I am starting this month’s newsletter by acknowledging all the devastating issues happening in the world right now. Our thoughts are with every person affected by the terrible humanitarian crisis in Afghanistan and Myanmar, the war in Ukraine, floods in Pakistan and more recent events from last week with five teenagers tragically losing their lives in a senseless car accident.
Last week also brought the sad news of the passing of the longest-serving monarch – Queen Elizabeth II. On the 22nd of September, a public holiday was announced in Australia to commemorate the Queen.
In light of these sad events, I am looking at Cultura, which continues to stand tall as a shining beacon of hope. I want to acknowledge the efforts of all Cultura employees and volunteers who work tirelessly and show tremendous enthusiasm in improving our services daily.
Your work allows many communities, families and individuals to see the silver lining we all long for. Thank you to every one of you for making this world a better and kinder place.
Cultura is known for being there for all of our diverse communities in times of need. This includes everyone, regardless of background, race, culture, religion, age, gender or ability.
Wednesday, the 24th of August 2022 was not only Ukraine Independence Day; it also marked 6 months since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
Since then, at least 12 million Ukrainians have been displaced from their homes, with 5 million leaving Ukraine searching for refuge. In addition to aid sent, Australia has granted 8,500 visas to Ukrainians, allowing them to work, study, and access Medicare in their location of choice. Many of these families have now settled locally in Geelong and surrounding areas.
Ukrainian refugees have accessed support through Australia’s Humanitarian Settlement Program (HSP), operated by Cultura. Currently, Cultura manages 9 Ukraine HSP cases (18 individuals) across Geelong and as far as Warrnambool. These cases have been assigned to Cultura Settlement Case Managers, who provided them with vital settlement assistance, ranging from essential registration support to arranging for an entire household of furniture.
Representatives from The Association of Ukrainians in Victoria, Geelong office, have worked closely with Cultura and helped these families immensely to settle in their new homes.
We understand it is an emotional time for many people and we will be staying in regular contact with all communities involved to provide support. At Cultura, we are non-political and are a neutral support network for all. We stand for peace, understanding, compassion and equality, and we don’t condone any act of war or aggression.
This month Cultura Community Development team created a warning for our communities following the disturbing statistics released by Scamwatch. Scammers have always been inventive with the different methods they used in the past to trick thousands of Australians into parting with their savings and sharing sensitive private information.
Recently, we have noticed increasing scam reports across Australia relating to the COVID-19 spread.
Scamwatch has received over 6415 scam reports mentioning the coronavirus, with more than $9,800,000 in reported losses since the outbreak of COVID-19.
Cultura Community Development team has developed a video translated into 5 languages which provides valuable information on how not to fall victim to COVID-19 scams.
Many examples of scams were included in this video, but there will always be more.
Please share this valuable information with your clients, community members, and friends and protect them from falling victim to COVID-19 related scams.
Diversitat Training has had four students commence traineeships with Cultura Residential. The students are progressing well and now have the opportunity to fill some of the industry’s staff shortages and earn an income as they learn. We look forward to welcoming our fifth student to commence employment and learn on-the-job skills in September.
Diversitat Training has enrolled six existing Cultura employees in the Diploma of Community Services course. These employees took advantage of our Flexible Off-Campus Students (FOCS) delivery model. This flexible learning opportunity allows students to fit studies into their busy schedules, and they can learn while still being employed in the industry!
This training delivery option is available for the following courses for Cultura employees and external students:
CHC30121 Certificate III in Early Childhood Education and Care
CHC33015 Certificate III in Individual Support
CHC43115 Certificate IV in Disability
CHC52015 Diploma of Community Services
CHC50121 Diploma of Early Childhood Education and Care
Please contact the training department for more information at [email protected].
In December 2021, Faye suffered a stroke, which caused significant mobility issues. Faye has admitted that besides relying on the wheelchair, the most difficult challenge for her has been her lack of independence and inability to volunteer her time to bring joy to sick children.
Faye lost her purpose and the ability to do what she loved most – to serve her community by voluntarily creating thoughtfully designed quilts for sick children who stayed at the Royal Children’s Hospital.
