Welcome to the July Edition of The Voice
Despite the colder weather dominating our days, we have plenty on offer to keep you entertained and informed in the July edition of The Voice.
Carers Victoria hosted a number of highly successful Mingle events with our jammed-packed afternoon teas across the state. With plenty of laughter, food, entertainment, and great company, the environment was warm and joyful. Read on in the newsletter to check out plenty of pictures and highlights.
While Mingles 2023 may be over for now, there is plenty to do this month across the state so you can feel revitalised, reconnected, and refreshed – whether you like to walk and talk or share a meal, we have lots to offer. There are also a number of workshops available if you are planning to re-enter the workforce, especially if it has been some time since you applied for a job.
We continue to gather amazing stories from our carers – all humble in nature but their devotion to their loved ones is inspiring.
Judith has been making some media rounds, including Senior Victoria Magazine, ProBono, where she was named a Change Maker, and Channel 31. Stay connected on our Facebook page so we can let you know when Judith is appearing in radio, print, or TV.
We hope you enjoy the latest edition of The Voice.
The Carers Victoria Team
It was great last week to be able to confirm that the Victorian Government will maintain the current discounted arrangements for public transport concessions for Carer Card holders.
Carers Victoria had raised concerns with the government about the impact changes to the current arrangements would have on Carer Card holders, particularly at a time when so many people are experiencing financial pressure – and significant fare increases have just been announced.
We would like to thank the Andrews Government for their continued support of Carer Card holders and Carers Victoria looks forward to continuing working with the government, carers, and our partners to improve access to support for carers.
The full story around this announcement is in this edition of The Voice.
In other Carers Victoria news, we will be also growing our focus on regional and rural carers. While there is a lot of work to be done, we are steadfast in our approach to creating and executing a plan to connect with more carers outside metropolitan areas.
This includes joining forces with a range of councils and service providers to progress opportunities for local education programs and events that provide rural and regional carers with greater opportunities to participate in activities closer to home.
We will continue to inform you of these developments and look forward to some exciting announcements soon.
Carers Victoria’s Mingle 2023 program was a great success with more than 600 carers attending the eight events in each region of Victoria in Cranbourne, Epping, Shepparton, Geelong, Werribee, Bairnsdale, Bendigo, and Croydon.
Many of the Mingles events were sold out and the feedback from our carers has been nothing short of fantastic.
Mingles has been part of Carers Victoria’s fabric for more than 15 years and it has cemented itself as a set of flagship events for the organisation.
Entertainment - Tick! Conversation and connection - Double Tick! Well-earned break - Ticks all around!
It is often the simplest of pleasures that create lovely memories and Mingles are just that.
We created a warm and inviting environment for our carers, with some laughter and fun along the way.
We look forward to bringing you a new set of Mingles in 2024. Let us know where you would like to see our next Mingles! We would love to hear from you!
Continuation of Public Transport Concessions for Carer Card Holders
As part of its ongoing policy and advocacy efforts, Carers Victoria is pleased to confirm that the Victorian Government will continue current access to public transport concessions for Carer Card holders.
Carers Victoria had highlighted concerns about the negative impacts any changes to these arrangements would have had on carers already facing significant pressures.
"We are pleased to confirm that the arrangements for public transport concessions will remain unchanged for carers who hold a Carer Card," said Judith Abbott, CEO of Carers Victoria. "This decision ensures that Carer Card holders can continue to access discounted public transport throughout the year.”
Judith Abbott, CEO of Carers Victoria, says, “We know that an increasing number of carers are experiencing financial pressures, so continuing access to concessions such as these can provide a bit of much-needed help to some of the many Victorian carers who give up their time and energy to support their family members, their friends and others in our community”.
“Carers Victoria remains committed to advocating for the rights and well-being of carers throughout the state. By collaborating with the government and other stakeholders, Carers Victoria aims to improve the support available to carers and ensure their invaluable contributions to the community are acknowledged and valued.”
Carers Victoria would like to thank the Andrews Government for their continued support of Carer Card holders and continues to look forward to working collaboratively with the government to improve access to support for carers.
