Spirit Newsletter September 2014



Spirit Newsletter September 2014
Together we can do something about it
I n side Th i s I ssu e :
A n in s pir in g story o f hope
B u dg et pa in hurti ng fami li e s
Par tn er s hip to lo ok i nto po ve rty
CEO Sleepout ce le brate s 5 ye ars
M a kin g f a ir y tale s come true
A n d mu c h more …
Welcome to the latest edition of the Spirit newsletter, and my
first edition as the newly elected State President.
The recent budget announcements by the State and Federal
Government have been a double blow for individuals and families
already struggling in Western Australia. Increases to utility costs
and a lack of affordable housing are all placing further stress on low
income hous›olds.
It is an honour and a privilege to be appointed to this role,
and I look forward to meeting many of you over my four year
term. I would like to acknowledge retiring President Jeff Trew.
During his tenure Jeff has overseen the development of a new
Strategic Plan, the implementation of the Members Forum, the
introduction of the Ozanam Lecture, and chaired the National
Marketing Committee. Jeff has been a champion of our vision
to offer a hand up rather than just a hand out to the people we
assist. Jeff and his wife Joan have been great advocates for
the Society and we wish them all the best for the future.
Already I have noticed there is much activity throughout the
Society with demand for Emergency Relief support particularly
high. And while demand for our services continues to increase,
we are grateful to have wonderful support from the West
Australian community through events such as the Vinnies CEO
Sleepout, the Winter Appeal and Passages Race Day.
On behalf of the Society I would like to thank all of the donors
and corporate and community partners who support these vital
fundraising activities. The funds raised from these events will
go a long way to helping those who are doing it tough and need
I look forward to working with you all to continue the Society’s
mission to shape a more just and compassionate society.
WA CEO Mark Fitzpatrick said Vinnies were already assisting
many individuals and families who were struggling to keep up with
excessive increases in the State’s living costs.
For low income hous›olds already struggling to make ends meet,
there is no end in sight to rises in the cost of utilities.
At the 2013 State Election, the Premier promised to keep increases
in utility prices at or around the rate of inflation (approximately
2.5%). However, in the 2013-14 Budget residential electricity prices
were forecast to rise 4% in 2013-14 and 7% a year over the forward
estimates. The 2014-15 Budget forecasts an increase of 4.5% in
2014-15 and 7% a year over the forward estimates. The dramatic
increases in the cost of gas, electricity and water in recent years has
meant that low income hous›olds — who spend a greater portion
of their income on utility bills — are feeling the pressure of the rising
cost of utilities more than other Western Australians.
“People struggling to pay their energy bills are being forced to rely
on charities to put food on their table. For the period 1 July 2013 to
31 March 2014 we have paid out $264,654 in utility costs on b›alf
of those in need,” Mr Fitzpatrick said.
Seniors have also been hurt by the State and Federal governments
slashing the seniors cost of living rebate in half. The halving of the
rebate will impact on 306,000 Western Australian seniors with the
rebate cut from $245 to $123 for couples and from $163 to $82 for
Bob Burns
State President
Contact Information
‘The Spirit’ is produced by: The Public Relations and Fundraising Department,
St Vincent de Paul Society WA. Copyright 2014. 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:
Media & Communications Coordinator,
Public Relations and Fundraising
St Vincent de Paul Society WA, PO BOX 473,
Belmont, WA 6984
Email: [email protected] Website: www.vinnies.org.au
2 | The Spirit
At a National level Vinnies is calling on the Federal Government to
review measures that impact on low income families, young people
and pensioners.
“With the Federal Government’s budget making excessive cuts to
health, disability support, income support, community services and
housing programs, we expect even more people will be turning to
us for assistance with basic living expenses,” Mr Fitzpatrick said.
“Vinnies believes this is a deeply unfair budget that requires the
heavy lifting to be done by those who have the least capacity to do
so,” Mr Fitzpatrick said.
