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Supporting vulnerable communities to understand and access COVID-19 vaccination

Supporting vulnerable communities to understand and access COVID-19 vaccination

Better Chances Forum (BCF) is a collaboration supporting better chances for children, young people and their families to lead safe, happy and healthy lives.

On 20 October we held a zoom conversation about how we can support our vulnerable community members to understand the risks and benefits, make an informed choice and access COVID-19 vaccinations.

While COVID-19 vaccine supplies are now more plentiful in Northern NSW our vulnerable communities are facing greater risk if they are not vaccinated and may face barriers in taking up their choice to be vaccinated.

The conversation included a discussion panel with:

  • Carolyn Lloyd, Immunisation Coordinator Clinical Nurse Consultant, North Coast Public Health Unit, NSW Health
  • Dr Brett Lynam, General Practitioner and Healthy North Coast Population Health Clinical Adviser
  • Georgina Cohen, CEO Rekindling the Spirit.

What did we learn?

Many community members are keen to understand the technology behind different COVID-19 vaccines. Medical professionals have never seen this level of interest in vaccine technology, types or brands for flu vaccines or other population-wide immunisation programs.

The panel helped us unpack some of the questions that community members are asking. Here are some of the issues we discussed keeping in mind when supporting vulnerable community members to understand the risks and benefits, make decisions and access vaccination.

  • COVID-19 is a new disease that humans have not been exposed to before, unlike the flu, which we have some resistance to. That’s why it poses so much risk to our community, and particularly vulnerable community members.
  • mRNA technology used in the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines has been around for about a decade now. Although these vaccines are new, mRNA technology is not unknown and research and development for these types of vaccines has been going on for decades in the scientific community.
  • Studies in 2020 saw more people participate in testing than for other vaccinations we have been using for decades. COVID-19 vaccines were developed faster using existing technologies, but without cutting corners in development, testing or approval. This was possible because of the massive number of people infected and available to participate in testing, and a huge input of time, funding and resources with most experts in the industry working intensively on COVID-19 vaccine development in 2020-21.
  • To learn more about COVID-19 vaccines visit the Australian Government’s COVID-19 vaccines website.
  • Our vulnerable community members who are not vaccinated, and young children who cannot access vaccination, will carry a big share of the burden of risk in the coming weeks and months.
  • History, past policy, and past and some current practice has eroded some community members’ trust in governments and services. This can affect how some people think and feel about vaccination for COVID-19.
  • Some BCF members work with vulnerable young people who have no Medicare card and are reluctant to visit health services. Some collaboration between services, over time, may be needed to support some young people to understand and access vaccination. Contact BCF if you need support linking young people with relevant services.
  • A Medicare card is not essential to access COVID-19 vaccination.
  • We do not offer individual advice that we are not qualified to give. Seek medical advice for yourself and your family when you need to. Encourage your staff, participants and customers to seek individual medical advice when they need to too.

Contacts and links

https://www.nature.com/articles/d41586-021-02483-w

https://www.science.org/content/blog-post/mrna-s-history–and-its-future

Applications are now open for the 2022 Regional Youth Taskforce

Applications are now open for the 2022 Regional Youth Taskforce

Applications are now open for the 2022 Regional Youth Taskforce

The Regional NSW Youth Taskforce is a Ministerial advisory group that advises the Minister for Regional Youth on issues that affect young people living in regional NSW. The Taskforce provides young people from all corners of rural and regional NSW with a unique opportunity to meet with government and inform decision making that will have flow-on benefits for their peers, communities and hometowns.

The Taskforce is comprised of 18 diverse members, aged 12-24, with two members representing each of NSW’s nine regions. The Taskforce will meet four times throughout the year either online or in person. Travel costs and accommodation will be covered for Regional Youth Taskforce members travelling across NSW for meetings.

The Taskforce is an initiative by the Deputy Premier and Office for Regional Youth, headed by the State’s first-ever Minister for Regional Youth, the Hon. Bronnie Taylor. The Office for Regional Youth is responsible for delivering a broad range of strategic programs to address regional youth issues and ensure young people have every opportunity to live, work and thrive in regional NSW.