Carer to her 17-year-old son and 78-year-old mother, Kerry Grimshaw, 53 is very happy that the public transport concessions are remaining for Carer Card holders.
“To continue to have free weekend public transport is such a bonus for us as every little bit of saving counts. Thank you to Carers Victoria for being so vigilant in standing up for carers and taking care of our essential needs and services.”
“We use public transport to go to the city and to outings so to know that we will not have to pay more is quite a relief. Having access to reliable and affordable public transport is very important to us.”
News from Carers Australia
Carers Australia applauds the announcement of an Inquiry into the recognition of unpaid carers by the House of Representatives Standing Committee on Social Policy and Legal Affairs.
“Carers are an integral part of Australia’s health, mental health, aged care, disability support and social services systems,” said Alison Brook, CEO of Carers Australia. “While this has been identified consistently in reform processes including independent reviews, Royal Commissions, and Productivity Commission and Parliamentary inquiries, carers still do not have their rights and needs adequately embedded within associated reforms.” The Carer Recognition Act 2010 was introduced following the House of Representatives’ Inquiry into better support for carers in 2009, which identified the fundamental importance of adequately recognising carers and that reform was needed to effect meaningful change.
The Committee wants to hear from individual unpaid carers, carers’ representatives, and advocacy organisations so it can make meaningful recommendations to the government.
Carers Victoria will be supporting Carers Australia with their submission.
Carers Victoria Partner with Ethnic Communities' Council of Victoria (ECCV)
On Saturday 17 June 2023, in partnership with ECCV, the carer support groups that participated in the 'Recognising and Respecting Carers' from CALD backgrounds capacity building project came together to celebrate the project's achievements.
Carers and their families enjoyed multicultural performances, activities, and food. It was fantastic to reflect on the project's outcomes, together with the network of carer support groups and community members. The project over the last two years focused on capacity building and elder abuse awareness, including sessions on; My Aged Care, Self-Care, Governance Sessions, Digital Literacy Sessions, Gentle Exercise, MY GOV, Public Transport, and Social Support Activities.
The Recognising and Respecting Carers project is run in partnership with Carers Victoria and is funded by the Department of Families, Fairness, and Housing.
Melbourne Skydeck and Voyager
Carers Victoria recently organised a special event, Melbourne Skydeck and Voyager for Young Carers aged between 12- 25 years. This event was a remarkable experience that left a lasting impact on the Young Carers.
On Tuesday 27 June 2023, a vibrant group of Young Carers embarked on an unforgettable journey at the Eureka Skydeck, located on the 88th floor of the iconic Eureka Tower. From the moment they arrived, excitement and anticipation filled the air as they prepared to witness the beauty of Melbourne from a whole new perspective.
Our young participants engaged in a range of enriching activities that ignited their curiosity and enjoyed the landmarks. Young Carers experienced the Edge, Voyager Theatre, and VR Plank whilst discovering Melbourne.
One of the highlights of the event was the opportunity for the Young Carers to not only have the incredible experience of the tower but also to meet other young people like themselves who are in a caring role and to not feel isolated and different from their peers. During the event, the Young Carers were very interactive and had a sense of connection between themselves.
Feedback from a parent – “Thank you so much for looking after Dana today. I really appreciate it. She had a great time. She was so grateful.”
Another young carer said, “We would have never had this experience if it was not for Carers Victoria. We love Carers Victoria.”
Thank you to all the Young Carers who attended the event.
Carers Australia and Future Women are collaborating to support 105 carers to undertake the Future Women Jobs Academy, an ambitious and innovative online program to help women and gender-diverse people get back to work, find a job they love, and build a secure, rewarding career.
From June to December 2023, selected participants will get access to best-practice learning and development training, an acclaimed mentoring program, a supportive community, and connections to employers actively searching for their next recruits.
Applications for this free opportunity are open to women and gender-diverse people who are unpaid carers and not currently engaged in full-time, paid work.
If you have any questions about Jobs Academy or need help applying, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
This collaboration was made possible thanks to support from the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet’s Office for Women.
Live Life Foods
Due to the great success of the new Live Life Foods partnership, Carers Victoria will be running another competition in July. Keep an eye out for competition details and how to enter soon.
