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CEO Update - February

By Helen Silvia

Published on February 2, 2021

Dear WAGEC Community,

Happy 2021! I hope you all had a restful summer period and are continuing to stay safe amid the uncertainty that COVID-19 brings.

WAGEC remained open throughout the Christmas and New Year period. As we anticipated, it was a busy time for our client services team with many new and complex situations to respond to. We were thankful for the overwhelming generosity and support from both businesses and community. We had our most successful Festive Season Appeal yet with over $6,000 fundraised, $12,000 worth of gift cards donated and 450 hampers dropped off.

Thanks to the kindness of people like you, all the women and families living in our accommodation received a range of material aid, gifts, and toys; gift cards to spend on presents and groceries; and hampers created and donated by the community. Despite being one of the most stressful and highly anticipated periods of the year for the women and families at WAGEC, we were able to provide our core services with an extra dose of festive season care, which couldn’t have happened without the support of our community and the dedication of our staff. 

I am delighted to report that our 2021 ACCESS program has launched, recruited and is in its fourth week of mentor training. After a successful pilot of the program in 2020, WAGEC will continue to run the program biannually and support up to 100 women a year. Like previous years, the program will focus on giving women access to economic safety, training, education, employment opportunities and the confidence they need to be financially independent now and into the future. Our ACCESS Project Manager, Carly Hussey has done a remarkable job in growing and strengthening the program. I look forward to hearing how the new cohort of mentors and mentees progress throughout the year. 

I would also like to welcome our new Director of Client Operations, Kai Noonan. Kai brings with them over a decade of experience within the community sector in the areas of alcohol and other drugs; youth in out-of-home care; asylum seekers in detention; and sexual, domestic and family violence. Their past experience encompasses direct client work, complex program management, research, campaigns and advocacy. We are so excited to welcome Kai into the WAGEC fold and look forward to their leadership of our client-focused programs.

 To finish, I would like to reflect on last week’s day of mourning, Invasion Day. WAGEC will continue to stand with women, children and communities who have been dispossessed from their land, country and culture by the ongoing impacts of over 200 years of colonialism. WAGEC is an ally to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander and First Nations people and organisations.  We are willing to continue to do the necessary work of creating more justice and healing in partnership with First Nation’s women and communities. We know that In the stories that we are told and in the realities that we witness, that First Nation's women always have, and always will lead their families and communities with strength, love and resilience. WAGEC acknowledges that all the lands we work on "Always have been and always will be Aboriginal land."

Stay safe and thank you again for your ongoing support.