“We will continue to advocate for change to make society fair for all
people,” Mr Fitzpatrick said. To sign the Vinnies petition for a fairer
budget go to: www.change.org
Tom Fisher House is one step closer to construction after the
official turning of the Sod ceremony took place on Wednesday
13 August. State Premier Colin Barnett, MLA and Helen Morton
MLC were in attendance to help celebrate the milestone.
Part of the Street to House Program funded by the Department
of Child and Family Services, Tom Fisher House will be a custom
designed and built homeless shelter located on Beaufort Street,
The service will offer a safe sleep to up to ten rough sleepers
each night. Referrals will come from Street to Home Program
services, Nyoongar Patrol, and the WA Police.
Tom Fisher House is named after one of Vinnies longest and
most respected volunteers, who at 93 years of age is still giving
of his time to help people.
Currently at an interim location in East Perth, it is for chronic
rough sleepers and provides accommodation for up to 5 nights,
including meals, clothing and bedding, access to medical
assistance, referrals to drug and alcohol, mental health and
accommodation support services. Since the interim location
opened in May, 1416 nights of safe sleep have been taken up by
61 individuals with the eight beds full most nights.
Tom Fisher House is staffed by a multidisciplinary team working
through a harm reduction framework. The team consists of
registered and enrolled nurses, care support workers, and
service support staff. This team is responsible for referral and
intake procedures, and creating a safe, secure and supportive
Hon Eleni Evangel MLA, Hon. Helen Morton MLC, Hon. Colin Barnett,
MLA, Mark Fitzpatrick CEO St Vincent de Paul Society WA, Former
Archbishop of Perth Barry Hickey with Shirley and Tom Fisher.
Thank you to all those who supported the Vinnies Winter Appeal
this year. We are grateful also to the many businesses and
organisations who also got involved and collected food and
clothing which we have already been able to distribute to those
in need.
Recently we asked people to tell us why they donate to the
Society. Here are just a few responses:
Watercorp drop off goods donated by staff
“I donate because I don’t know what it’s like to be homeless.
Even at difficult times in my life, I’ve always had a roof over my
head. In winter especially, there is rarely a night when I am not
aware of how very lucky I am to have food, a warm bed and
shelter and I have done little to really deserve it. I thank God for
my undeserved good fortune and for St Vinnies who reminds us
to care.”
“Six years ago when my daughter moved to Albany she had
very little and no money. I am a widow on a single pension so
could not help as much as I wished. A trip to Vinnies changed all
that with help with a bed, lounge etc. all taken out to her rental
house. She was able to get a job and has always been most
grateful for the way she was looked after and cared for. Thank
you most sincerely.”
“We are now Age Pensions. When our family arrived in Australia
from Burma in 1966, The St Vincent de Paul Society helped us
to establish our family in Perth. Without their help it would have
been difficult for our family. Thanks.”
“Because we all need a helping hand once in a while.”
“I just want to help in some small way to make someone’s life
that little bit easier for them to cope with day to day living.”
“We feel very fortunate to have a loving family and friends, a
good job and home. However, you can see how easily things
can fall apart eg. Redundancy, a marriage breakdown etc.
Sometimes people just need a helping hand to recover from
life’s misfortunes.”
Last financial year Vinnies Centre’s volunteers contributed 14,400 hours
Thanks to the combined efforts of 111 community and business
leaders who braved a cold and foggy night sleeping out at
the WACA, a record $1.2 million has been raised for Vinnies
homeless services.
ABN Group’s Managing Director Dale Alcock managed to
edge out Crown Perth’s Barry Felstead and take out the top
fundraiser prize for a second year running, raising an incredible
$149,280 ahead of Barry’s $98,796.
We are lucky to have such incredible support from the WA
community and its business leaders, including Andrew and
Nicola Forrest and the Minderoo Foundation who provided
generous fundraising incentives.
Next year’s event will be held on Thursday 18 June 2015 and
registrations are now open. Sign up now and start fundraising!