Live Life Foods is not only delicious but also meets the daily nutritional requirements for Victorians over the age of 65 in accordance with Nutrition Professionals Australia (NPA).
There are heaps of dishes to choose from, so check out the options. As a Carers Victoria member, you can gain access to exclusive deals and discounts. It's that simple!!
National Carers Week (15-21 October 2023)
It may seem far away, but Carers Victoria is working very hard to create a jam-packed schedule for this year's upcoming National Carers Week.
It is a time to recognise, celebrate and raise awareness for the 700,000 Victorians who are unpaid carers.
Mark the date in your diary and stay tuned for future Voice newsletters for updates.
Support Carers Victoria in the 2023 Nike Melbourne Marathon Festival
Join thousands of others and make a difference as you run, jog, wheel or walk your way through the city streets, passing iconic Melbourne landmarks before finishing with a lap of honour around the MCG’s hallowed turf.
Get a team together or take on the challenge solo and choose from 3km, 5km, 10km, 21.1km or 42.2km.
Whether your focus is the finish line or the finish time, don’t miss the chance to go the extra mile and fundraise for an incredible charity.
Neighbourhood House Spotlight
Carers Victoria will be profiling a Neighbourhood House and recognising the support that they provide in their local communities.
Heathcote Community House
Heathcote Community House recently completed the Carer Friendly training, and the session provided the House staff and volunteers the opportunity to reflect on their own carer experiences and how this role impacts their families, friends, and workplaces. They all recognised how the Neighbourhood House has supported them and their community to recognise the carer role, both for its challenges and the positive impact they have.
The team reflected that the training “has better equipped and informed the team to provide support of the amazing carers that they interact with each day at the Heathcote Community House.”
Heathcote Community House has a lot of programs, projects, and activities to support carers and they feel very privileged to be part of the community, to deliver such support, to help in creating some comfort and relief, along with navigation support and most importantly recognition and an empathetic ear.
The team is keen to help support the large number of carers in the Heathcote area in as many ways as their capacity allows.
The Heathcote Community House is now designated as Carer Friendly and Carers Victoria is looking forward to working with the team in their support of carers in the community.
EACH Family Relationship Support for Carers (FRSC)
A state-wide service funded by the Australian Government that provides counselling support to family members caring for someone with a disability.
Most families seek to find strategies to better manage their health and well-being and their caring roles to support their loved ones with a disability. Families seeking support could be experiencing a variety of different issues relating to their caring role, plus issues impacting other family members.
- FRSC provide short-term counselling and therapy support, with limited sessions, (4 – 6 sessions), depending on the client or family needs.
- Counselling services are offered to individuals, couples, siblings, or the family as a whole (Family Therapy).
- Services are tailored to the needs of the family.
- Counsellors are nominated according to their skills and experience to support the family.
- Counsellors may come from their local area, or from another region via telehealth.
- Clients can nominate their own counsellors or therapists to enable continuity of service.
- FRSC have a list of registered counsellors, however, any new counsellors nominated by clients have to register with EACH FRSC before service commences.
- To register with FRSC service, Counsellors/ Psychologists/ therapists are required to have skills, knowledge and experience working with families caring for someone with a disability or mental illness, plus the required documents.
- In some cases, where needed, FRSC can provide bi-lingual counsellors or Interpreters.
Mediation for Families
- Part of FRSC service is Mediation for families who are experiencing conflict and are unable to resolve issues related to the disability. Access to experienced mediators is provided with limited sessions.
Community and Family Education Support
- Apart from counselling, FRSC is also able to offer support to carer groups to access various therapies and skill development programs to enhance their caring roles.
- Workshops, courses and forums are offered in person or online.
- In most cases, education and skill development topics are selected by the carers regarding certain disability e.g., autism, mental illness, non-verbal communication strategies etc.
- On a regular basis, FRSC offers Tuning in to Kids and Tuning into Teens courses online.
- Other future planning topics selected could be Wills & Estate, Centrelink information, NDIS etc.
- Education support is also offered to the whole family unit to increase communication and relationships within the family.
Who Can Refer
- Carers and families can refer themselves or via professionals such as case managers and service providers.
