Christmas Picnic 2015

Make a Difference held its second Christmas picnic in a park in Campbelltown on a Saturday in mid-December. The morning gloom and rain magically dispersed to create a lovely warm and sunny day – the perfect setting for our children and young people to catch up with each other and with the adults who attend our retreats.

We kind of like traditions, and it was fun getting to play cricket again this year, and to start to build a tradition of having a cricket game at our annual Christmas get-together.

Cricket wasn’t all – we played soccer, too, and some rode skateboards in the park. Making bubbles was a big hit – you’ve gotta look at the pictures! (See below)

We shared a generous spread of delicious food and there were Christmas gifts for all. It was a fabulous day filled with laughter and friendship.

Some of us marvelled anew at the amazing connections that have built over the last several years amongst our young people, and between them and ourselves. Our gatherings are always special times, whether at a one-day event like this, or on a weekend retreat. It is heartening to see the young people caring about each other, and maintaining harmonious relationships despite all their differences – the world needs more of that . . .

A big thank you to all of you who took part – it was wonderful to see each of you there.

Welcome Jane!

We're delighted to announce the appointment of Jane Lea as our new Events and Marketing Manager.   Jane is a mother of three, an events professional and we are delighted to have her on board! 

First Reunion Day

We were delighted to host our first ever Reunion Day on Sunday 28 September.  

The Reunion Days involve a day trip for our young people and leaders to our Kangaroo Valley property.  Because it is just for a day we invite a larger group of people than for the weekend retreats.  The Reunion Days give adults and young people a chance to reconnect on a more frequent basis, and also gives boys and girls a chance to interact. 

The day wasn't without its challenges.  One carload of adults and young people broke down and get stuck in Bowral.   Much excitement!  A couple of other people got waylaid with airport problems. 

But eventually everyone made it to the property, there was yummy food on offer, games to be played and everyone departed late in the afternoon tired but happy. 

Guiding principles for Mental Health work

The recently released National Mental Health Core Capabilities contain some key guiding principles relating to working in the mental health area, that closely reflect the approach adopted by Make a Difference.   These include:

Principle 1: Person-centred

Principle 2: Responsive to Families and Carers
Families, carers and support people play a critical and often unacknowledged role in enabling people with mental health problems and mental illness to live and participate meaningfully in the community.

Principle 3: Recovery-focussed
Recovery-oriented mental health practice means:
• uniqueness of the individual 
• real choices (which includes achieving a balance between duty of care and support for an individual to take positive risks)
• attitudes and rights (which includes listening to, learning from and acting on communications from the individual and their carers)
• dignity and respect
• partnership and communication (which includes acknowledging each individual is an expert on their own life)
• measuring progress towards recovery 

Principle 4: Evidence-based
We should build on existing health workforce innovations that have been trialled and proven elsewhere.  Our approach also needs to draw upon best practice and research as a means of ensuring ongoing safety and quality in the delivery of services by the mental health workforce.

Principle 5: Flexible
This requires an acknowledgment that our ability to meet growing and changing demands from people using services can only be achieved by being flexible.