From the Executive Officer’s Desk: December 2019

Today is International Human Rights Day, which sets the scene nicely for a lot of activity happening with our partners in the region.

International speaker on Ageism – Ashton Applewhite

What an exciting month November was, still on a high from meeting activist author and international Ted talk speaker Ashton Applewhite who, through our links with Every Age Counts, accepted our invitation to present to our partners. In a powerful afternoon challenging ageism, Marlene Krasovitsky from EAC introduced the national campaign to end ageism and made a call to action for each of us to make a pledge: ‘I/We stand for a world without ageism where all people of all ages are valued and respected and their contributions are acknowledged;  I/We commit to speak out and take action to ensure older people can participate on equal terms with others in all aspects of life.’ Ashton then enthralled the audience, calling out the root causes of ageism, before engaging in a lively discussion with Lena Gan, Director of Ageing Programs at Melbourne University’s School of Population & Global Health, and Geoff Pearman, the Managing Director and Principal Consultant of Partners in Change and author of Doing It Differently – life and work after 50.

In another event organised by the IEPCP, Andrew Brown from Deakin University led ‘systems thinking’ capacity building workshops with local government officers, and also health and community practitioners, to explore the obesogenic environment and build systems models to support action.

Whilst fired up about activism, it was a pleasure to once again support Women’s Health East and the Together For Equality and Respect partners to launch another 16 Days of activism campaign: “Totally for Gender Equality”; and to secure a ‘coffee with’ chat with none other than the Minister for Prevention of Family Violence, Women, and Youth, Gabrielle Williams, MP. In a must-read, she discusses her role and commitment to the 16 Days campaign; the Victorian campaign Respect Women: ‘Call It Out’  and her passion for prevention. She also acknowledges this is long term reform that takes endurance and persistence to stay the course for change – something PCPs certainly agree with.

IEPCP are #totesge

In other activity, I was very privileged to be invited to meet the Vice-Chancellor of Deakin University, Professor Iain Martin, as part of a community conversations event. The Vice-Chancellor is keen to deepen connections with community and it was a tremendous opportunity to make connections with several academic staff from faculties working in health and wellbeing. The Eastern Melbourne PHN held their AGM and launched their new strategic plan, and CEO Robin Whyte spoke about the transformative strategies going forward underpinned by strong partnerships collaborating toward integration; and the Eastern Community Legal Centre also held their AGM, with an inspirational keynote speaker Dylan Langley. Dylan is the face of the Home Stretch campaign being spearheaded by Anglicare to extend the care for young people aged 18-21 years in out-of-home care; and a Youth Advisory group member of the Brighter Futures initiative. Dylan shared his own life experience that led to his passionate campaigning for increased government support, and his connection to Brighter Futures who support young people who have been in foster care, residential care or kinship care to help them achieve their goals in life. ECLC also shared a video clip from their OPERA project, a partnership with Swinburne University to develop primary prevention social marketing about healthy ageing, as an upstream response to Elder Abuse – an issue they are leading a range of projects on in the region. I also attended an interesting cross-sectoral service provider forum hosted by DV Vic and Centre for Family Research and Evaluation, with participants sharing work happening in the Elder Abuse response and prevention space, and identifying gaps and potential areas for funding.

Manningham Reconciliation Action Plan Working Group – Walk at Pound Bend

In support of indigenous culture, the IEPCP as part of the Manningham Reconciliation Action Plan Working Group, had the pleasure of joining a delightful walk at Pound Bend, Warrandyte, guided by Bill Nicolson, the Wurundjeri Corporations principal adult cross-cultural educator. Uncle Bill provided rich insights into Manningham’s history, Wurundjeri Woi Wurrung traditions and contemporary cultural practice. He highlighted the ongoing significance of the lands and waters to the Wurundjeri Woi Wurrung people, who are the acknowledged traditional owners and custodians of Birrarung, the Yarra River, and its catchment. Uncle Bill was supported by local historian, Jim Poulter, a member of the RAP Working Group and secretary of Reconciliation Manningham. Jim’s family is descended from early colonial occupation of Wurundjeri land, dating back to 1840. The walk provided important context to the workings of the RAP working group. There is good signage at Pound Bend for casual visitors, while it is also possible for groups to arrange for guided educational tours, which we thoroughly recommend.

On a final note, we bid a temporary farewell and best wishes to Steph Ashby our Primary Prevention Coordinator, who has taken up a secondment and fabulous opportunity to work with VicHealth until the end of June. We are seeking Expressions of Interest from practitioners experienced in Health Promotion to take up a secondment or fixed-term role including a job share. This would provide a unique opportunity to be exposed to a wide portfolio and develop facilitation, coordination and partnership support skills. Interested applicants are requested to forward their CV and an email cover note to by 23 December 2019.

We acknowledge the Wurundjeri people and other peoples of the Kulin nation as the traditional owners of the land on which our work in the community takes place. We pay our respects to their Elders past and present.

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