October is the time when there are a flurry of AGMs happening in the region, which is a wonderful opportunity to hear about the extensive achievements of partner organisations and staff in the community. I was privileged to be able to attend my first Family Access Network AGM, where I listened to emotional accounts from vulnerable young people who have been supported in life changing ways. I also attended my first AGM at Eastern Volunteers, who showcased a heart-warming video of people in the community receiving social support and transport from the wonderful volunteers who spoke of their mutual enjoyment of ‘giving back to community’ and being involved in meaningful ways.
Healthy Ageing Network
IEPCP facilitated the first network meeting of the EMR Local Government Active Healthy Ageing officers to discuss potential for collaboration on healthy ageing in the region. With four new active healthy ageing council officers in the region and three councils already members of the WHO Age Friendly Cities Global Network, there was a positive view about the benefit of coming together regularly to develop a more strategic and collaborative approach to healthy ageing.
NARI Elder Abuse forum: At the invitation of the Eastern Community Legal Centre, we attended the National Ageing Research Institute (NARI) annual seminar which showcased innovations in policy, practice and research in Elder Abuse including; work in diverse communities with aboriginal elders and Greek seniors, the value of intergenerational connections, and the challenge of addressing accepted cultural norms and values. Carers Victoria also spoke about prevention, and we heard how the 10 Victorian prevention networks are contributing to a better understanding of the drivers of elder abuse. NARI, are researching the efficacy of tools to screen for elder abuse, and Victoria Police shared how they are responding to elder abuse. Many thanks to our key partner, ECLC for their invitation to this event.
Women with Disabilities Forum: This 2 part workshop was held at Manningham City Council and delivered by Women with Disabilities Victoria. The workshop explored the intersectional challenges that women with disabilities face and was attended by community members, Victoria Police, Manningham Council, disability and other service providers.
Yarn Up: This half day consultation was held at Manningham City Council on behalf of Inner Eastern Division of DHHS. The consultation was designed to inform the development of a Committee to address issues relevant to the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander (ATSI) community of the Inner East and included ATSI community members as well as service providers. The group were asked what the committee should look like, how it should function and the type of issues it should address.
There has been some significant action planning occurring between Access Health and Community, Carrington Health, Link Health and Community, Women’s Health East, with the IEPCP as backbone for Social Inclusion health promotion intervention in the Inner East. We are super excited to have secured some time with Dr Berni Murphy from Deakin University to provide input on working in place, to support practitioners. We also ran another successful practitioner forum, this time with a focus on the topic of loneliness – an increasing condition affecting health and wellbeing, with special guest presenter Dr Robert Eres, Iverson Health Innovation Research Institute, Swinburne University of Technology.
This month I also had the opportunity to meet with Emma Wilkinson, from the City of Boroondara to discuss Council activities in Access and Inclusion, and to share information about the Inner East Integrated Health Promotion Plan focussing in Social Inclusion, and our work with the Volunteer sector.
The IEPCP, alongside Volunteer Support Services in the East, has established a working group to explore opportunities for supporting and strengthening social inclusion through volunteering. The group has identified two projects for 2019 focused on:
• cultural diversity, and
• inclusion of people with disabilities in the volunteer space.
This second project aligns with a current state initiative, VictoriaALIVE, currently being implemented by Neighbourhood Houses Victoria, Volunteering Victoria and the Victorian Men’s Sheds Association. We look forward to sharing details of this work in the coming months.
Liveability and place-based intervention
This month I also joined fellow PCP Executive Officers from across the State to provide input for a consultation on developing guidelines for working in Place. We explored key questions such as What are the essential ingredients for running a successful place-based project?, How do we embed the approach in the community? and How do we best evaluate our approach – particularly measuring whether we achieved the intended outcomes? The consultation was led by Andrew Baechle Director, Priority Strategic Projects, Strategy & Planning Division, Department of Health and Human Services.
Planning is also underway in partnership with the Department of Health and Human Services and the Outer East PCP, to deliver a forum for health promotion and local government staff around Liveability and Practice, on 8th November. We are very fortunate to have Petrina Dodds-Buckely & Pieta Bucello from the Shire of Cardinia presenting on their award winning Municipal Public Health and Wellbeing Plan which is framed around the liveability domains; and Dr Maureen Murphy from University of Melbourne, presenting on the Food Environment.
The Inner and Outer East PCPs have recently met to progress work on the development of an Outcomes Framework for The Well. The meeting was facilitated by one of our partners and Board member Viv Cunningham Smith (CEO, Eastern Volunteers), who has extensive expertise in this area, and we are especially grateful for her guidance. For those not familiar, The Well is an online platform developed to provide comprehensive, evidence-based information, resources and local wisdom about a range of different health and wellbeing topics relevant to the Eastern Metropolitan Region and to support shared knowledge for community wellbeing.
Upcoming annual IEPCP partner forum
And although it is difficult to believe we are thinking about December already, the IEPCP have excitedly been preparing for our annual partner forum, to be held on 6 December, when we take the opportunity to share our key achievements, and thank our partner organisations for their contribution to collaboration and improving health and wellbeing – something I am very much looking forward to.