Welcome to the Festive edition of the Cultura Connect newsletter.
As the year draws to a close it is important to pause and reflect on the journey that our new organisation has taken since we merged to become one united powerhouse: Cultura.
Undertaking a major merger during Covid-19, when the world is dealing with a series of unprecedented crises, was never going to be an easy ride and so I would like to take this opportunity to congratulate everyone for pulling together during such trying times. I am incredibly proud of what an extraordinary organisation Cultura is and continues to be.
I wish to express my most heartfelt thanks to each and every one of our staff. You are all setting an extraordinary example of commitment, professionalism, and solidarity. You are the best guarantee that Cultura will emerge from the events of the past year stronger. Your focus and commitment to care for our clients and residents, and each other, often in the toughest of circumstances has been amazing.
Every role across the organisation is part of a great team, doing magnificent things for our residents, families and clients and the local community.
I am overwhelmed by the unquestionable strength and character of our extended community including our valued volunteers, partners, sponsors, and stakeholders, and have been encouraged by the outpouring of support we have received throughout the year. The messages of gratitude, acts of generosity and words of encouragement are powerful affirmations for the whole Cultura team. THANK YOU.
This time of the year fills the air with community spirit. We long for connection, belonging and hope. I believe that for many people in our community, Cultura is the place that fills their lives with all these things.
We will continue to work tirelessly to help make a positive impact on our diverse communities.
On behalf of Cultura, thank you for your support over the past year and happy holidays to you and your loved ones.
May 2023 bring you everything you wish for and more!
One of the most important programs that we run at Cultura Settlement services is ACFE training. Our ACFE program is very fortunate to have a dedicated team who passionately support participants from multicultural backgrounds to return to study, improve their literacy and numeracy skills, take a step towards gaining a qualification or broaden their employment opportunities and learn new skills.
Our trainers apply a unique range of learning practices, from drama techniques to outdoor activities and excursions. These learning practices develop an understanding of Australian culture and cultural sensitivity and encourage participants to step into practical interest-based pathways to employment.
At Cultura ACFE, we accommodate customised training for multicultural students with a range of interactive and collaborative activities which support the participants in building confidence and prepare them to use the English Language in real-life situations. As part of ACFE, we also run activity-based classes such as: Cooking, Sewing, Gardening, Resume Support, Interview Skills and others. These short courses present a first step on our students’ paths to their dream careers.
ACFE training and courses don’t have final assessments but provide an in-depth performance overview which serves as a great reference point for the perspective employers or education providers. We are helping participants who are experiencing isolation, and disengagement from the community, clients from disadvantaged backgrounds, diverse backgrounds and students with limited language skills.
For further information or enrolments for next year, please contact us at: [email protected].
Last month, a group of girls from Karen background attended a weekend Youth mental health camp in Queenscliff as part of the Healthy Minds program led by the Multicultural Mental Health & Wellbeing Worker.
The Healthy Minds program aims to enhance mental health knowledge and awareness among multicultural youth combined with social and physical activities that promote wellbeing, confidence and social connection. Cultura is delivering this program through Barwon Health Mental Health Promotion grant and the Uniting Church in Queenscliff in partnership with Headspace and Northern Bay College.
During the camp, girls had the opportunity to participate in different fun and engaging wellbeing activities, such as a ferry trip to Sorrento, an art class at the Bellarine School of Arts, and various group games, to name a few. The main focus of the camp was for the attendees to participate in group sessions where they had a chance to learn about the importance of good mental health and participate in discussions about effective ways to improve their wellbeing.
Skills for the future!
Our Cultura RTO had the Brand Launch event on the 2nd of December! We had a great turnout, with all attendees having a chance to tour the renovated facility while enjoying live music, a coffee van and kids’ activities.
Recently, many conversations were held following the disturbing news of a number of leading RTO’s announcing their closure. “Cultura Training is very different to its competitors,” says Sarah Felsovary – General Manager of Corporate Services. ”Being a not for profit organisation allows our student’s piece of mind and confidence in our purpose. Enrolling into one of our courses, they can be rest assured that we have a sustainable model focused on reinvesting in our quality services and that our students are guaranteed to be supported through their journey to graduation,” Sarah explains.
Cultura is specializing in service delivery for multicultural communities, we know how to work with people from CALD and refugee communities and ensure they are achieving their desired outcome. Cultura RTO has a close relationship with Cultura ACFE program, allowing pathways for students with limited English to develop their skills before enrolling into one of our Certificate or Diploma courses.
We also have great industry connections that allow our students to find meaningful employment either during one of our traineeships or upon graduation from our courses.
On the 5th of December we acknowledge an International Volunteer Day. Our organisation wouldn’t be able to do the important work we do without the enormous contribution from the kindest of people – our volunteers.
Here is a message that our Volunteer Coordinator – Nina, would like to pass to everyone who generously dedicating their time to volunteering at Cultura: “I want to express my gratitude to all of our volunteers for the tremendous lessons they have taught me. What I saw was a group of gorgeous folks with golden hearts willingly helping out our community. They plant the seeds of shared values everywhere and nurture those seeds into maturity so that future generations can reap the benefits.
To Cultura, volunteers are the actual pearls that string together to form a necklace of extraordinary beauty. You can’t take your eyes off the way their kindness and compassion light up the lives of those around them. Their generosity and empathy shine brighter than any stars in the sky. They are like glittery paintbrushes that can cover the hearts and bring a spring to one’s step.
