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St Vincent de Paul Society Victoria Inc.

Newsletter 244 March-April 2010

Vinnies CEO Sleepout Can you imagine sleeping rough on one of the coldest nights of the year? For 105,000 Australian men, women and children, it’s hard to imagine anything different. This year, on Thursday 17 June, the first national Vinnies CEO Sleepout event will take place in all mainland capital cities around Australia. CEOs from both Victoria and Tasmania will be sleeping out at Etihad Stadium, armed with only a beanie, a sleeping bag, a sheet of cardboard, soup, bread roll and a hot drink. The CEOs are sponsored for the night, to raise much Vinnies CEO Sleepout Ambassador, Jane Nathan with Ozanam Community Centre needed funds to help Australia's homevolunteer Allan Martin. Allan was one of the speakers at the 2010 Vinnies CEO less and it is hoped that the national Sleepout launch where he shared his story of once being homeless. event this year will raise over $1 million. The first two CEOs to sign up for the Melbourne event were Brian Dalton, CEO of the St Vincent de Paul Society Victoria Inc. and John Blewonski, CEO of VincentCare Victoria*. CEOs are being invited to sleep out in order to raise awareness and money in support of Vinnies' work with the homeless. The idea behind the Vinnies CEO Sleepout was to give business and community leaders a real opportunity to rise to the challenge of tackling homelessness, by allowing them to experience it for themselves for one night. To show your support for our CEOs or to obtain more information about the 2010 Vinnies CEO Sleepout, log onto and click through to the Melbourne page. Alternatively, if you know anyone who might be interested and suitable to take part in this year’s Vinnies CEO Sleepout, direct them to the website to sign up! The more CEOs that participate, the more Vinnies can assist people out of homelessness into stable accommodation. *See Pg 3 for more on the formal name change of St Vincent de Paul Aged Care & Community Services.

Help support my 2010 Vinnies CEO Sleepout campaign by making an online donation! Visit

Help support my 2010 Vinnies CEO Sleepout campaign by making an online donation! Visit

Brian Dalton

John Blewonski

Chief Executive Officer St Vincent de Paul Society

Chief Executive Officer VincentCare Victoria

Since 2002 Brian has been the Chief Executive Officer/General Secretary of the St Vincent de Paul Society Victoria Inc. His relationship with the Society began in 1995, when he was employed as the Manager of Aged Care Services. For over 16 years, Brian has been an active Society member through his involvement with the Altona Conference and later the St Francis Conference in Melbourne. Brian sees the issues faced by people who are struggling to make ends meet first-hand. Brian will be sleeping out at Etihad Stadium with all the other CEOs on Thursday 17 June 2010.

John began his role as Chief Executive Officer for VincentCare Victoria on 1 February 2010. Prior to starting at VincentCare, John worked at Anglicare Victoria for 11 years, where he was responsible for the day-to day management of a range of programs focussing on Community Services, Placement and Support and Family Services. John has also held various positions in the not-for-profit sector as well as the education sector and brings a wealth of experience from these roles to VincentCare. John will be sleeping out at Etihad Stadium with all the other CEOs on Thursday 17 June 2010.



State President ’s Update BY TONY TOME Dear fellow Vincentians, Volunteers, Staff and Supporters Firstly I want to say what a privilege it is to be elected to be your State President for the next four years. I also want to pay tribute to Jim Grealish for his tireless work for the Society over many years but especially during his period as State Treasurer and, following that, his period as State President. Jim implemented many necessary reforms during his stewardship which has put the Society in good shape going forward. We are indeed indebted to him. There are a number of challenges ahead of us such as the increasing cost of welfare as a result of an increase in the number of people seeking assistance and the value of assistance required to make a difference. We must also keep up the good work that has been done in informing governments of the dangers of the effect that smart meters have on the most vulnerable in our community. We live in a very competitive world and our Vinnies Centres are facing strong competition from the normal charity shops as well as an increasing number of commercial operators. This limits increases in surpluses for welfare from our centres which are the major source of revenue for Conferences, Regions, Central Councils and State Council. I intend to visit all Central Councils as quickly as possible and Regional Councils after that. As you can imagine that will take time so please be patient. We must find better ways to improve the flow of funds between Centres, Conferences, Councils and State Council. The flow from State Council down works very well however, the flow up for distribution back down has many blockages and does not work as well. I encourage you all to continue to do the wonderful things that you do day in day out to alleviate the burden of the poor, the disadvantaged and the marginalised. With every good wish

Tony Tome State President

PS Please put Thursday 3 June 2010, 7pm in your diary for the Ozanam Lecture. This year we have Fr Richard Benson a Vincentian priest giving the lecture. I have attended a retreat he gave and he is very inspiring.

