POSTED: 03rd June 2020 SOURCE: Energy & Water Ombudsman NSW (EWON)
The Energy & Water Ombudsman NSW (EWON) has launched an awareness campaign to highlight the range of energy affordability assistance available to customers impacted by COVID-19.
The campaign targets groups in the community who are already having trouble paying their energy bills, as well as those who are experiencing affordability challenges for the first time including casual workers, families, seniors, CALD and ATSI customers.
Click here to find out more about this campaign.
POSTED: 21st May 2020
Have you been affected by the recent bushfires? Focus Connect is now offering assistance for households within the Macarthur, Wollondilly & Wingecarribee regions affected by the 2019/2020 bushfires.
Available assistance includes:
- Vouchers to purchase food/household/essential items
- Utility bills payment assistance
- Pharmacy/medication payment assistance
ACCESS TO THE PROGRAM
This program is available to individuals residing in the Macarthur, Wollondilly and Wingecarribee regions who have experienced any of the following as a result
of the recent bushfires:
- Loss/damage of home
- Loss/damage of personal/household items
- Loss of income
- Loss of a family member/pet
- Displaced from your home
- Health related impacts
In order for us to determine your eligibility we will conduct an over the phone assessment, this usually takes about 30 minutes. We will ask you to provide some details on how you/your household has been impacted. You will also need to provide certain types of information including:
- Your personal details & contact information
Assistance provided will be assessed on need, ability to meet the programs eligibility criteria, program demand and available resources.
For further information about this program, or to make an appointment, please contact Caitlin Manganaro P. 4627 1188 or E. firstname.lastname@example.org
POSTED: 08th May 2020
Click on READ MORE for important information about changes to our services and programs.
Given the ever-changing situation surrounding COVID-19, we want to connect with you, as a highly valued member of our Focus Connect community and let you know the steps we are taking to navigate through these unprecedented times.
Firstly, be assured that we are taking this situation seriously. The health and wellbeing of our clients, volunteers and staff is at the forefront of everything we do.
With this in mind we have made the following changes to our services and programs:
- All Face-to-Face appointments will now be conducted via the telephone if possible and/or appropriate.
AGED CARE TEAM
- From Thursday, March 19 until further notice, all of our Aged Care Social Support Groups and Individual Social Supports have been cancelled.
- Home Care Packages will continue as normal.
COMMUNITY ENGAGEMENT TEAM
- From Monday, March 23 until further notice, we will be cancelling all of our social and educational groups/activities including Playgroup, Start Right, HIPPY, Parenting programs and Settlement programs.
- Our NDIS Community Access Group will continue to run as normal.
- Individual Services and Primrose Cottage Respite will also continue as normal.
In this time of social distancing, we invite you to stay connected with us via our website and follow us on Facebook, you can also call the office to talk to your contacts.
Other language resources on COVID-19 are available from www.health.nsw.gov.au/Infectious/diseases/Pages/coronavirus-resources-cald.aspx
We will get through this, together.
Stay safe and healthy.
POSTED: 28th April 2020 SOURCE: NSW Government 28th April 2020
International Women's Day at Focus Connect article on page 4
POSTED: 21st February 2020
Event Recap & Photos: Love, Happiness & Wellness Day at The Manse.
On Monday, 10 February 2020 Focus Connect celebrated Seniors Week.
The Poem "Not" by Erin Hanson (see below) was read to mark the occasion and it summed up the theme of the day perfectly.
The seniors who attended the event spoke about, and reminisced, on what they did, their beauty, their cultural experiences, their family, their support for each other, the places they have been, what they believe in and all the people they love, and have loved. They also spoke about seniors sometimes being defined by all the things they are “Not”.
The event featured a toast to celebrate being a senior and included morning tea, a lunch prepared by the Coffee Room members, using natural ingredients and traditional recipes, interactive Valentine Day puzzles and Uruguayan folk dancing from members of Focus Connect Social Support Group.
SENIORS FESTIVAL - 12 - 23 FEBUARARY 2020 - www.seniorsfestival.nsw.gov.au
NOT by Erin Hanson
You are not your age, nor the size of clothes you wear,
You are not a weight, or the color of your hair.
You are not your name, or the dimples in your cheeks.
You are all the books you read, and all the words you speak.
You are your croaky morning voice, and the smiles you try to hide.
You’re the sweetness in your laughter, and every tear you’ve cried.
You’re the songs you sing so loudly when you know you’re all alone.
You’re the places that you’ve been to, and the one that you call home.
You’re the things that you believe in, and the people whom you love.
You’re the photos in your bedroom, and the future you dream of.
You’re made of so much beauty, but it seems that you forgot
When you decided that you were defined by all the things you’re not.
POSTED: 12th February 2020
Ann Tibbles, Focus Connects HIPPY Program Coordinator, shares some beautiful and heartfelt feedback.
As told by Barunaya Shnan, HIPPY Tutor at Focus Connect, about one of her 2019 HIPPY graduates.
Thomas was so excited about the graduation ceremony last night (09/12/2019). He recalled the magician and laughed when he remembered his silly mistakes.
He had all his HIPPY books on the floor and we found his favourites. He liked the experiments and making things he said.
When we reviewed Thomas's portfolio his Mum was crying. She said she was so emotional about the last day of the program. Mum talked about the great support she and her family got from the HIPPY program and staff.
This family has really benefited from doing HIPPY. They said they felt less isoloted, had improved their English skills and were confident that Thomas was now more than ready for school. Through the HIPPY program they learnt that all their children are different, learn at their own pace and in the their own unique manner - and this is to be celebrated.
