WCC Annual Report 2014-15 - Page 12

CLIENT SERVICES COMMUNITY INFORMATION AND REFERRAL The Client Services team provides a range of programs and services including an information, support and referral service to connect our community to the people, services and organisations they need. Our community information volunteers have been busy ensuring community members had access to services, community groups and other activities in the local area. Through emergency relief and case management services, we provide financial and other support to those experiencing hardship. This includes our successful housing brokerage project which helps people access the private rental market through the provision of no interest loans. Whittlesea Connect Community Transport Service provides transport for disadvantaged Whittlesea residents who have trouble getting to health appointments, social groups and other important commitments. Whittlesea Volunteer Resource Service connects individuals looking for volunteering opportunities with organisations seeking volunteers. ACHIEVEMENTS $160,834 7,064 4,600 1,733 1,099 940 906 448 352 280 178 50 Distributed in Emergency Relief Community transport trips Community information contacts made Emergency relief assessments made Casework appointments provided Community members assisted towards volunteering People registered for Community Transport Tax help appointments provided Community group trips provided Individuals assisted with intensive casework Local volunteers trained Registered organisations Whittlesea Community Connections Annual Report 2014 -15 WCC partnered with Community Information and Support Victoria this year to deliver our own 9 week course for our new volunteers. The certified course prepares our volunteers for working with vulnerable clients and ensures they have the confidence to support people seeking assistance. 7 students graduated from the course, most of whom are still volunteering with WCC. Highlight: This year, our International Women’s Day celebration was held at the City of Whittlesea offices. A new award structure was adopted to ensure that all nominees were recognized rather than just those who received awards. Congratulations to the 14 women who were acknowledged for the amazing contributions they have made to the local community. EMERGENCY RELIEF AND CASEWORK SUPPORT During 2014-15, our ER volunteers assisted clients with a range of challenges including access to food, medication, education expenses and housing costs to name a few. We accessed a further $27,000 in discretionary funds to support clients with access to medical equipment, whitegoods, baby items and other essentials. This year, ER services across the nation took a hit with the national budget for Emergency Relief Services decreasing by around 20%. This will no doubt have an impact on the level of assistance we are able to provide to community members and has caused great concern and anxiety across the sector. 12