91 residents who have been relocated from Rosalie and Vincentian Houses. At the sod-turning ceremony held on 22 August 2006, two long term residents, Patricia Cahill from Vincentian House and Frank Daffy from Rosalie House, planted two gum trees on the new site, symbolising the merger of the two homes. Residents - including Ms Cahill and Mr Daffy - are enjoying their new home, which is a state of the art facility built at a cost of

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$14 million. The new home incorporates numerous environmentally sustainable initiatives, including rain water harvesting to supply garden, toilet and laundry needs; water-wise landscaping; low energy-use appliances; and thermal massing techniques to help maintain a comfortable internal temperature for the residents. Senator McLucas, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Health and Ageing, represented the Honourable Justine Elliot MP, Minister for Ageing. Senator McLucas officially opened the facility in the company of the donors, residents and their families, and members, volunteers and staff of the St Vincent de Paul Society. Bishop Christopher Prowse performed a blessing of the facility.

“We are thrilled to be able to provide this outstanding facility for our residents” stated General Manager Aged Care, Claire Schmierer. Funding for Vincentian Village was received from numerous donors, including: Alliance Wealth Management, Angior Family Foundation, Crowley Family, Danks Trust, David O’Brien Family Trust, Geelong Community Foundation, Geelong St Patrick’s Race Club, Gerard Consedine, Helen Macpherson Smith Trust, Honda Foundation, Howard Glover Trust, IOOF Foundation, Ian Rollo Currie Estate Foundation, Isobel Hill Brown Charitable Trust, Jack Brockhoff Foundation, John William Fleming Trust, Kathleen Miller, Kevin Shannon, Lions Club of Hamlyn Heights, Lynne Quayle Charitable Trust, Marian & E H Flack Trust, Percy Baxter Charitable Trust, Rays Outdoors, The Scobie & Claire Mackinnon Trust, and St Bernard’s Parish and Trust as trustee for Fred P Archer Charitable Trust. The Dawn Wade Foundation funded the sensory garden, which has been specially designed to alleviate symptoms of dementia. Thank you to all of our donors and supporters who contributed $810,000 for furniture and fittings for the new facility. ■

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Society Spring into action for Vinnies Centres!

Race into Vinnies for Spring Fashions

Every year the average Australian woman under 30 years buys a whopping 102 articles of clothing.1 The trend of “Fast Fashion” – buying clothes for a season, and then throwing them away - is in stark contrast to the environmentally-responsible living that we need to embrace. The good news is that there are people doing something about it. Vinnies Centres promote the recycling of clothing and other goods, which reduces the quantity of product sent to landfill each year. • Vinnies receives over 2.5 million kgs of donated clothing and textiles annually in its Melbourne warehouse alone. • Much of this is sold through our 100 Vinnies Centres.

Much of the Society’s work is carried out through its voluntary members who visit people in their own homes and provide material assistance, support and friendship to people in need. The Society relies on the generosity of the public and the dedication of its volunteers to carry out its good works. St Vincent de Paul Society is the parent company of St Vincent de Paul Aged Care & Community Services and has representation on their board of directors. ■

• Waste product is turned into industrial rags and carpet underlay. • Clothing and goods donated to your local Vinnies Centre is given to people in need who come to the Society for help. • Sales of donated items through Vinnies Centres generate an income for the Society, which is reinvested into the community in which the Centre is based. A new company in Melbourne, Wardrobe Wishes, has taken this concept to heart, helping clients to declutter their wardrobes. We are very excited that Wardrobe Wishes has chosen to partner with the Society, supplying our Vinnies Centres with all the hardly worn, but good quality clothes and other items from their clients’ wardrobes. This year the Society will be doing a major push showing off the fabulous items we have available for the Spring Racing Carnival. We have many shoppers who are looking for fresh outfits and accessories for this time of year. Please take the time to overhaul your wardrobe and donate any unwanted quality items to your local Vinnies Centre for recycling. For more information about donating quality goods to your local Vinnies Centre please call 13 18 12 or see vinnies.org.au/vic. ■ 1

(“The incredibly brief life of fast fashion”, Sunday Age Supplements, 29 June 2008, Rachel Wells, Page 1)

This arm of the Society was established in 2003 to provide professional services in the complex areas of: aged care, homelessness, outreach services, domestic violence support, drug and alcohol rehabilitation, health services and supported-employment options. The majority of programs receive some government funding, however donations are always needed to provide services over and above the government funded level. ■

Major boost for drought relief In the Goulburn Valley St Vincent de Paul Society volunteers regularly pack general hampers for distribution to local families needing assistance. Thanks to a sponsorship package to the Society by Metricon Homes, 1,600 of these hampers will be distributed in the region this year. While it is rainy and miserable this winter, it is hard to remember that our farmers continue to experience extreme hardship caused by ongoing drought in the region. Metricon Homes have provided a $100,000 donation to the Society’s drought relief program. These monies will be used to help farming families with ongoing food hampers and assistance with Christmas goodies and back to school costs. Financed by Metricon Homes sales in the Echuca and Shepparton regions, the hampers are valued at around $150 each and are distributed ■ monthly by Society volunteers.

Metricon Homes’ Natalie Heath (far left) and Tania Moyle (far right) and volunteers preparing hampers for families in need

Vinnies Centres are the retail arm of the St Vincent de Paul Society and are the major source of income for the Society’s good works. Vinnies Centres provide furniture, clothing and household goods to families in need. The remainder of donated goods are sold and the funds from sales are used to help fund the work of the Society. There are currently 98 Vinnies Centres in Victoria. ■

Contact: 43 Prospect St, Box Hill, Victoria, 3128. Phone: (03) 9895 5800 Fax: (03) 9895 5850 E-mail: info@svdp-vic.org.au

For credit card donations visit www.vinnies.org.au/vic or call 131812 SVDP VIC 0000 Society SEP.indd 4

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Society - September 2008