December Greetings from St Bart's

Spirit of Christmas campaign

For many of us, Christmas holds special memories of warmth, family, and feelings of being connected to our loved ones. For some, it sadly holds memories of trauma that only time, and support from services like St Bart’s, can begin to heal.  

It was on Christmas Day last year when Sarah and her 12-year-old daughter Ella found themselves homeless after living in a domestic violence situation. The next four months were spent couch surfing with friends and family while Ella continued in her first year of high school as though nothing had happened.
“I was crying my eyes out one night in the bathroom, not knowing where we were going, and I just hung my head in hurt, shame and frustration thinking everything was such a mess,” Sarah said. “I thought Ella was asleep but she came in and lifted my head up and said, "Mum, life is an adventure with you and I wouldn't have it any other way."” 
In April they found their way to a safe place at St Bart's, and can now look forward to a brighter Christmas this year. 
Read Sarah and Ella's full story here
We need your help. Your donation today will support other vulnerable people in need of a secure place to sleep, just like Sarah and Ella.

Help us share the Spirit of Christmas.  
Donate today

Premier visits St Bart's for major announcement

It was an absolute honour to welcome Premier Mark McGowan on Sunday to our East Perth headquarters, where he announced a $48.95 million targeted homelessness support package.

He was joined by the Hon Minister for Communities, Simone McGurk MLA, the Hon John Carey MLA and a number of St Bart’s residents who enjoyed chatting to him over morning tea about all manner of things including the state of homelessness in WA, and future plans to support the services, like ours, that support those most vulnerable in our community. 

Resident Percy said he felt very respected being able to meet the Premier and talk about the issues.

For more on the Premier's announcement, particularly on Mandurah housing WA's second Common Ground supported housing development, click here.

A note from our CEO 

If there has ever been a year in our recent history to celebrate living in Perth, it’s this one. While 2020 has certainly been tumultuous, the beauty of it has come in being forced to slow down and appreciate the small “wins” in our lives, in witnessing wonderful acts of kindness across the globe in times of unrest, and in spending more quality time with our loved ones.

Here at St Bart’s, we have truly appreciated the unwavering support of many in our community throughout the year. The steady flow of financial contributions and donated goods – from blankets, food and clothing to handmade items made out of pure goodness of heart – served to strengthen our resolve to provide the best level of care and support to the people in our services. I’m very proud of the way in which our staff, particularly those working on the frontline with our residents and clients, continued to show their unwavering care even as they carried their own worries throughout the pandemic. 

This year my children also got involved by asking their school community to donate to our Christmas Hamper Appeal (read more on that later), then helping our Volunteer Manager, Warren, to pack a few hampers to be shared. 

Christmas can be a difficult time for many of those we assist as it often brings to the surface past experiences of trauma and separation from family. For this reason, each year we work towards lifting their spirits in a number of gatherings across each of our sites. 

The first celebration to kick it all off this year was particularly heart-warming as we shared food and gifts with the women, men and children in our Family Service. A visit from Santa (aka Peter Kerr of Western Power) was a special treat for the little ones, while the parents and carers were able to relax and enjoy the experience of watching their children’s faces light up as they opened their presents.

These celebrations are a wonderful opportunity for St Bart’s Board and Executive to visit the sites and enjoy serving lunch and catching up with residents and clients. Everyone has thoroughly enjoyed themselves.

From all of us at St Bart’s, we wish you a wonderful Christmas and festive season and I look forward to sharing more with you in 2021. 

Samantha Drury
St Bart's CEO   

Family Festive fun

Christmas came early for some of St Bart’s littlest residents!

Parents, carers and their children, along with St Bart’s staff, volunteers and Chair Mel Ashton recently came together for the Family Christmas party at a local community hall to enjoy a fun-filled afternoon of games, music, plenty of play and delicious food.

A special visit from Santa was met with squeals of delight, as he handed out spectacular hampers filled with treats and gifts that were kindly donated by our generous supporters from Western Power and other community members, and packed by volunteers from South32.

Children got busy playing games of giant Jenga, building towers from colourful blocks, zooming down the ride on car slide and climbing the playground. 
“It means the world to have something like this organised for us, especially when we don’t have any family here with us,” said one mother. “It’s made my son so happy to feel like it’s not just him and me this Christmas.” 
The annual Family Service Christmas party is one of a number of gatherings St Bart’s holds for its residents throughout December.