St Vincent de Paul Society was grateful to have Leaf Bean
Machine supporting the CEO Sleepout for a second year. Not
only did they provide coffee on the night and morning of the
event, but CEO Brad Cassidy also signed on to take part,
sleeping out for a second year.
“I feel that in Australia no one should be homeless as we are ‘the
lucky country’ and if my small contribution can inform others
and help in some small way then I have succeeded,” Brad said.
Leaf Bean Machine’s coffee was a big hit, warming those who
braved the chilly, wet night.
“The Sleepout was a truly humbling experience and although I
know it is nothing like sleeping rough every night, at least we can
collectively raise awareness and funds for Perth’s homeless,”
Brad said.
“I would encourage other CEO’s who might be interested to take
part next year. It is an experience that you will not forget and one
which will change the way you look at things from that night on.”
w it h one
“I t st arts m ak e a
pe rs on
t’s G o!”
di ff eren ce . Le
ke (CEO
M at he w Cl ar
rrac k)
Ba r
fo r al l
“Doi ng it
en ce .”
su rv iv ors of
Ange lh an ds te
t Vi nn ie s
“P le as e su pp or y an d
to re st ore
in ou r
commun it y.
M at t Taylo r M
tem an )
(Mem be r fo r Ba
“You r won
h a s ch a nge rf ul su pp ort
d someo ne’s
to d ay.”
li fe
Bren da n Va
(N at io na l M ha n
in ing M an
Wat pac Ci
vi l an d M in er
4 | The Spirit
WA’ S TOP 10
Dale Alcock Managing Director ABN Group - $149,280.00
Barry Felstead Chief Executive Officer Crown Perth $98,796.00
Peter McBain Managing Director Brierty - $86,701.00
Graeme Prior CEO Hall & Prior Aged Care - $54,336.00
Brian Kelly Country Manager Kentz Pty Ltd - $52,179.00
Bob Bollen Managing Director Benz Industries WA Pty
Ltd - $48,550.00
John Welborn Managing Director/ CEO Equatorial
Resources Ltd - $46,500.00
Scott Criddle CEO Decmil - $34,700.00
Raymond Tan Director Tan and Tan Lawyers - $33,436.00
Steve Gostlow Managing Director Toxfree Solutions $32,570.00
Apostle Water
Business News
Crown Perth
Leaf Bean Machine
Minderoo Foundation
5000 Meals
Staging Connections
Australian Retailers
Best & Less
Campbell’s Soup
CEO Forum Group
Eagle Boys
Nudie Juices
Osky Interactive
Rockit Advertising
Southern Cross Austereo
Sky News
The Australian
“We go home tomorrow
mo rni ng. Over 100,000
Australia ns wo n’t. Hal ve
homele ssness !”
“L ove th e w
do, ever yon k Vin n ie s
e de se rves
a ro of a n
Th a n k s so a ch a n ce .
a llo w ing me much fo r
to be a pa rt
of it.”
Rich ard Klimek (Directo r
Klimek & Co Fam ily Law
yers )
“H elp ing women
an d
ch ildre n w ho
homele ss be caus e
e of
domes tic vi ole nc
Angel a Ha rt wig
(CEO Wome n’s Co un
Dome stic & Fam ily for
Vio len ce
Se rv ice s WA)
Ja so n Qu ill ig
an (D irec to r
Ex pres s Pt y
Last financial year Vinnies Centre’s volunteers contributed 14,400 hours
accommodation. I was and in 2007 I move into the Bayswater
house with 5 other girls. My house coordinator, Ersillia has
been wonderful, she has cared about me and for me, and she
has kept me safe.
My name is Sunay, I am 50 years old and I have been supported
by Vincentcare for the last six years.
My story is long, 50 years long......
I was born in Woolwich, in England in 1964. One of 11 children.
