Endeavour Ministries in 2018 has continued to offer a wide range of services aimed primarily at providing assistance to families and individuals who are in crisis, which can be for a whole range of reasons – financial stress, homelessness, anxiety, depression, loneliness, mental illness relationship breakdown etc
Everything that is done as part of Endeavour Ministries Inc. is about seeking to help people through crises with the hope of providing enough of the supports that are needed to allow them to see “light at the end of the tunnel” and some hope for a better, more stable and secure future for themselves and, in many cases, their families.
THE ANDREWS CENTRE
2018 has been a very busy year with many challenges but also many special moments where one or other – or a combination – of the many services offered has made a significant difference to the life of the person of persons assisted. So many times we have heard comments such as “I honestly don’t know where my son and I would have been if it hadn’t been for the support from the Andrews Centre”. “We are very grateful for the Centre’s help and hope that the Andrews Centre is around for many years to come so they can continue to help disadvantaged families and people in our community” “No school or counsellor could provide the level of support that this Centre gives. I really don’t know how we could manage without it”
Over the past twelve months we have had more than 1200 interviews with clients seeking emergency assistance for themselves and/or their families. Food also included the cost of the two meals programs run each Monday and Thursday. We are most grateful for donations of food this year from different individuals, the Uniting Church, Reema Pre-School, Narre Hills Community Church and a supply of bread from the Endeavour Hills Police.
New shelving in our Food Relief room has made it much easier for families to pick the food items they might need “off the shelf”
The rising cost of rental ( now averaging around $380 per week in Endeavour Hills) has put a huge strain on many low income families who struggle to cover the cost of rent as well as rising utility costs. Thanks to funding from the Lyndle White Foundation and the Myer Foundation, we have been able over the past 12 months to assist 84 families in housing stress either with rent arrears, emergency accommodation or with help with rent in advance and/or bond on newly acquired accommodation. The program is called “Responsible Rescue” and it encompasses not only financial assistance but also opportunities for families to explore ways to best manage and maximise limited income through programs such as “Money Minded” one on one budgeting advice, and help to Centrepay utility bills. Financial help has been provided to meet many of the emergency needs of our disadvantaged families, especially where some unforeseen circumstance arise (eg accident, illness, – even a house fire where the family lost everything) These bills have included utilities, upfront specialist fees or chemist bills, education expenses, car repairs or transport costs.
o LINEN. Many homeless people require bedding and household goods once they actually find somewhere to stay. Thanks to a significant donation from the local Uniting Church to supplement our supply, we have been able to help many families with sheets, blankets, doonas, pillows etc We have also provided people with swags
o CLOTHING & HOUSEHOLD GOODS – especially helpful for families moving into accommodation, or individuals needing to present well for job interviews.
o FURNITURE – beds, couches, televisions, chests of drawers, fridges and washing machines have been supplied to needy families this year
o MEDICAL EQUIPMENT The Centre has a comprehensive supply of medical aids such as wheelchairs, crutches, commode chairs, walkers, shower chairs, vapourizes and nebulizers so that we can loan these to families in need at no cost
o SHOWERS The Centre also provides for the very practical need that many homeless have – namely somewhere to have a shower and shave!
o LOAN CARS There have been two loan cars “on the go” this year but unfortunately our Subaru “gave up the ghost” in September. These cars are loaned out at no cost to the recipient apart from the cost of the petrol. Our Corolla continues to help many families when their own car breaks down and thy have no means to get children to school or themselves to work! It is currently being used by a single mother who is also an aged care nurse who was spending a considerable amount of her limited pay trying to cover the cost of a loan car
o LOAN SCOOTER We have been able to add an electric scooter to our loan collection this year and this is currently being used by an elderly lady who lost her licence and independence after suffering a recurrence of cancer.
loan car –the ‘purple mobile”/One very grateful recipient
NO INTEREST LOANS
This has been an invaluable service for many of our struggling families this year. Not only are they able to access loans at no interest but are also able to repay directly from a Centrelink benefit at an affordable rate. Every loan is made in the context of a comprehensive budget analysis which is printed out so that it might benefit the loan recipient when contemplating other financial commitments. Loans for whitegoods also included a significant cost saving through the Good Guys’ special no interest loan discount deal. There were also many loans to ensure financially struggling families were able to afford the compulsory laptop required by the local secondary college.
