From the Executive Officer’s Desk: October 2020

Dear Partners,

I am pleased to announce that PCPs have received an extension to 30 June 2021. At this stage, it is uncertain what this will mean for expectations in the New Year, however it enables us to fully commit to supporting existing commitments and support recovery efforts in the coming months.

September has been an exciting month of rolling out workforce capacity building, with two new IEPCP led initiatives taking a pandemic recovery lens. Our ‘Bounce Forward: Urban Resilience in the context of covid19’ forum brought together various disciplines from across the seven East Region councils to hear from Maree Grenfell, urban resilience expert from the City of Melbourne, and learn how to apply the City Resilience framework to their work, and thrive beyond current challenges. We also heard a local perspective from Lee Robson, Manager Community Resilience from the City of Manningham, on how they are working to respond and support the community to improve wellbeing, and her role in strengthening leadership and integration to enable local government to transform going forward. Participants workshopped and shared numerous ways councils have quickly adapted to respond to stresses that have arisen in their communities.

We were also extremely excited to commence our bespoke Leadership for Systems Change course. We have brought together representatives from state and local governments and, health and community service organisations, to build capacity, tackle complex change, and work through uncertainty with confidence. Participants have been tasked with identifying an important challenge within their organisation to work through over the coming weeks. There were several common themes identified for group work in some dynamic sessions, led by well know facilitators Chad Foulkes and Geoff Brown. Participants identified personal aims including:

  • Learning to lead in complexity and uncertainty;
  • Willingness to look in new places and challenge old ways;
  • Learning new skills that I can apply in my work and life;
  • Ongoing collaborations may emerge – seeking opportunities that benefit the region;
  • Making an impact – to create resilient communities;
  • Developing relationships with others and solutions from the group.

Interestingly, participants also valued and recognised the importance of having a creative space to think and focus on growth and innovation, away from the daily grind.

Internally, we have been delighted to welcome a new member of the team: Nang Souhaphone as program support officer, working with our Access and Inclusion partnerships until December. Nang is a recent graduate of Holmesglen’s Community Services, where she was also a student ambassador, she is also a graduate of the Opening Doors program at Link Health and Community, where she did an internship. Nang has volunteered with another of our partners: Family Access Network, where she supported young homeless people. I invite you to pour a coffee and tune in to our “coffee with” interview and hear more from Nang in person.

Sadly though, we are saying farewell to Sophie Allen, who will be leaving after seven years to join the Department of Health and Human Services as Senior Policy Officer in the Coordination and Engagement team (Information and Analytics Unit) to assist with the Covid19 response and recovery. Sophie has had key portfolios of research and evaluation, prevention of violence against women and gender equity, health literacy, and has pulled together mountains of sector information over the years to disseminate in our e-bulletin and upload to our website and on The Well portal. Sophie’s sense of humour, cooking expertise, as well as her book and restaurant recommendations, will be greatly missed, as well as her amazing writing and collaboration skills.

In broader news, we contributed to the consultation on the National Preventative Health Strategy. It was encouraging to see Partnerships were seen as a key element to achieving prevention outcomes, which we welcomed, and we shared our comments on the need for funded infrastructure and expertise to drive prevention partnerships, and the need for investment in building the capability of a prevention workforce, including beyond the health sector. We also discussed the need for a primary prevention focus that addresses the social determinants, and that the strategy would not be complete without a focus on climate change and climate impacts on health, where our catchment local governments are very active.

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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