I grew up in family where there was physical and mental abuse,
at the age of 14, I was removed from my family and spent the
next 2 years moving from children’s home to children’s home, I
think there was 4 different ones. I must have been unwell then
but I never saw a doctor, I talked to people who weren’t there
and I was self harming, cutting myself and taking overdoses.
When I was 16 years old I was discharged from the system.
There was no after care, I was on my own. I was homeless and
without a family. I was on the streets just trying to survive really.
There were no services or support that I knew of, I met people
and got a few nights on a couch here and there.
When I was 19 things started to look up, I met Bill, I got a job
and I had a home. We started our family but I found it really
hard to care for them. Bill was working away and I was really
struggling with my mental health. My kids gave me something
to live for, so I was safe, but it was really hard.
Bill thought that we should move to Australia, so at the age of
23 we packed up the children and moved to Perth to start our
new life. We ended up in Tom Price and I joined the Army. I was
there for 6 years and it was such a happy time. Looking back I
think the order and structure was really good for me.
Bill and I weren’t doing so well and I moved back to Perth, I
got a house in Kalamunda and started to study. I got a diploma
in Community Services and was accepted into Murdoch
University to study Psychology. This is when my mental health
really deteriorated and I had a total breakdown. My marriage
ended, I was admitted to hospital and my 15 year old daughter
became carer to her younger brother and sister. I spent
the next 5 years moving between Psychiatric hospitals and
homelessness. I was diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia,
schizoaffective disorder, depression and Borderline Personality
Disorder at the age of 40 years.
My Psychologist, Ann, told me about Vinnies. She helped me
set up a meeting to see if I would be eligible to stay in their
6 | The Spirit
I still have a mental illness; I will always have a mental illness.
I still have ECT every month but it is a maintenance regime
and keeps me well enough to enjoy my life. I became a
grandmother last week and I have a very good relationship
with all my children. I volunteer at the village once a week in
the kitchen, and earlier this year my support worker, Gerry and
Ersillia helped me to plan a trip back to England. I met with my
10 brothers and sisters and although sometimes it was difficult,
I achieved something I could only have dreamt off, 6 years ago.
I can truly say that without the help of Vinnies, I wouldn’t be
around to share my story with you all tonight.
[Sunay shared her story with 111 CEOs at this year’s CEO
Sleepout event]
Vincentcare provides accommodation to 76 people living
with severe and enduring mental illness – many of whom also
have experiences of homelessness. The service provides
support across three different levels of accommodation giving
the service flexibility to encourage people to maintain their
independence and develop their life skills.
Want to leave a lasting legacy that is guaranteed to help
people well into the future? Please consider remembering
the St Vincent de Paul Society in your Will. The Society’s
Tom Perrott Friends Forever Club honours the generosity
of Bequest donors in a dignified and respectful way. The
Society is able to assist thousands of people because of
the generosity of those who have remembered the Society
in their Will and it ensures our programs that support
people in need will continue well into the future.
Whilst no one likes to think about Will-related matters, it is
never too early to plan ahead. The Society has a number of
practical booklets that can assist with preparing your Will.
Please contact us for confidential assistance.
Phone: (08) 9475 5400
Email: [email protected]
“It brings me joy to know that a contribution I can make
after I am gone can provide hope for other families and
give them a chance for a better future.” Lorraine
Thanks to an Australian Research Council (ARC) Linkage Grant, the Society is partnering with Edith Cowan University to investigate
how to break the multi-generational cycle of poverty, with the project to receive $150,000 over three years.
Some families rely permanently on welfare support and communicate this dependency to the next generation. Children growing up
in these families find it difficult to break out of poverty.
With the help of twelve families, members of the St Vincent de Paul Society (WA), and ECU’s Chief Investigator Professor Lelia Green
who will lead the project aimed at creating ethnographies which illuminate turning points and opportunities for change. It will look to
use creative and educational interventions to explore new ways of delivering services and disrupting the communication of welfare
dependency. Ending inherited poverty is a significant step in helping individuals reach their potential and frees resources for people
facing sudden hardship.