The 2022 Regional Youth Taskforce will engage young people on issues such as entering the workforce, mental health and public transport in the regions. The Taskforce provides young people with the ability to influence important decisions the Government makes on these topics and many more.

Applications are open now and close at midnight Sunday 21 November 2021 and young people aged 12-24 from regional areas are eligible to apply. The third Taskforce will be appointed from January 2022 until 31 December 2022.

To find out more or apply, visit: nsw.gov.au/RegionalYouthTaskforce.

Act for intersex rights

Act for intersex rights

Noah and his parents are speaking up to stop children born with an intersex variation being operated on as an infant without the consent of the child.

Noah’s not alone.  Around 1.7 percent of babies born in Australia are intersex, born with physical sex characteristics that are less common, varying from social or medical norms for male or female bodies.  Just as skin and hair colour vary along a spectrum, so do our sex characteristics.  But many intersex people still don’t have a say in medical procedures performed on their bodies which modify their sex characteristics.  These procedures can have lifelong consequences.

The I in LGBTIQ+ refers to those of us born with these bodily variations of sex characteristics. Like everyone else, intersex people have diverse genders and sexualities, defined by their hearts and minds, not their body parts.

Our community fights alongside intersex people because everyone should be able to make their own choices about what happens to their own body. It’s about equality, for all of us.

That’s why, together with Intersex Human Rights Australia, we’re coming together to support Noah and his loving family in their mission to end unnecessary medical procedures that modify the sex characteristics of intersex people without their consent. But if we are to achieve this change we need to lift up the voices of intersex people to raise awareness of what it means to be intersex, and what they want to be changed.

Will you help spread the word? https://www.facebook.com/EqualityAustralia/videos/727297308665268/

All human bodies are different and intersex variations are a natural part of human diversity. By letting doctors perform unnecessary medical procedures that modify people’s sex characteristics without their consent, governments deny intersex people the right to non-discriminatory healthcare that affirms their diversity. That’s why intersex people across Australia have long advocated that governments end these harmful practices. Momentum is building, with the ACT and Victoria committing publicly to introduce new laws soon, but there’s more to be done. Help Noah build that momentum, by sharing his story.

Will you watch and share Noah’s story?

Young People’s Choice Spotify playlist from the Office of the Advocate for Children and Young People

Young People’s Choice Spotify playlist from the Office of the Advocate for Children and Young People

Young people told the Office of the Advocate for Children and Young People in consultations that they wanted opportunities that were not on Zoom, so we created the playlist as a way for young people to submit their favourite songs to share with all young people in NSW. More than 700 young people responded, submitting up to three songs each to create a playlist of more than 16 hours of music to enjoy.

The Young People’s Choice playlist is now available and you can access it here:  https://open.spotify.com

Click on the above link and save it to your favourites, so you can enjoy the music selected by young people in NSW.

This is a challenging time for our community and it is important that we continue to support young people.  Please share the playlist link with the young people in your networks, so that they will have an opportunity to enjoy music selected by their peers.

Thank you for supporting this initiative and for continuing to empower young people to lead the charge in protecting themselves and their communities throughout this pandemic.

YFoundations new report: Young, in trouble and with nowhere to go

YFoundations new report: Young, in trouble and with nowhere to go

For this report, Yfoundations conducted 143 interviews with caseworkers, managers and leaders in the Youth Justice and SpeYfoundations would like to share our new research report with you, entitled Young, in trouble and with nowhere to go: Homeless adolescents’ pathways into and out of detention in NSW.

Read the report here

cialist Homelessness Services system. This research sheds light on the two-way relationship between adolescent homelessness and incarceration in our state.

It demonstrates that vulnerable young people are being held in detention every year in NSW, simply because they are homeless. And even when these vulnerable adolescents are released, the report shows that too many are exiting detention only to insecure accommodation and homelessness.

Register for our virtual launch panel

Join us for the virtual launch of the report on Tuesday 26 October at 11 am where Yfoundations’ Research and Policy Manager, Dr Elizabeth Watt will present the report’s main findings and recommendations.