Dear volunteers, you are a priceless treasure to Cultura. Your help has never been taken for granted and we are very grateful for everything you do!”
The People & Culture department is gearing up for the end of the year, which is always a busy time for HR departments. We were excited to launch a staff engagement survey process to gauge staff feedback on important topics around their experiences at work. This is the first Cultura staff engagement measure, and results will be communicated widely across the organisation, and to the Board, in the new year.
The Nurses and Allied Health Enterprise Bargaining Agreement is under consideration and being sent to staff to vote on in early December. This has been a long and drawn out process in consultation with various unions and staff as well.
WorkSafe visited Cultura and reviewed our policies and procedures that guide psychological and physical safety for staff. The visiting inspector was impressed with the progress made and commented that we still have some work to do in the management of occupational violence but was very encouraging about what we have achieved in a relatively short space of time.
The People & Culture department would like to wish our 385 staff a very Merry Christmas and Happy New Year. It’s been both a challenging and rewarding year in 2022, and we are looking forward to a productive year in 2023.
Current Job Opportunities with Cultura
We have some exciting vacancies available at Cultura:
For more information, please visit our ‘Careers’ page https://www.cultura.org.au/careers.
Our Cultura Centre-based groups have been making the most of the amazing weather we’ve had recently. We took every chance we could to head outdoors and enjoy the sunshine. Our enthusiastic workers organised a range of great trips – clients enjoyed a day by the sea in Portarlington with a BBQ lunch and time out to stretch their legs and soak up some Vitamin D, Club Fantastico hit the road to pick strawberries in Wallington and tested the waters in Torquay.
Memory Lane Café program held its last café for 2022 on 24 November, we had a great afternoon of music, conversation and delicious treats, and it was lovely to see some new faces as well as our regular attendees. Memory Lane Café is hosted monthly by Dementia Australia and will resume after the holiday break in February 2023. For more information or to register your interest in the program, please call 9815 7879.
The Healthy Living Centre will be closed from 24 December and reopen on 3 January 2023, with programs recommencing on Wednesday, 4 January 2023.
To find out more about the programs at the Healthy Living Centre, please call 5222 7275. To make a referral, please contact My Aged Care 1800 200 422 or contact the Healthy Living Centre for more information.
At the start of December, we held our very first makers market. This market showcased several months of tremendous efforts by residents, staff and volunteers. We had stalls with hand-painted, hand-knit and sewed items the clients produced. We had a stall with an amazing selection of plants resembling a carefully cultured jungle. Most of the large plants on sale were cuttings of rosemary, geraniums, and succulents taken from our garden here at Cultura and carefully potted with the help from the residents.
Some of our multi-talented staff and volunteers also made their debut at the market, selling items for children and babies, homemade cupcakes, cookies and Christmas-themed sweets.
Volunteer Maria had a unique display and sale of her famous hand-knit dolls, which are available for purchase in the café all year round. Our Boutique also had a special Christmas sale, with many residents taking advantage of the great deals! The piazza was awash with sunshine, Christmas music, and the scent of a traditional sausage sizzle. It was a splendid day for visiting the piazza, and café, meeting with family and friends and kicking off the Christmas season.
We look forward to celebrating the Holiday season with families, taking the bus out for ice cream on the waterfront and having our annual cultural supper. On December 23rd, we are planning our afternoon of carols in the piazza and would like to invite family and friends to join us in this celebration.
We are currently planning the 2023 Cultura Pako Festa and we are so excited to be able to take it back to the street! The event will take place on Saturday, 25 February with the support of many of our Affiliated Cultural Communities. In addition to our magnificent parade, we will also be hosting over 40 food traders and five stages featuring some of the best talent our community has to offer.
As you can imagine, such a big event requires a big effort to pull everything together and we simply could not run the festival without the hard work of our local community groups and our volunteers. To continue the great success of this event and the positive impact it has on both local businesses and organisations and our valued community groups, we are currently looking to bring together a team of passionate individuals to help make Pako Festa 2023 one for the ages.
If you would like to donate a little of your time, it would be very much appreciated. We are seeking volunteers to assist with a variety of tasks on the day for just 3-hour shifts, (or more if you would like) between 7am and 8pm. Jobs on the day include:
All volunteers must have a valid Working with Children Check and will receive a t-shirt, food vouchers and sunscreen on the day.
Visit https://www.cultura.org.au/volunteers/ to express your interest in volunteering for Pako Festa 2023.
What’s the recipe for an inclusive, thriving society where each member of every cultural background, gender, sexuality, faith, ability, and social economic situation feels a true sense of belonging?
That’s the central question addressed by Voices of Australia, a new podcast from the Scanlon Foundation Research Institute which picks the brains of a broad range of fascinating guests with vastly different occupations and backgrounds to unpack ‘what is social cohesion?’
Co-hosted by Scanlon Foundation Research Institute Chief Executive Officer Anthea Hancocks and budding social commentator and community leader Lydia Tesema, the lively podcast explores the concept and reality of social cohesion from a range of perspectives, seeking constructive ways to progress social cohesion while also celebrating Australia’s existing strengths and achievements in this space.
Voices of Australia is available from the Scanlon Foundation Research Institute website (scanloninstitute.org.au), Apple Podcasts, Spotify and Google Podcasts.
Cultura emerged as the vibrant new organisation from the merger of Diversitat and Multicultural Aged Care Services (MACS) in 2022.