- Counsellors are also able to refer their clients who are eligible for FRSC funding.
- To be able to reach out to as many needy families as possible, we continue to build our networks and use various platforms and partners to promote the service in the community about the services we provide.
- Referral process involves the completion of the FRSC RFS form which is sent by a team member upon request.
Carer Story: Jasmina's Story
60-year-old, St Albans local, Jasmina is the quintessential communicator.
Working as a translator, her days are filled with communicating with Bosnians while they need assistance unpacking government forms and day-to-day administration challenges.
It is also through her love of communication, that she got to know Maltese-born, Nicholina, a 79-year single lady, with little family, also living in St Albans.
“We originally were neighbours, and we struck up a friendship very quickly back in 2019,” Jasmina said.
“There have been lots of coffee consumed in our friendship over the last four years, especially during COVID, when we were each other’s bubble of friends.”
And while Jasmina has moved from the apartment block to a house down the road, their friendship and relationship stays strong.
“Nicholina has a lot going on with her health, so I tend to help her get to medical appointments as well as helping her out with administration, bills, and even fixing her TV remote control."
“I often worry that when you live alone, like Nicholina and I do, you tend to get lazy around food preparation. I still have the energy to prepare good, wholesome meals, but I think Nicholina often neglects that side of things. So, I often make extra dinner and drop it off, or invite her for dinner, to make sure she is getting enough protein and vegetables."
You are welcome to write your story yourself or answer these questions, which we will use to write your story for you. Not all stories will be chosen for the website.
- Topic: My carer story
- Length: No longer than 400 words
- Format: Type your story in an email or a Word document, or type your answers to the questions in this document.
- Need inspiration? See other stories that have been written here.
- Submission process: Please email your story to eBulletin@carersvictoria.org.au
- What if your story is chosen? Your story will be edited and returned to you to make sure you are happy with the final version before it is published on our website.
If you have any questions, please email: eBulletin@carersvictoria.org.au
We look forward to hearing your carer story!
Joanne Copeland, carer of her two autistic twins daughter and son and author of Footsteps of Two – Never Give Up, One Mum’s Journey, Twins with ASD has partnered with Carers Victoria to donate some of the proceeds of her book to Carers Victoria
Joanne’s experience as a dual carer is a story of perseverance and highlights the need for universal recognition and support of those in caring roles.
About the book:
In this must-read book, Joanne Copeland shares her journey and the life-altering moment when her twins, Zalie, and Flynn, were diagnosed with autism. Joanne shares the challenges she faced following the unexpected double diagnosis in her honest, heartfelt account of what life has been like since – without hiding any of the raw emotions of denial, blame, and guilt she encountered along the way. Through the challenges, Joanne shares hope that things will be OK. You will discover how to develop a never-give-up attitude, even in moments of difficulty and self-doubt. The lessons shared will enable you to find inner strength even on the darkest days.
We thank Joanne for her generosity and her story.
Become a member and stay connected
Become a member of Carers Victoria and join our community to help us make a difference in the lives of Victorian carers.
Membership is free and open to carers, former carers, supporters and Carer Support Groups.
Membership benefits include:
Exclusive invitations to events including our popular Mingle events, carer workshops and programs.
Championing for real change through consultations, focus groups and research.
Staying informed with our monthly eBulletin The Voice, jam-packed with important carer issues, events and stories.
Free digital access to the magazine Australian Carers Guide.
Special member offers, including Hoyts movie tickets.
Writing with Purpose: Three-Part Program
A FREE online program for carers by Carers Victoria
It was a wonderful series... it was truly inspiring - and I am leaving the series [program] feeling like I can do it. I don't need to be an expert writer to tell my story, and I do have a story to tell. I am excited about what is to come for me, I feel like there has been a fire lit within me, and words are tumbling out from within. I look forward to sharing them with everyone.
This glowing testimonial from one of the last participants in Carers Victoria’s 2022 Writing with Purpose program says it all. Given this success, we are delivering the program again in August 2023.
Are you interested in building your skills and confidence to write your story? Would you like to share your story with other carers, and see it published in Carers Victoria’s marketing materials?