We will also hear from three other panellists who will discuss their knowledge and experience of supporting young people who have come into contact with the youth justice and homelessness systems

Access and Inclusion Community Survey from Byron Shire

Access and Inclusion Community Survey from Byron Shire

Byron Shire Council invites you to complete the All Welcome – Access and Inclusion Community Survey to inform the next Disability Inclusion Action Plan.

Please take a few minutes to tell us how you feel about access and inclusion in the Byron Shire and what we can do to improve it.

When something is accessible, everyone can use it.

When something is inclusive, everyone can take part.

If you prefer a paper copy, you can download the easy read version and drop it off in person to Byron Shire Council at 70 Station Street, Mullumbimby, or email it to [email protected]

 Survey closes 19 November 2021

Community Sector News

Community Sector News

This week is Community Sector Climate Change Advocacy Week (4-8 October)! Climate change is increasing extreme weather events that threaten our environment, as well as people’s homes, livelihoods, health, quality of life, employment and increases risks and burdens for future generations. See below for three key ways to support #FairFastClimateAction during Community Sector Climate Change Advocacy week – together, we can help push for fair, fast and inclusive climate change action this decade!

A new series of interactive maps developed by the ACOSS/UNSW Sydney Poverty and Inequality Partnership shows how different parts of the country have been impacted by the economic effects of the pandemic. These maps informed yesterday’s COVID Income Support: Analysis of income support in the COVID lockdowns in 2020 and 2021 report. Check out the maps and the report here: https://bit.ly/3ip8j7I

Quick reminder that the 2021 ACOSS Annual General Meeting is coming up on Monday 8 November. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic and associated health and safety concerns, the meeting will be held virtually. Register here.

Social Sector Support Fund – closes Friday, October 8

Social Sector Support Fund – closes Friday, October 8

The $50 million Social Sector Support Fund was announced by the NSW Government in August 2021. It is part of the $200 million support package for not-for profitsopens in new window.

The SSSF is for eligible charities and Not-For-Profits (NFPs) in the social, health, disability and animal welfare service sectors in NSW. The Fund aims to help these organisations continue to deliver services to the community amidst increased demand, and also retain their workforce through COVID-19 outbreaks.

The Fund is targeted at organisations that are ineligible for the NFP JobSaver scheme and are experiencing an increased demand for services and/or a decline in income. Grants paid under the SSSF may include different allocation methods, such as direct payments, an open grants application, and workforce surge payment to support organisations which have had to stand down or temporarily replace staff (e.g. due to self-isolation requirements).

DCJ is administering this fund. The SSSF webpage will be update as more information is available on eligibility, application and assessment processes. SSSF grants will be delivered flexibly to ensure NFPs are supported and can continue to provide services to vulnerable people and communities.

You can register your interestopens in new window for the SSSF. Registration will close on 5:00PM Friday 8 October 2021.

The registration process is simple and will ask for information about your organisation and the services you provide. This will help DCJ to design the processes to effectively allocate SSSF grants. There is no funding commitment from DCJ or by your organisation in registering for the SSSF.

Please note: if you are already receiving the JobSaver paymentopens in new window or will be applying for the NFP JobSaver payment then you will be ineligible for a SSSF grant.

For enquiries, please e-mail: [email protected]

Members sought for the Old Byron Hospital community hub advisory group

Members sought for the Old Byron Hospital community hub advisory group

Byron Bay community members, who want to help shape a new community hub at the Old Byron Hospital site, are encouraged to apply for a position on the advisory group.

Up to eight members are needed for the group to provide advice and community insights into developing a vibrant for-purpose hub, connecting Byron residents to social, wellbeing, arts and culture, and educational services.

The not-for-profit Northern Rivers organisation, Social Futures, has the job of managing the new community facility. For 45 years, Social Futures has been delivering community services in the Northern Rivers, and runs programs in areas of homelessness, housing and employment, youth and family support, mental health and wellbeing, and community inclusivity, including support for people with a disability.