Residents and clients from our Men's transitional service, Independent Living Program, Community Housing and Reconnecting Lives Program also enjoyed a spectacular feast, with all festive lunches funded by the generous people at Mineral Resources

BHP Lunch ‘n’ Learn

We are extremely grateful to BHP’s Petroleum Australia team for hosting us for a lunch and learn session and letting us share with them stories about the importance of our outreach service, the Reconnecting Lives Program, which is fully funded by BHP. 

Attendees were inspired by Program participant Olly, who bravely shared her story of living on the streets for 26 years before moving into St Bart’s Women’s Service, and then 10 months later into her own house in the community with the support of the case managers and support workers funded by the Program. 

Winners are grinners!

We are delighted to have received the Institute of Public Administration Australia, WA Division Achievement Award for Excellence in the Not for Profit Sector for our BHP Western Australia-funded Reconnecting Lives Program. 

The award recognises the importance the program has made to improving service delivery to those experiencing, or at risk of homelessness. 

The outreach program provides critical wraparound services to some of the most vulnerable members of our community, and is the only one of its kind that supports people from transitional accommodation for people experiencing homelessness into their own home in the community. 
"I'm extremely proud of the pilot program, which since its inception has helped close to 200 people secure and maintain accommodation in the community, as well as rebuilding connections with their families and friends," St Bart's CEO Samantha Drury said. 
Of course we couldn’t have won this award without the generosity of BHP – without them we couldn’t do what we do so we extend a huge thanks to them. 

Congratulations to all award winners and finalists.

St Bart's COO Lena Hopkinson was presented the award by the Director General of the Department of Water and Environmental Regulation, Mike Rowe.

Hamper Campaign in full swing

St Bart’s helpers are currently in a race against time to finish collecting donations, packing hampers and delivering to our residents by Christmas!  

Last month, Perth MLA John Carey dropped by our East Perth headquarters to launch our Christmas Hamper Appeal along with our jolly volunteers. We have filled more than 600 men’s, women's and children’s hampers to bring a little joy to our residents at this time of year, and recorded a massive 1000 volunteer hours on this hamper appeal alone!

We’ve been thrilled to receive more than 12,000 individual items from generous individuals, schools and corporate groups such as Western Power, FMG, Cannings Purple, Woodside, Redwood Wealth Alliance, BHP, EssenseDesigns, KPMG, LafargeHolcim, Quintis and South32, to name just a few. We’ve also been fortunate to receive multiple donations from our Anglican community, including the huge trolley load below from Christ the King Parish in Willetton,  large donations from the Anglican Applecross Parish, the Grace Anglican Church in Joondalup and St Barnabas Anglian Church, all the way from Dowerin!

While we are wrapping up (pun intended!) our Christmas Hamper Appeal, we always welcome donations for ongoing needs such as birthday gifts as well as welcome packs for new residents, plus a number of other campaigns throughout the year to support the people we assist. Feel free to get in touch with Warren for any queries.  

In the meantime, enjoy these snaps below of the legends from FMG who turned up dressed in all their festive glory to begin delivery runs of hundreds of Christmas hampers to the people in our services!

Signed, sealed, delivered!

Our resident die-hard Dockers fan Aaron was delighted to receive a framed commemorative poster celebrating the Dockers first ever Western Derby win from our Chair Mel Ashton.

While visiting St Bart's to celebrate NAIDOC Week with former Dockers player Garth Taylor, Mel said he was impressed by Aaron's unbridled passion for the team and presented him with the poster, which is only one of 103 ever made.

Aaron was delighted by Mel's generosity and said the poster will take pride of place in his room as he plans on hanging it next to his other Dockers memorabilia!
“I was a supporter back then and have been a Dockers member for the past 11 years,” Aaron said. “Thank you, it’s a privilege to receive the poster.”

NAIDOC Week 2020

We enjoyed a number of events throughout NAIDOC Week in November in celebration of the history, culture and achievements of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, including a visit from special guest speaker, former Dockers player and Clontarf Foundation youth worker Garth Taylor, who shared his inspirational story with us and representatives from our partners, Wungening Aboriginal Corporation.
The gorgeous Miss Perth NAIDOC 2019, Ilona McGuire, put on a fantastic display that included Wanna (women’s stick and digging stick), coolamon (collecting bowl), Wardi (men’s bat), message stick, Djanjanna (ceremony headdress pieces) and the river read weaved baskets, while she got busy mixing ochre pigments (white, red and yellow) at our Women’s Service.