Convert your shares to benefit Australian charities ShareGift is an initiative providing an easy tax-deductible way to sell unmarketable holdings of shares and donate the proceeds to charity without incurring brokerage fees. Individuals can sell and donate small parcels of shares that would otherwise be expensive to trade and have the option to recommend the St Vincent de Paul Society Victoria Inc as the recipient of the donation. Funding distributions are decided by the ShareGift Board on the basis of these recommendations. ShareGift sells the shares and distributes the proceeds to Australian charities holding deductible gift recipient status, such as St Vincent de Paul Society Victoria Inc. Shares held in any Australian publicly listed companies may be sold. You the shareholder will not pay any brokerage or exchange costs, and will receive a letter of the share sale as a receipt to claim a tax deduction for the donation. The shareholder completes a share sale donation form found at For further information on ShareGift call 1300 731 632 or email them on

Prayers are requested for... Deceased Members, Volunteers, Family and Friends Joy Carter Volunteer, Mildura Centre Ronald Dellavedova Founding Member, Donald Conference Betty Hession Member, St Mary’s Conference Echuca Kevin Owens Ex-Member, Dallas Conference Fay Pelzer Member, Euroa Conference Frank Sanderson Member, St Mary’s Conference Echuca Ann Sara Ex-President, Gippsland Central Council & Member, Cowes Conference Hugh Smart Member, Glen Iris Conference Domenic Tamburro Member, Springvale Conference John Webb Ex-Member, Berwick Conference To ensure correct acknowledgement please forward any requests for prayers to Philip Mackey by phone on 03 9895 5837 or email

Let us know... So many things are constantly happening throughout the organisation and we would like to share the wonderful work being done by our members, volunteers and staff. So tell us about: To assist us, email is the best! Send articles and/or photos to:



N e w u n i ts f o r R e d C l i f f s

Profile: John Blewonski New Independent Living Units will assist older people who are disadvantaged in Red Cliffs

John Blewonski was appointed as the new CEO of VincentCare Victoria (formerly St Vincent de Paul Aged Care & Community Services) on 1 February 2010. Prior to starting this role, John was most recently the Chief Operating Officer with Anglicare Victoria and he has held senior positions with Anglicare at both State and National level over the last 11 years. John has also been involved in various positions in the not-for-profit and education sectors. After only a couple of weeks in the role, John noted to staff, "As I move about I can't help but be struck by the passion and commitment of our staff and volunteers in their support of the mission of the agency and the quality of services provided in support of the elderly, the vulnerable and the disadvantaged members of our community. “VincentCare Victoria is certainly an exciting place and I look forward to embracing my commitment to social justice and the provision of quality service outcomes for our clients through this new role.”

STOP PRESS Joanne Edwardes appointed new General Manager Aged Care. Joanne brings extensive experience to the role in all facets of Residential Aged Care having previously held positions as Facility Manager, Deputy Manager, Manager Quality Development and Training. Joanne has been acting General Manager Aged Care since September 2009. Congrats Jo!

Red Cliffs in North Western Victoria is a severely disadvantaged area with an ageing population. With a lack of affordable housing and insufficient public housing, many elderly locals are homeless. Due to cost and insecurity of tenure, rental accommodation for older people in this area is problematic. Meanwhile there are over 230 people on the waiting list for public housing with wait times for one and two bedroom units appropriate for older people currently exceeding 10 years. The St Vincent de Paul Society aims to assist people in the area by building

nine new Independent Living Units in Red Cliffs. The units will provide a safe, secure and homely environment to elderly people who are disadvantaged and would otherwise be homeless. The units will have one or two bedrooms, yards, carparks and communal gardens. While the Independent Living Units will be managed centrally, local volunteers will provide residents with daily support. To support this very worthy cause, please call 13 18 12 or visit our website

When the St Vincent de Paul Aged Care & Community Services’ Board met in December 2009, one of the agreed outcomes was the change of name for St Vincent de Paul Aged Care & Community Services bringing it in line with the strategic plan. As a result VincentCare Victoria has been selected as the new name for St Vincent de Paul Aged Care & Community Services. The Board’s intention was to identify a name which could strengthen the perception of the professional nature across all of our work with the community in Aged Care, Community Services and Disability and our identification as part of the St Vincent de Paul Society. On 7 April 2010, John Blewonski announced, "I am very pleased to advise that the Board has agreed that VincentCare Victoria be adopted as our new trading name, with St

Vincent de Paul Community Housing becoming VincentCare Community Housing. This decision was subsequently unanimously endorsed by the Society’s State Council at their meeting on 27 March 2010. “The Board is confident that these initiatives will clarify our identity and purpose for all we deal with and will better assist our advocacy on behalf of our clients with governments, through the media and in our day-today communications with all stakeholders, in conjunction with and on behalf of the St Vincent de Paul Society." Please note: New logos for VincentCare Victoria are currently being finalised and will be made available shortly.

