Dialog Box

CatholicCare Victoria

2021, the year that was

Clockwise from left: Sr Mary receives an Honorary Doctorate; our Commissioning Mass; Agnes Sheehan, CEO and Ross Wheatland, Group Director Performance and Enablement celebrate a social housing win.

This time last year we were celebrating the coming together of Centacare Ballarat, CatholicCare Melbourne/Gippsland and CatholicCare Sandhurst to create CatholicCare Victoria.

One year has passed and we have been very busy – running a comprehensive integration program to bring the three agencies together - on top of our business as usual service delivery commitments – and in the midst of a pandemic! 

On this, our first anniversary as a statewide Catholic social service, we wanted to share some of our achievements from the past 12 months:

We supported over 27,000 people across a range of programs delivered from offices - or via outreach – across Victoria.

We conducted a client survey, which confirmed that despite having the most lockdowns in Australia, nearly 93% of respondents said our service was accessible, nearly 90% said they felt listened to, and 87% would recommend our service to others.

We launched several new initiatives, including:

  • Homeless to a Home – a consortium with Uniting VicTas to assist homeless people, who were provided hotel accommodation during the pandemic, to transition to safe and secure housing. This program operates in Victoria’s South West and Central Highlands and is delivered in collaboration with Centacare Housing Services who provide tenancy management.
  • Through subcontract funding from Foundation House, we will provide trauma and torture counselling to people from refugee and asylum seeker backgrounds in Mildura to improve their mental health outcomes 
  • We have partnered with Cabrini Outreach to pilot a program to help refugees and asylum seekers in Mildura to navigate the mental health system and access psycho-social supports  
  • With philanthropic support from Give Where you Live and Geelong Community Foundation, we have expanded our Geelong Settle Well program, providing internships to enhance employment opportunities for refugee youth 
  • We commenced a pilot program to provide pastoral supervision to newly ordained priests across the Archdiocese of Melbourne

We have seen growth in our School Counselling and Chaplaincy programs, with more schools coming on board - a reflection of the increased demand for support by schools and students impacted by two years of learning in a pandemic.

We were successful in several tenders, including:

  • Residential Care – which will see us providing an additional three homes for children and young people in Out of Home Care
  • Social Housing - $32.5 million was awarded to Centacare Housing Services - a subsidiary of CatholicCare Victoria - to deliver social housing projects in Victoria as part of the government’s Big Housing Build 
  • A partnership with VMCH for additional carer respite funding

We also received $1.36 million of additional funding for Emergency Relief (across Victoria and Tasmania) and a further $168,000 (for Melbourne) to meet the growing demand for support.

We held a beautiful Commissioning Mass to officially launch the new entity, concelebrated by the four Victorian Bishops.

We successfully completed five audits, receiving accreditations in: 

  • ISO 9001:2015 (Quality Management System) 
  • ISO 27001 Information Security Management System
  • National Standards for Disability Services
  • National Standards for Mental Health Services (NSMHS),

and non-accreditation awarding audits in Human Service Standards:

  • a self-assessment to verify systems as part of forming CatholicCare Victoria which was endorsed by DFFH, and 
  • Residential Care Services Progress Assessment

All audits were externally verified and demonstrated CatholicCare Victoria has strong systems, high-quality practice and a skilled workforce.

And to top it off, the head of our Prison Ministry, Sr Mary O’Shannassy was conferred an Honorary Doctorate by ACU.

All in all, that’s a lot to celebrate! We thank our staff, volunteers, and supporters for their part in our journey so far – and we look forward to our second year with hope and optimism that we will continue to make a difference for the communities we serve.

19 January 2022
Category: News