Every Monday at St James Hall Dandenong, anywhere between 60 and 90 people arrive for a home cooked two course meal provided by our amazing team of volunteers who not only provide the meal but also provide a listening ear, friendship and support to those who come. People with specific needs are directed to where they can get help – including the Andrews Centre. “Extra’s” including different fruits and other staples are also provided to the dinner guests to take home. The Andrews Centre also has a meal every Thursday lunch time where the guests this year have enjoyed some practical advice on subjects of their interest provided by Rosemary who heads up our psychology team. Both these meals provide important nutritional benefits but also provide a valuable social outlet for many lonely and socially isolated individuals.
Beginning the work of preparing hampers!
The end of the year saw very generous donations of Christmas food and toys from St James Church Dandenong, The Sisterhood, Endeavour Hills Neighbourhood Centre and Uniting Church, the staff at Gleneagles Secondary College and a number of generous individuals. St Paul Apostle Catholic Church and the Lionesses also made up a total of 17 beautiful hampers for us to distribute, As a result we were able to give away around 90 hampers, many with toys.
Christmas also meant a special dinner for our Monday and Thursday meal “regulars”. Thursday meals included both a proper Christmas dinner with turkey, ham and trappings as well as a “Christmas in July”- any excuse for a celebration!! The Monday Meals team put on and end of year spectacular where every guest was given a hamper and a free framed portrait of themselves in the church gardens provided by their professional photographer Dev Mahesan and his team. This year 115 meals were provided, along with 103 hampers and 48 presents for the children! Thank you to all our faithful team of volunteers so ably headed by Rob and Roslyn Daniels
Unfortunately there is never enough housing available to meet the very great need for this service. Over the past twelve months we have provided housing for 10 families and 2 singles. All were homeless and in desperate need of somewhere to live. They generally stay for a period of around three months. Our own case worker and the housing support worker from WAYSS work with them to overcome any barriers to them achieving stable and more permanent accommodation. Two of the families have been in our accommodation for more extended periods due to the complexity of their particular situations. One of these families involved a father who took over sole custody of his two young girls but had nowhere to live with them. After much work to help him overcome barriers to affordable housing he is now in private rental and doing well. The other family is still with us and we are working to provide them with the legal help they need to appeal a government decision to deport them after they were abandoned by the mother’s Australian born husband. Other families have included a number who have been victims of domestic violence who have benefited from the many services available at the Centre, including emergency relief, material aid and counselling. One mother lost her home because she was forced to leave her work to care for her autistic son with mental illness issues. She simply could not keep up with rental costs where she was living. She has now found more affordable rental and cannot thank us enough for the help she was given. Many have needed bedding when they have come to us and we have been able to supply furniture and whitegoods to some who found private rental but had no furniture or household goods to move in with.
Some of the team take time to celebrate a birthday
This has definitely been the busiest year ever for our counselling service, By early October we actually had to close our books for all the psychologists because their waiting lists were so long and there really was no chance that anyone else would be able to see them this year! So many people are desperately in need of the services the Andrews Centre provides because they are simply not in a position to pay the standard rate of $160 required for a visit to the psychologist. Even with the Medicare rebate of $84.00 they cannot afford the gap. Depending on the complexity of a given client’s issue, the maximum number of visits available under Medicare may or may not be adequate to meet their needs. It often isn’t!!