U P D AT E Vinnies Centres

Back row (l to r): Peter Hayward (Sunbury), Darren Phillips (Alfredton/Wendouree), Patrick Fahey (Ascot Vale), Daniel Rafferty (Heidelberg) Middle row (l to r): Sandra Harris (Geelong CBD), Linda Stojanovski (Hamilyn Heights), Helen Neale (Coburg), Jamie Cameron (Ballarat) Front row (l to r): Diane Stark (Sunshine), Linda DeBlasio (Mitcham), Deanne Terrey (Ashburton) Kathy McCormack (Ocean Grove/Queenscliff) Absent: Ray Oliver (Dandenong), Chris Haswell (Lilydale/Croydon)

Congratulations to graduating managers Vinnies Centres worked with registered training organisation CLB Training and Development to develop a Certificate IV in Retail Management curriculum that reflected our unique retail business model. In 2009 Centre Managers from 14 locations in Victoria participated, receiving training in eight group sessions. The managers completed modules of competency at their centres with the support and assistance of their Zone Manager. The graduates celebrated the successful completion of their course with a ceremony on 18 February 2010 at Gerald Ward House where CEO Brian Dalton presented certificates of achievement. This year a similar number of Centre Managers will complete the Certificate IV in Retail Management.

Farewell & thank you Jim Grealish On Friday 26 March 2010, Jim Grealish completed his four year term as State President of the St Vincent de Paul Society in Victoria. Jim’s journey with the Society began in 1996 as a member of the Beaumaris Conference. As a result of his financial expertise Jim was appointed Treasurer to State Council in 1997, a role he retained for nine years until he was elected State President in 2006. Jim’s involvement with the Society has been instrumental on both a State and National level. His commitment in all roles whether that be his visitation work, prison chaplaincy, membership or chairmanship of various committees has been exemplary. Jim was also a visionary leader throughout the Society’s 150th anniversary in Australia which entailed overseeing a week of events Indian National and celebrations. President visits And in February 2009, during Victoria’s devastating bushfires, Jim On 10 March 2010, the Indian National President, Varre Balaswamy and I was at the helm leading the Society Prakasham, Project Officer, National through a difficult time while ensuring Council paid a visit to Victoria. survivors and communities were Our guests observed the Society’s provided with vital support and good works and were treated to essential material aid. facility tours of: Vincentian Village, We thank Jim for all his work and Altona Vinnies Centre Warehouse, contribution to the Society. Enjoy a Gerald Ward House and Ozanam happy and well deserved retirement. Community Centre.

March was a busy month for Vinnies Centres, with the Mornington Centre reopening following a fire two years ago, the Glenroy Centre opening at new premises and the Dandenong Centre celebrating one year of operation. The coming months promise to be just as exciting with a new centre opening in Epping in May and the redevelopment of the Vinnies Centre in Hoppers Crossing just completed. In other news for Vinnies Centres Tony Tome has announced Garry McBride as the new Chairman of the State Centres Board of Management and John Lazzari appointed as a member of that Board. Together they bring a wealth of experience and expertise to the group and we look forward to working together as the operations of Vinnies Centres continues to prosper.

Calendar Dates z z



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Winter Appeal 5 May - 29 August 2010 Mass for the Poor - Feast of the Sacred Heart Weekend of 12-13 June 2010 Ozanam Lecture Thursday 3 June 2010, 7pm St Francis’ Church, Melbourne CEO Sleepout Thursday 17 June 2010 Etihad Stadium Mass for Deceased Members Tuesday 9 November 2010 Annual General Meeting Saturday 13 November 2010 Contributions to Societynews are always welcome. Email to: or send to: The Editor Societynews St Vincent de Paul Society Locked Bag 4800 Box Hill Vic 3128 Phone: 03 9895 5800 Fax: 03 9895 5850 We endeavour to include as many items as possible in each issue.

Societynews - March-April 2010  

A publication for members, volunteers and staff of the St Vincent de Paul Society

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