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Building Relationships in 2015

Thursday, 22 January 2015

Building strong relationships within our community is important if we want to achieve our goals. The McCusker Centre for Action on Alcohol and Youth (MCAAY), Consumers of Mental Health WA (CoMHWA) and Hope Community Services serve the WA community in very different ways but all are committed to building relationships in 2015.

The McCusker Centre for Action on Alcohol and Youth

The McCusker Centre celebrates its fifth birthday in 2015 and is looking forward to a productive year ahead, building on its activity to prevent harm from alcohol among young people.

"The McCusker Centre will continue to raise awareness of the magnitude of alcohol-related harms among young people, the evidence-based approaches we know can work, and the need to act without delay," says Executive Officer Julia Stafford.

WA's liquor laws were recently reviewed by an Independent Committee which made a number of recommendations with a strong focus on protecting children and young people from the harmful effects of alcohol.

"The Government's response to the recommendations was tabled in Parliament late last year and while it includes some welcome developments, it misses important opportunities to protect children and young people," says Julia. "In 2015, the McCusker Centre will continue to urge the WA Government to implement measures which will protect young people as speedily as possible - including curbs on the secondary supply of alcohol - and to take further action as recommended by the Independent Committee to prevent harm from alcohol."

The Alcohol Advertising Review Board is an initiative of the McCusker Centre and Cancer Council WA.

"The Alcohol Advertising Review Board will continue to provide the community with an avenue to voice its concerns about alcohol advertising and to advocate for strong, independent, legislated controls on all forms of alcohol advertising and promotion," says Julia.

The Action on Alcohol Awards will also take place as part of the McCusker Centre's fifth birthday celebrations.

"Keep an eye out for announcements later this year when we'll be calling for nominations," says Julia.

"Most of all, the McCusker Centre is looking forward to continuing to work in coalitions and in partnership with our colleagues and to building new relationships to encourage action on alcohol."

Consumers of Mental Health WA (CoMHWA)

CoMHWA is the peak voice for mental health consumers in Western Australia.

"CoMHWA has some great projects and events to look forward to in 2015," says Executive Director Shauna Gaebler. "The Collaboration to Recovery Project (C2R) focuses on improving regional referral and inter-service coordination to better support people with multiple needs, such as mental health and substance use issues."

"CoMHWA is also establishing a working group for a Peer Support association here in WA."

CoMHWA is aware that many WA community services are preparing to offer more consumer-centred services in 2015.

"We're committed to sharing knowledge of consumer participation and the value of lived experience, including peer support," says Shauna.

CoMHWA also expects to see more coordination across the mental health and alcohol and other drug sectors in 2015.

"With this, we hope to see a focus on partnering with consumers to identify and support what works, in ways that are person-centred, positive and helpful," says Shauna. 

Hope Community Services

Hope Community Services (HOPE) is a not-for-profit organisation that has operated in WA for over a century, providing services to people affected by alcohol and other drug issues and disadvantage. Hope Community Services has grown over the past few years and now includes Goldfields headspace, a community farm in the Midwest, and recent acquisition Extra Edge, which provides services to people in custody and their families.

"We're looking forward to offering more services that are built around the community's needs," says Executive Manager of Services Lee Lombardi. "We want to offer the right kind of help wherever someone may be in their journey."

Lee says that community services need to find new ways to collaborate.

"As traditional funding streams tighten, organisations will have to work together instead of having a more competitive approach. I think this will present opportunities to be more innovative in how we work with our clients."

Hope Community Services will continue to evolve and to support meaningful change in people's lives.

Says Lee, "What this means to me is not only addressing those issues or obstacles that are of pressing concern today, in this instant, but walking alongside people on the path to a meaningful and fulfilling life, as they define it."



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