“I said a boom chica boom” echoed through the bus as the kids
and leaders travelled up to Camp Kerem in Bullsbrook. The kids
sat and finger knitted and chatted away to the leaders who were
all dressed in costume reflecting the theme ‘Fairy Tales and
Mythical Creatures.
Thanks to the Vinnies Youth program and the help of over 30
young volunteers, 45 children were able to enjoy a few days
of fun this July, giving their parents some well needed respite
and giving them experiences and opportunities they would not
ordinarily have.
The kids aged between 8 and 12 years of age enjoyed many
activities including scavenger hunts, crafts, sports, a movie
night, a visit to the maze and even a disco night.
State Youth Coordinator Eimear Boland said it’s hard to know
who enjoys the experience more, the kids or the volunteers who
generously give of their time to help give the kids an experience
they will never forget.
In planning for the Harry Potter themed Kids Camp in April
(40 kids, 35 volunteers), the volunteers were asked what they
wanted the kids to get out of the camp. These were some of the
written responses:
“To know that
they are valued –
it’s a place to
“I hope that when the kids leave
camp they feel more confident within
themselves and all of their unique/
individual abilities. I hope that they feel
safe and happy to be on camp, that it
is a place where they can just enjoy
being kids with other kids and
leave everything else
b›ind for a while”
“Kids go home with a sense
of self-worth. And that it
continues not just through
camp, but as they go back
to the rest of their lives,
their home, their
“A full heart that can beat
strong long after camp,
even on the bad days.
The realisation that
what they do and
who they are
“I hope that the kids get
to forget about any pain
they may have had and
to use this camp as a
good memory
Last financial year Vinnies Centre’s volunteers contributed 14,400 hours
The annual Passages Race Day was held at Belmont Race
Course on Saturday May 24 with 280 people raising a record
breaking $100,000 for Passages Resource Centre in Northbridge.
Without the generous support of corporate and community
sponsors and the Race Day attendees, Passages would not
be able to continue to provide kitchen, bathroom and laundry
facilities, referrals, information, counselling and advocacy to
young people in crisis in Perth.
The event was again emceed by Nick Way and featured a sit
down lunch, horse racing, live and silent auctions and table raffles
and was proudly supported by H&N Perry, Reed Resources and
Westralian Diamond Drillers.
The Retro Vinnies Shops in High St, Fremantle and William
St, Northbridge are opening their doors in the evenings to
groups looking for an exciting night out. Groups of around 10
to 15 people can enjoy their own private shopping experience
complete with nibblies, drinks and music you can shop to.
You can enjoy a great day out and support youth homelessness
by taking part in next year’s race day. To sponsor a table or
donate auction items please email [email protected] or to
learn more about Passages visit
If you’d like hold your own Blue Carpet night in Fremantle or
Northbridge, contact managers, Cheryl in Northbridge,
9288 4877 or Toni in Fremantle, 9335 6890 to book a night with
a difference!
(Left) The Hon Helen
Morton MLC with
Passages Resource
Centre Chairman
David Reed.
(Right) Guests enjoyed a
great day out all for
a good cause.
The Perth Fashion Festival (TPFF) has provided the setting for another month of op shop fashion
with Restyle making a comeback for 2014. Restyle, a photo-a-day Op shop challenge is an
initiative of the Telstra Perth Fashion Festival, proudly supported by Lotterywest.
Seven of Perth’s leading fashion bloggers were selected and paired with seven op shop retailers
to shop and style for the month of August, with Vinnies paired with fashion blogger ‘Inspiring Wit’.
Jenelle Witty (aka Inspiring Wit) said she was stoked about being paired with Vinnies “because
these guys do all kinds of great work.”
Jenelle visited numerous Vinnies shops, many on more than one occasion, to find her daily
Keep up with all the activities and news of the Society!
Last financial year Vinnies Centre’s volunteers contributed 14,400 hours