The Andrews Centre continues to be there primarily to make sure everybody can afford to receive the counselling they need. For all who are eligible for psychology sessions through Medicare, there is no additional charge and for those financially disadvantaged who are not eligible for Medicare, charges are minimal or sessions are covered in full by the Andrews Centre. Over $24,375.00 was spent directly covering counselling fees on behalf of needy clients as well as assessments and reports. Counsellors do not have access to Medicare payments, so the Centre subsidises all clients on a healthcare card who need the particular expertise our counselling team provides. Additional costs associated with providing the counselling services include administration (photocopy, printing, stationery etc), rental, rates, utilities, insurance and resources amounting in the last 12 months to an extra $35,890.44 We most sincerely thank The Andrews Foundation and City of Casey for their financial help to keep this very important service going We also thank the volunteers who give of their time and expertise to do administration and reception each day to support the counselling team
We are so fortunate to have the services of a whole team of psychologists committed to all that the Andrews Centre stands for and who have dedicated extra time and energy to provide other helps to their clients, including home visits and supportive letters, reports or accompanying clients to important meetings. This year we have welcomed the addition of Silvana, a qualified and experienced social worker and counsellor, to our counselling team. Clients with complex situations requiring the services of a social worker or case manager are referred to her and she has already done great work to support these clients through difficult situations so that they are able to get “back on track” and in control of their particular situations.
Over the past twelve months there have been over 4,500 individual appointments for counselling at the Andrews Centre as well as two group counselling programs and a support group for families of alcoholics. Referrals to the Andrews Centre come from an ever increasing number of doctors, paediatricians and other health professionals. A number of young people are being referred from schools in the local area and beyond. and Centrelink Social Workers and other agencies are also referring clients to us. For many families struggling financially the Andrews Centre is a vital service allowing them to access services they would otherwise struggle to afford. The feedback from clients garnered from recent evaluation forms showed just how valuable and vital this service is to many struggling with grief, anxiety, depression, trauma relationship breakdown and many other issues. It can literally save lives!
c. GROUP COUNSELLING KEYS TO CONNECT
There have been 2 very successful groups run third and fourth terms this year at the Centre – one for upper primary students and one for older adolescents. We were able to provide the program to many financially disadvantaged families thanks to a $10,000 grant from the Commonwealth Bank The course aims to help children and adolescents understand their own and others’ emotions and needs
Topics covered included ‘Communication’, “Language’, ‘Conversation Skills’ ‘Friendly Behaviour’ ‘Body and ‘Problems Solving Skills’. There have been seven children attending our junior group and four participants in the adolescent group. The majority of children attending have a diagnosis of autism and/or social struggles with low self-esteem, which often makes them vulnerable to bullying and social isolation. The group provides very important teaching around understanding their emotions and others’ emotions and responding to these in appropriate ways. They work on perspective taking and being able to communicate and respond to others appropriately. Children learn problem solving strategies to empower them to work through challenges they face as they attempt to build relationships. What is wonderful about group sessions is that the children not only learn skills but they immediately get to practise them with each other in a supportive, trusting environment. Feedback is provided to parents and strategies recommended to them to practise during the week to reinforce skills. The groups have had a very high retention and both children and parents have been engaged throughout the sessions. The feedback on this programme was overwhelming positive. .Here is one example
“The biggest blessing in this very difficult year was finding the Andrews Centre. Emma Healey and the caring staff at the Centre take such excellent care of our autistic son The social skills workshop and private counselling have helped him find a footing in society and have given him a surge of confidence. They take the gentle but encouraging approach. Before I was alone in my journey with my son. No school or counsellor could provide the level of support this Centre gives. I really don’t know how we could manage without it “
FREE LEGAL COUNSEL
Mr Noel Martin L.L.B.(Hons) B Juris. continues to provide many disadvantaged people with valuable legal advice, which is often an important additional support alleviating stress for people struggling with high anxiety as a result of circumstances such as family breakdown or domestic violence. Noel has been invaluable in helping many clients who have feel helpless in the face of a complex legal system which renders them powerless to act to protect themselves or find justice in their particular circumstances.
Education also extended to providing a course in money management entitled “Money Minded” run by Bill Matthews and focused on such things as budgeting and money saving measures. One on one tutoring continues to be provided at the Centre so that identified learning disabilities can be addressed. In addition the Centre provided Migrant English classes – such an important service for people in our community isolated by a language barrier. Last year Judy had three Spanish students and Flori taught two Romanian men.