Stories can be a powerful tool to bring about both small and significant changes to the systems that affect our lives. They can bring comfort and help build communities among people with shared experiences, and hold people in power to account. Writing your story can also be a great way to process complex life events, like taking on a caring role.
Through this program, we will support you to write your personal carer story. You don’t need any writing experience, just the motivation to work at it and a willingness to share your experiences with other carers.
Who should attend
To express your interest in Writing with Purpose, please respond to the questions when you register. Please note, the program is for carers only and places are limited. We will be in touch with you should your application be successful.
Writing with Purpose is a three-part program encompassing the following themes:
Session 1 - Putting Pen to Paper
Getting started and basic skills for writing your story
Thursday 10 August 2023
10.00am - 1.00pm
Session 2 - The Power of Storytelling
The wellbeing benefits of storytelling and the value of sharing stories
Thursday 17 August 2023
10.00am - 1.00pm
Session 3 - Storytelling for Change
Using your story to influence social change
Thursday 24 August 2023
10.00am - 1.00pm
Please note: Places are limited. Your Expression of Interest should be submitted by Friday 22 July 2023. If successful, you will hear back from us by close of business Tuesday 1 August 2023.
We offer a wide range of workshops for carers and service providers.
Our workshops for carers support you to:
- Develop skills to support your caring role;
- Gain knowledge to navigate complex support service systems; and
- Enhance your health and wellbeing.
Check out what’s on in July and August.
Western Programs walking groups
Carers in Brimbank, Hobsons Bay, Caroline Springs, Moonee Valley and Werribee are invited to come along to a walking group in your area. Catch up with other carers over a light brunch and find out about local supports and services for carers. Places are limited, so register your place now.
Pathways for Carers walking groups: Victoria wide
Carers throughout Victoria are invited to attend walking events in their area to learn more about news, services, and supports available to carers.
Heart Foundation walking groups: Australia wide
There's a reason why walking is one of the most popular forms of activity in Australia. Join a Heart Foundation walking group to reduce stress, be more alert, have a healthier body and build strong relationships.
Creating a new Carer Support Group "Spinal Cord Injury"
At one of our recent mingle events, a carer advised she wants to connect with other carers who are looking after someone with a spinal cord injury. Given the specific nature of this caring, the carer would like to speak with other carers in this role, with the possibility of starting a carer support group for this particular carer group. If any carers are interested in this and would like to discuss it further, please email Susannah at Carers Victoria Susannah.email@example.com
Carers’ experience of residential respite for older people
Austin Health, in partnership with the National Ageing Research Institute, is recruiting carers to better understand the experience of all people utilising aged care respite and the impacts this may have on the care recipient’s health.
Families and/or carers of people who have used residential aged care respite are invited to participate by completing a 10-30 minute interview (on phone or videoconference) or completing an online survey.
If you or someone you know would be interested in being interviewed, please feel free to contact the research team via email: MCRU.Recruitment@austin.org.au
Developing a new quality of life questionnaire for informal carers of people living with dementia
Monash University is conducting a research study that aims to develop a new quality of life measure for informal carers of people living with dementia. This study received funding from the Dementia Australia Research Foundation. All carers over the age of 18 who provide regular, unpaid support to a person living with dementia in Australia are invited to complete an online survey to help the research team identify questions that should be included in the new quality of life questionnaire. The survey will take approximately 15–25 minutes to complete. At the end of the survey, you can provide your email address to enter into a draw with the chance to win one of ten $200 gift cards.
If you would like to request further information, please contact Dr Lidia Engel on 03 9903 8961 or via email, firstname.lastname@example.org.
Carers have expressed that they would like to hear more about job opportunities, and we have heard you. As part of our role to support carers, we have included a Jobs Board which will operate as a convenient and easy-to-use platform for you to explore employment opportunities that are relevant to you and across various geographic locations.
Accor has created a recruitment program called “Work Your Way”, which offers multiple employment opportunities across Victoria that are flexible for carers.
Employment, Education and Training
Carers Victoria currently has a suite of initiatives underway to support carers who wish to enter/re-enter paid employment, vocational training and education.
If you want further information or would like to discuss your situation or explore your options, please email email@example.com with your contact details and we will be in touch.