Feedback from Thomas's teacher is that he has settled into school very well and is a confident and keen learner.
Focus Connect’s HIPPY Program (Home Interaction Program for Parents and Youngsters) is a two year home-based learning and parenting program for families with young children who live in the Campbelltown area . To find our more visit HIPPY Australia.
POSTED: 11th February 2020 SOURCE: SBS Arabic Radio 05th February 2020
Sana Al-Ahmar discussses Focus Connects services and programs, including the Butterfly Program.
(This audio is copyright to SBS)
Program: SBS Arabic Radio Interviewer: Manal Al - Ani Interviewee: Sana Al-Ahmar Duration: 6:57
POSTED: 29th January 2020
Saturday, 25 January 2020 - Year of the Rat.
Chinese New Year is the Chinese festival that celebrates the beginning of a new year on the traditional Chinese calendar. The origin of Chinese New Year is based on a mythical beast, Nian. The people used the colour red and firecrackers to scare away the beast. Chinese New Year is associated with several myths and customs. The festival was traditionally a time to honour deities as well as ancestors.
It is traditional for every family to thoroughly clean their house. Deep cleaning your home before Chinese New Year is important for two reasons: relatives are coming, but also it’s believed to cleanse the home of all the previous year’s negative energy.
It is tradition to use red coloured paper-cuts outs on windows and doors that symbolize longevity, wealth, happiness, and good fortune. The most popular character is the word “fortune” [福].
Children, colleagues and family receive ornate envelopes with various amounts of money from parents, grandparents, and customers respectively, along with blessings and grand wishes of a prosperous and healthy New Year. The amount is traditionally an even number, not divisible by four since it symbolizes death.
It’s believed that all outstanding bills owed to friends and family should be paid before the Chinese New Year, so debt is not carried over into the New Year.
Chinese believe that crying on the 1st day of the Chinese New Year will result in sad times for the remainder of the year. It is also poor form to start the New Year by swearing, getting upset or losing your cool.
On the last day of Chinese New Year, called Lantern Day, everyone walks along the street carrying paper lanterns. This is supposed to light the way for the New Year. The highlight of the Lantern Festival is the Dragon Dance. Beautiful dragons made of paper, silk and bamboo are held overhead, and appear to dance as they make their way along the parade routes.
Chinese New Year Reunion Dinner
Chinese families gather for the annual reunion dinner. Chinese New Year food is a key ingredient to the most important holiday of the year. The food is at the center of celebrations bringing family together to exchange gifts, reminisce and look forward to the New Year. Eating the right food could mean prosperity in the New Year, while the wrong food could misfortune. Most traditional Chinese New Year foods is served because their name sounds like another word meaning happiness, wealth or good fortune. Other foods are chosen because they resemble gold or money.
Whole Fish (abundance, prosperity)
The Chinese word for fish sounds like the Chinese word for “surplus.” Fish is typically served whole at the end of the meal as a sign of surplus at the end of the year. The surplus is seen as an important factor to making more next year.
Broccoli or Cauliflower (riches)
Broccoli or cauliflower dishes are served because of the stalks. Each stalk symbolizes a blossoming new year.
The length of noodles represent longevity, but don’t cut them or you will be cutting your life short.
Shrimp – Happiness
In Chinese, the word for “shrimp” is pronounced “ha.” Because it sounds like laughter, shrimp is served symbolizing a happy year ahead.
Jiaozi or Chinese dumplings – prosperity
Chinese dumplings are classic Chinese New Year food, typically enjoyed on Chinese New Year’s Eve.
Oranges/tangerines – wealth
Oranges are a popular symbol of good luck because of the similarity of the words “orange” and “luck” in Chinese. They are also a great gift for the host if you are attending a Chinese New Year’s dinner.
Spring Rolls – wealth
Spring rolls’ are Chinese New Year food for wealth. Their cylindrical shape resembles gold bars.
Sweets – sweet life in the New Year
A popular Chinese New Year sweet is the Glutinous Rice Cake (“Nian gao” in Chinese). The sweetness of the cake symbolizes a sweet, rich life. The cake’s layers symbolize abundance in the New Year.
Submitted by Cecilia Vera, Aged Care Services Manager
POSTED: 11th December 2019
FOCUS Connect will be closed from Monday 23/12/2019 until Thursday 02/01/2020. Please click on READ MORE for a full list of holiday closure details.
Closed: Monday, 23rd Dec 2019
Reopen: Thursday, 2nd Jan 2020
AFGHAN FAJAR ASSOCIATION (AFAIC)
JUSTICE ADVOCACY SERVICE (JAS/IDRS)
By appointment - 0456 154 103
NAVITAS ENGLISH CLASSES
Closed: Friday, 20th Dec 2019
Classes Resume: TBA
Phone - 02 8738 0300 (Liverpool Office)
Closed: Monday, 23rd Dec 2019
Reopen: Thursday, 2nd Jan 2020
By appointment - 1800 010 630
WHITELION YOUTH MENTORING
Closed: Thursday, 12th Dec 2019
Reopen: Tuesday, 14th Jan 2020
WE WISH YOU ALL A HAPPY AND SAFE HOLIDAY SEASON!
POSTED: 11th December 2019 SOURCE: Campbelltown Macarthur Advertiser 04th December 2019
Macarthur Diversity Services Initiative may have changed it's name to FOCUS Connect but it is still the same organisation that has been supporting Macarthur's local community for more than 35 years.