Hi, my name is Amanda and I am very passionate about helping people like Faye to rediscover their passions and reconnect with the community through Cultura’s Community Visitors Scheme (CVS) Program.
As soon as I heard Faye’s story, I contacted numerous regional quilting organisations. This is how I met Claudia and Wendy – two passionate quilters.
When Claudia and Wendy heard Faye’s story, they agreed to sign up as volunteers with the CVS Program. Together, they visit Pam each week and spend time finishing the many quilts that Pam was not able to complete.
This friendship is helping so many people! Faye is receiving some social interaction, enjoying watching and talking about the quilt-making and seeing her projects finished by Claudia and Wendy. They are feeling absolute joy in being able to brighten Faye’s day. Not to mention sick children at the Royal Children’s Hospital who are benefiting from receiving some fun-designed hand-crafted quilts, which bring so many smiles.
Should you know anyone who would like to volunteer with the program or an elderly person who has a Home Care Package and is suffering from loneliness and isolation, please contact me!
Amanda Natai – CVS Coordinator – Cultura
0432 392 344
Over the last month, our Healthy Living Centre participants were given the challenge to choose one word to describe how they feel when they attend their group each week or a word to describe the types of activities they enjoy participating in.
These words were used to rename our Social Support and Centre-based respite groups with names that are meaningful to them and their group. Many of our participants already refer to their groups as “The Club”. We combined what was familiar to them and their chosen words with some new fantastic and creative outcomes.
Club Vitality– our active outings-focused group,
Club Alegria– means Joy in Spanish,
Club United– a group of many cultures sharing the same interest,
Club Fantastico– our creative, active program,
Club Friendship– the importance of friends,
Club Ku Loo– arts-focused program for Karen and Karenni participants,
Our Highton House programs will be known as Club Highton.
If you or someone you know would like more information about the Healthy Living Centre Social Support and Centre-based Respite Clubs, please call 5222 7275.
At Residential this month we have been keeping the winter blues away by keeping busy. We had a Winter Festa in the Chapel at the end of July celebrating the cold weather and getting together, sharing warmth and togetherness.
At the beginning of August, we enjoyed a visit from the All-day Fitz Swing band through the Music Always program. They performed in the Chapel with lively music causing us to get up and dance.
We have taken bus trips up to the top of You Yangs, sharing a picnic, tea and coffee with a cake of course! We stopped at the top and shared memories of summer picnics with families trying to view Melbourne off in the distance and checking nature for signs that spring is on the way.
We are getting outside and soaking up the sun every chance we get, enjoying the nice days that are getting more numerous.
Age is just a number- five active workshops to rediscover your passion in October/November
Don’t let age get in the way. Discover a new talent or revisit past passions while attending five active workshops across the month of October/November. Dance, bend, stretch and move along with other like-minded individuals to find what makes you tick. All sessions are access friendly and suited to all levels and abilities.
Join us at the Cultura Healthy Living Centre 1.30-2.30 , bookings essential ph: 5222 7275 $1 donation
25-41 Arunga Ave, Norlane.
3/10/22- Yoga chair based program with Fiona
11/10/22- Add some colour and movement to your day and learn Bollywood dancing with Mario
19/10/22- Watson introduces you to the art of Taichi.
27/10/22- Shake your hips with Mariela and her Zumba dance.
4/11/22- Music to make you feel good with Lucy and her accordion.
White Night is returning to Geelong to light up the night with vibrant visual art, music, light projections and family fun. Experience the sparkle and spectacle on Saturday, 8 October 2022, 7:00 pm – 1:00 am. The theme for White Night 2022 is, “Everything on the land is reflected in the sky”.
The extensive program will feature a collection of portraits that celebrate the diversity of Geelong’s community produced by Cultura’s Pako Festa. The images will be projected onto the Northern wall of the Jarvis/Brinton Forecourt at Deakin University during the White Night event.
First presented at the Reimagined Pako Festa in 2021, this work includes a colourful collection of community members in traditional dress, narrating their experiences of life, customs and family.
For more information about the event, please visit https://whitenight.com.au/geelong/.
Picture credits: Chrissie Francis
Cultura emerged as the vibrant new organisation from the merger of Diversitat and Multicultural Aged Care Services (MACS) in 2022.