Some of our residents and staff also enjoyed a morning of creation where they could freely explore their own interpretation of dot painting.
“I have done dot painting before, when I reconnected to my mother’s elders and participated in story telling in our culture and to get my birth Totem for my elders. It was great to participate in the dot painting at St Bart’s.” - Myra Smithers – Recovery Support Worker, Reconnecting Lives.

A message on Making a Difference

by Chaplain Ross

A long time Jungian Analyst told me recently that the most disturbing passage in the Bible for him are the words, “Lord, when was it that we saw you … hungry, thirsty, stranger, naked, sick, in prison.” (Matthew 25.37).

Why he found this disturbing was not based on how people meet each other, but rather how we as individuals respond to the person’s need when we meet them. For example, if we meet someone who is thirsty, do we offer them a drink? When meeting a stranger, do we offer them a smile and show them kindness? Irrespective of the circumstances around how we meet someone, as Christians, kindness and compassion should be our response.

Continue reading here.

Furniture face lift

Thanks to a generous grant from Lotterywest, St Bart’s Cannington and Medina mental health sites were the first to receive brand new furniture to upgrade the communal living spaces. The grant will see all St Bart’s mental health sites receive new furniture to enhance the spaces that are shared by residents.
“With the new furniture the place looks stylish and a lot nicer,” said one resident. 
A huge thanks also goes to the Karrakatta Club for their generous donation of glasses, crockery, cutlery and four Christmas trees and decorations that have gone to good use across our services. 

Meanwhile, the lovely Reverend Patricia Deeny of St Christopher's City Beach Anglican Parish and parishioner Lynne Roberts (below centre) dropped off 12 DVD players for our residents' use, along with a very generous $1000 donation towards our services. Our heartfelt thanks to all involved.

But now, thanks to the Containers for Change scheme, you can recycle your containers for 10 cents each and create a positive impact on our environment. 
St Bart’s has obtained a Scheme ID: C10360236, which means anyone returning their containers at any authorised refund point can nominate our organisation as the recipient of their refund. Feel free to share this ID with your family and friends for an easy way to support St Bart’s! 
We were also delighted to be approached by the generous people at Western Power who asked to be a designated collection point for St Bart’s. For anyone wanting to drop off their containers there to support St Bart’s, visit 363 Wellington St, Perth.

Post-COVID volunteering hours spike

The lull in volunteering activity at St Bart’s during COVID is now officially over! A massive 1640 hours of volunteering just in the month of November saw corporate and university groups very busy painting at our accommodation in Lime Street and mulching at mental health sites, along with many other activities.

These legends, including a growing number of St Bart’s clients, give their time generously and are doing amazing work in the following areas:

Cafe Lime breakfast prep and serving, pet therapy, Bingo, pool, quizzes and chess with aged care residents, resident escorting to appointments and shopping, cooking classes, Brumbies bread run, haircuts, art & craft sessions, BBQ's for special events, and donation pickups and deliveries.

Staff spotlight

St Bart's very own Baking Queen never fails to deliver the treats EVERY Thursday! Her choc chip cookies, banana muffins, savoury scones and brownie s’mores are just what we need for a 3pm pick-me-up. Also at 10am, get the gist! Here's a little more on the delightful Lynda, St Bart's Senior Tenancy Officer: 

Tell us something about yourself that might surprise us.
I started line dancing this year and absolutely love it. 

What does the perfect weekend look like to you? 
Not having to clean, spending time with family and having lots of time to read.

What’s your favourite thing to bake? 
Children themed birthday cakes, my kids have grown up now so I don’t do this anymore. 

What’s your favourite part of working at St Bart’s? 
I love my job and being the right type of support the tenants in the ILP program need, but I would have to say the team I work with are amazing. They are so good that when COVID-19 was affecting the supermarket shelves, they brought me flour so I can still cook for the office.

Work with us

Are you on the search for a job that rewards you as much as it helps those in need? We have some great opportunities in the support worker space, so click here and apply today!

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Address postal inquiries to:
St Bart's
7 Lime Street
East Perth WA 6004