Social Futures CEO Tony Davies said his organisation’s Byron-based housing and homelessness service met daily with local residents feeling the impacts of the pandemic, job losses and the housing shortage.

“Few community service providers are able to find office space Byron Bay. The social impact hub will bring essential community services right into the heart of town,” he said.

“It will be a dynamic community space with a mix of business, community services, health, the arts and education. It will be a wonderful asset for Byron Bay.”

He said the community advisory group would:

  • look at community needs, service gaps and opportunities, then deliver on a shared community vision for the hub. This includes identifying and recommending tenancy applications best suited to community need
  • make recommendations on site fit out, landscaping and operations requirements
  • provide guidance on how any profits can be distributed back into local community groups and projects.

Mr Davies said the social impact hub would have tiered rent with anchor tenants – larger organisations, like a university – supporting affordable rents for local and smaller groups with any profits invested back into local community projects and groups.

“We want to create a vibrant centre in Byron that connects individuals, community groups, charities and other organisations and we want to do that in partnership with the community – this community advisory group is essential.”

Mr Davies said Social Futures would appoint the advisory members, striving to set up a group that represents the diverse Byron community with an array of knowledge and insights.

“We are particularly keen to hear from people in Byron with a long history of involvement in community organisations, and we also want social impact and business representatives to come forward,” he said.

Advisory group members will meet four times a year for around two hours beginning in November and continuing for up to two years, when the social impact hub will be operational. The positions are voluntary.

For more information about the Expression of Interest process for the advisory committee, visit the Social Futures website https://socialfutures.org.au/service/socialimpacthub/.

To apply for a position, fill in the form online. Senior Manager – Business and Social Strategy at Social Futures, Sam Henderson, is also available to answer questions on  0439 652 638  or email: [email protected] Applications close at 5.00 pm on Tuesday 5 October 2021.

 

Mullum Mooves

Mullum Mooves

MULLUM MOOVES is a weekly activity held at the Mullumbimby Cottage every Wednesday (Covid-permitting) from 3.30pm – 5.30pm and is open to 12-17yo. It is a project that targets young people in the Mullumbimby community who are disadvantaged by lack of transport to be able to socialise and form strong relationships with other young people in an environment that is safe and AOD free. The weekly social activities include: DJ workshops, Cooking classes and Feast Nights and Social Sports Activities. For more information phone 0490 801 418

Are you supporting families transitioning back to school after lockdown?

Are you supporting families transitioning back to school after lockdown?

Returning to School – K – Yr 2  There are some great resources available to support families with children and young people returning to school on campus after lockdown. Please find downloadable children’s activity booklets and other links below.

NSW Education – care and connect page

Supporting children returning to school – Nip in the bud fact sheet

BRAVE – online program for the prevention and treatment of anxiety in young people

If you or anyone else needs support click here for a list of 24/7 emergency contacts

Community Sector News

More than 8 out of 10 are Locked Out in Lockdown

The Australian Council of Social Service has found that eighty-five percent of people receiving some form of income support are locked out of receiving any extra Covid Disaster Payment, pushing people on the lowest incomes to the brink of their ability to survive.

ACOSS released the latest update of its ‘Living in Lockdown’ survey, which finds that almost all of the 216 respondents (96%) were seriously struggling with the cost of living and almost half (41.5%) were at risk of homelessness because of the high cost of housing.

“Compared with last year when everyone receiving unemployment and related payments was provided extra support, this year more than 80% are seriously struggling to survive,” said ACOSS Program Director – Social Security, Charmaine Crowe.

“When people can’t afford to cover basic costs like food, rent, electricity, medicine and public transport, they find it harder to travel to get vaccinated and are more exposed to the risk of COVID-19,” said Ms Crowe.

ACOSS CEO Dr Cassandra Goldie said:

“The Australian Institute of Health and Welfare found that there were four times as many deaths from COVID-19 in the lowest socio-economic group (which includes most people on social security payments) compared with the highest socio-economic group. It is unconscionable to leave behind people who most need support.

