CSSA Award Winners
8 February 2010
The 2010 CSSA Awards were presented on 8 February 2010 during the CSSA National Conference in Canberra.
CSSA would like to acknowledge the generous sponsorship contribution from Catholic Church Insurance who have supported this important event for many years.
The Perkins Award for Excellence in Service (Individual)
David Helmers, Executive Officer of the Australian Men's Sheds Association (AMSA)
Centacare Hunter Manning has auspiced the Lake Macquarie Shed Project and more recently the Hunter Valley Shed Cluster Group and the Australian Men’s Shed Association. David Helmers has project managed all three programs. David’s commitment, creativity and passion have taken the project from the locally-based Lake Macquarie Shed Project to a regional and a national body. The Lake Macquarie Shed Project is a unique effort involving Federal, State and local government; businesses, employment service and training providers; not for profit organisations and the community.
The Shed helps unemployed youth, mature aged unemployed people, retirees, young offenders and early school leavers by using skills of older people, providing mentoring opportunities, creating positive, dynamic community partnerships and helping participants to prepare for further education, training and employment.
David’s extraordinary capacity for community engagement is central to the success of all three projects. His relationship with shed volunteers, the business community, prospective partners, government agencies, members of parliament and the shed community throughout Australia is unique. His dedication to raising the profile of the shed movement makes him very worthy of this award.
Award for Excellence in Service (Organisational)
Centacare Brisbane’s Catholic Prison Ministry
Started in 1985 in St Mary’s Church in South Brisbane this program for prisoners, ex-prisoners and their families, has grown to a comprehensive service that helps more than 50,000 people each year. These clients are some of the most highly disadvantaged and marginalised people in the community. They experience high levels of mental health problems, homelessness, abuse, discrimination and unemployment. They have struggled with numeracy and literacy skills and historically come from dysfunctional families and lack positive role models.
Catholic Prison Ministry is a case management model which actively works with up to 400 prisoners and ex-prisoners and 900 court attendees and family members at any one time. Over 100 volunteers support and advise families, defendants and victims in 9 courthouses in south east Queensland.
The Family Support Program provides counselling, advocacy and practical support for the families of people in prison; Liferaft is a peer support program for families and friends of prisoners; Prison Visitation Services are extended to all prisons in South East Queensland; and the Offender Reintegration Support Service helps prisoners with pre and post release needs.
Benefits to the community include reduced welfare payments, significant reduction in the cost of the justice and penal system and savings in physical and mental health costs. Catholic Prison Ministry has been acclaimed as best practice by a broad range of people and organisations.
Catholic Prison Ministry believes prison must be an absolute last resort, that the criminal justice system must aim to bring about reconciliation and restoration – not incrimination and retribution. It believes justice is a community responsibility – that social inequalities and injustices give rise to crime, and that people will usually make the choice to live a lawful lifestyle if they are supported in an environment that provides for their basic needs and affirms their self worth.
The Norma Parker Award for the Most Innovative Program
Catholic Community Services' Severe Domestic Squalor Project
The Severe Domestic Squalor project provides support to people living in environments that are so unclean that their health, ability to receive services or their ability to live independently in the community is jeopardised. The project also aims to educate service providers working in the community about how to respond when situations of squalor are encountered.
As a result there is a decrease in the consequences of living in squalor, less safety, health and fire risks, and clients became less isolated from the community. They also had less risk of eviction.
In the 12 months to July 2009, the Project, which has been widely acclaimed by local government and local health services, ran 32 training sessions for 748 people and an estimated 1,000 calls for advice were received on the squalor hotline.