A mother shares her story
The Andrews Centre has run two sessions this year to help educate a number of our clients who struggle to cope with children with disabilities and really need the support a NDIS package would bring them.
The seminar included a guest presenter with expertise in service provision but also mothers willing to share their stories of how they have successfully navigated the system. This is particularly important for many of our clients who often do not have the capacity or confidence to accurately and comprehensively represent their child’s needs and required family’s support. The seminars assisted families with their NDIS application so that it accurately reflects the level of funding they require.
In addition to the weekly meals and the opportunities for people to be involved in other community groups such as the Lionesses who meet in the front room, the Centre continues to run a monthly quilting group entitled “Sew Loved”.
It is a great way to build friendships at the same time as pursuing a favourite hobby! The group has also made some beautiful quilts to donate to families in need. Unfortunately our beloved co-ordinator has had to retire as of the end of this year, so we are hoping to find a replacement for the year ahead.
A fun day at the garden when we learnt how to make pizzas using produce from the garden
The community garden continues to be a great source of enjoyment for many as well as a centre of productivity! Our community meals have enjoyed much of the produce this year in the weekly meals including tomatoes, zucchinis, potatoes, lemons, pumpkins and different fruits in season. This year we have been able to add a composting toilet (very necessary for us “oldies”) and a green house so that we can raise seedlings in cooler weather.
OUTINGS & EVENTS
This year, thanks to Judy acquiring some free tickets, we were able to afford 57 lucky individuals a free trip to, and a day of free rides at ,the new Gumbuya World. Despite the unseasonal rain, it was a great day and everyone thoroughly enjoyed the range of activities on offer. The Centre was also able to secure tickets to a Magic Show and Circus Quirkis for families to enjoy together.
ENDEAVOUR OPPORTUNITY SHOP
Over the past 24 years Endeavour Op Shop has been a major source of funding for the activities of the Andrews Centre. The shop is also a valuable resource when it comes to providing clothing, furniture and household goods for families in need. The team at the shop do an amazing job keeping the shop going as each week they not only clean and serve, organize and re-organize ,but also sort through mountains of donations to make sure only the best and most sellable itemsbfind a place in the shop. Two of the team managers (Liz McLennan and Jenny Corcoris) and a number of the other volunteers team members have been faithful volunteers since the shop opened – quite amazing! We are grateful also to the many people in our community who donate goods to the shop so that it remains profitable.
It was an absolute delight to have a visit from a local “little people” at Reema Kindergarten who walked around to the Andrews Centre lugging food they had collected for our pantry!
One of the most pleasing aspects of the work we do is to see the wonderful generosity of our wider community. Apart from regular donations to our Op Shop, we also enjoy regular donations of food, furniture, linen, household goods and other materials of use to us either to sell at the shop or to directly give to families in need.
We have had practical help with the maintenance of the Centre, the emergency houses and the garden from Maranatha Christian School, from Pakenham Planet Shakers, and from volunteer handymen such as Alan Lesich and Taj Jedrys who had done many“fix it” jobs at one or other of our venues for which we are very grateful!
Pakenham Planet Shakers Church do a wonderful cleanup job around all the gardens at the Andrews Centre
Endeavour Hills Men’s Shed kindly donated and built some wonderful shelving for us at the Centre so that we had somewhere to store linen and swags for the homeless
Endeavour Hills Rotary ran a dinner to raise funds for the Centre and the Endeavour Hills Police and Friends ran yet another Charity Golf Day to also help raise funds.
Endeavour Hills Police presenting $7000 cheque Rotary Dinner at the Centre
Rotary Dinner at the Centre
It has been a busy but rewarding year where much has been accomplished because of the generosity of many groups and individuals who volunteer their time and/or their finances to make sure the most disadvantaged in our community or those in crisis for whatever reason, are supported and helped at their time of greatest need. It is a great joy each time we hear of families who have overcome adversity , have found work or accommodation, have come through times of depression to find hope and “light at the end of the tunnel”. Sometimes it takes years and sometimes it is more short term. However it happens, it makes what we do all worthwhile and we thank all who support us to keep this ministry going!!