“Even the OECD is recommending that Australia lift our appallingly low level of unemployment payment – at $44 a day it’s the very lowest rate of all comparable countries. People on Youth Allowance and Austudy are at an even lower rate of $36 a day.

“The Federal Government must urgently extend Disaster Payments to all people on social security or without other incomes including those on temporary visas. As soon as Parliament is recalled, it must pass legislation to lift social security payments to above the poverty line including JobSeeker, Commonwealth Rent Assistance and family payments.”

“The biggest stress people on low incomes face is housing costs – with the highest rate of Commonwealth Rent Assistance for a single person without children at just $70 a week when people in Sydney can’t find rental properties for less than $340 a week (and up to $540 a week in the city).

“ACOSS urges the Federal Government to increase Commonwealth Rent Assistance by at least 50% to better support people afford private rentals.”

Living in Lockdown – Key Findings:

  • 96% are struggling with living costs
  • 85% are ineligible for the COVID disaster payments
  • 41.5% are at risk of homelessness
  • 40% feel less safe

Key Recommendations

  1. Immediately extend COVID Disaster Payments to lift incomes for all people without paid work to at least $600 per week, including those in receipt of social security and those without any other income source at all.
  2. As soon as Parliament resumes in August, pass legislation lifting working-age income support payments (JobSeeker, Youth Allowance, parenting payments and related income support) to the pension rate, which is just above the poverty line (at least $475pw for the single rate). See further below for increases to supplements needed for specific groups.
  3. Index all income support payments twice per year in line with wage growth as well as prices.
  4. Extend income support to all affected by inadequate paid work, including people on temporary visas.
  5. Increase Commonwealth Rent Assistance by 50%.
  6. Provide supplementary payments for people with disability or illness, and single parents, recognising the additional costs they face.
  7. Invest in social housing to address the critical shortfall of supply.

Download the Locked Out in Lockdown survey report here

Are you supporting families transitioning back to school after lockdown?

Are you supporting families transitioning back to school after lockdown?

Returning to School – K – Yr 2There are some great resources available to support families with children and young people returning to school on campus after lockdown. Please find downloadable children’s activity booklets and other links below.

NSW Education – care and connect page

Supporting children returning to school – Nip in the bud fact sheet

BRAVE – online program for the prevention and treatment of anxiety in young people

If you or anyone else needs support click here for a list of 24/7 emergency contacts

TAFE Training and Assessment Scholarships for the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community

TAFE Training and Assessment Scholarships for the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community

TAFE NSW is proud to offer the Training and Assessment Scholarships to the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community. This is a great opportunity to help your Mob by being accredited with the right qualifications to become a trainer. There is a number of opportunities to meet a range of skillsets.

Register your interest  on the TAFE NSW/ Aboriginal Education link below:

Aboriginal Education – Training and Education – TAFE NSW

Important Key Dates

Qualification Date
TAESS00014-V01 Statement of Attainment Enterprise Trainer-Presenting Skill Set

Duration: 8 weeks, Time: 5pm-9pm    Location: Online from home on your own device.

See  Flyer in link for further information

Applications close 10 September 2021
Course commences 11 October 2021
Certificate IV in Training and Assessment

Attend 5 blocks of 5 days a week at either Queanbeyan Campus, Kingscliff Campus or Eora College over 18 months.

In between the study blocks attend a once-a-week Wednesday evening Webinar from 5pm – 9pm over the 18 months from home using your own device.

EOI Open Now
Applications close 18 February 2022
Course commences 2 May 2022
Course finish date 23 November 2023
Training and Assessment Upgrade

See  Flyer in link for further information

900-50200V01- Statement of Attainment in Design and develop assessment tools

This course will be delivered via Microsoft Teams two evenings per week

from 6.30pm –8.30pm for 7 weeks.

Participants attend from home on their own device

Applications close 10 September 2021
Course commences 11 October 2021
900-81213V01 – Statement of Attainment in Address adult language literacy and numeracy skills

This course will be delivered via Microsoft Teams one evening per week from

5pm – 9pm for 7 weeks.

Participants attend from home on their own device.

Applications close 10 September 2021
Course commences 11 October 2021