Archive

  1. Family training sessions in listening and spoken language therapy

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    Hear and Say is a Queensland wide charity that enables families to achieve optimal outcomes for their children with hearing loss by teaching them to listen and speak.  This is achieved using a world leading service delivery model, which combines modern hearing technology such as the cochlear implant with specialised Listening and Spoken Language Therapy.

    Children with hearing impairments living in remote or regional areas struggle to access necessary services, with their families often having to travel long distances to receive the help that they need. To alleviate this issue, Hear and Say created the Telepractice Program in 1998, which enables children with hearing impairments from anywhere across Queensland to undertake Listening and Spoken Language Therapy via PC-based videoconferencing.

    The Telepractice Program is now being expanded by adding Family Training Sessions. These involve multiple families having online sessions together with Hear and Say staff (Listening and Spoken Language Specialists, Occupational Therapists and Social Workers), who will guide them through the issues that can arise for children with hearing impairments.

    Currently, Hear and Say is creating the final plans for the content that will be included in the sessions. This material will deliver Listening and Spoken Language Therapy in a way that is engaging for everyone involved, and encourages families to share their learnings with one another. In addition to this, Hear and Say are also ensuring that the appropriate technology is in place to facilitate the sessions.

    Hear and Say recently held a trial session involving two children and their parents.  Activities undertaken included introductions from the children, a book reading of “Liam the Superhero” (a story about a child with a cochlear implant) and subsequent discussion around hearing technology, and the children making a puppet of themselves to discuss differences in people. The session was successful in stimulating interaction between the children, and getting the families involved in discussions about hearing and the differences in people.

    Hear and Say received overwhelmingly positive feedback from the parents involved, and another trial session will be held soon.

    Once fully implemented, these Family Training Sessions will give Telepractice families a level of Listening and Spoken Language Therapy that is equal to Hear and Say’s face-to-face service delivery. The outcomes of this is that participating families will:

    • See their children’s listening and spoken language develop at a rate that is equal with children the same age with standard-level hearing.
    • Have access to a support network of other families in a similar situation to themselves.
    • Have the opportunity to learn from both Hear and Say staff and other families in a positive environment.

    The Family Training Sessions represent the next advancement in Hear and Say’s Telepractice Program, and will enable Hear and Say to help families in remote and regional areas in more ways than ever before. The Hear and Say Centre looks forward to empowering families across Queensland with the information and skills needed to assist their children with hearing loss, so that these children can attend mainstream schooling, have wider career choices and become involved members of their communities.

  2. Assisting regional volunteers through access to technology

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     Volunteers in regional and remote locations can travel vast distances to provide home visits and emergency relief to people in need. The Society is one of the only charities in Australia that still deliver services through home visitation.

    During home visits, volunteers often require access to forms and client databases, as well as general information on local community support services. To ensure the Society’s support for disadvantaged Australians is efficient and effective, it is also critical that volunteers capture local service data that can inform service development. Many of the Society’s aged volunteers have found it difficult to adapt to this change due to their limited IT skills and lack of familiarity with technology.

    In May 2016, The John Villiers Trust made a grant of $16,000 to equip and upskill the Society’s aged, regional and remote volunteers with iPads and basic digital literacy training. The Regional Training Package has involved group and one-on-one workshops across the region.

    The benefits of the project extends to volunteers, the Society and the broader community. By helping volunteers to feel confident, comfortable and safe using computers and the internet, communities will see improved access to business and job opportunities, health, education and government services. An improved quality of service delivery will also have a positive impact on the 30,000 disadvantaged and vulnerable people the Society assists in the region each year .

     

     

  3. Bringing musical experiences to Regional Queensland

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    The size and location of regional communities can be a factor in the kind of education, artistic and cultural opportunities available to its residents.  As the State’s sole professional symphony orchestra and its largest performing arts company, QSO is committed to creating extraordinary musical experiences for communities across the state.

     In 2016, funding from The John Villiers Trust enabled QSO to engage with communities in Atherton, Ayr, Bundaberg, Cairns, Caloundra, Gordonvale, Kuranda, Mackay, Rockhampton and Townsville. The Program complements QSO’s regional concerts and is made up of Regional Workshops, Instrument Demonstrations and Choral Workshops.

     Regional Workshops are designed to complement Queensland’s instrumental and classroom music experiences for students and community musicians. 

    Interactive educational activities include “meet the musician sessions” (providing an opportunity to learn about life as a professional musician), side by side workshops where students have the opportunity to play as an ensemble with QSO musicians,  and high school workshop rehearsals with QSO musicians.  The program also includes instrument demonstrations to primary school students.

     These interactive performances bring the QSO to schools in smaller communities that don’t have easy access to our regional performances. 

     Because of the funding received from The John Villiers Trust, QSO can continue to champion music education and connect with communities by creating extraordinary musical experiences that resonate with music lovers across our home State of Queensland.

      

  4. Enabling children with a disability to engage, experience and develop

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    Children with a disability rarely have opportunities to be challenged outside the home or school environment. Many do not belong to a community group or enjoy activities that are available to their mainstream peers. The McIntyre Centre was the first riding facility in Australia for children with a disability and was founded by June and Peter McIntyre in 1964.

    The Centre provides a variety of recreational and therapeutic equine programs to both individuals and groups, including Special Schools, children and young adults with a disability, and children from the local community. As an holistic style of therapy, therapeutic horse riding activates numerous parts of the brain and body simultaneously. The benefits received through therapeutic riding are different for each individual who attends.

    Currently, 200 young people with physical and intellectual disabilities access the Centre’s horse riding and horse care programs that are interactive and fun and enable them to achieve goals that enhance physical, emotional, social, cognitive, behavioural and educational skills.

    In 2015, The John Villiers Trust supported delivery of the Special School Riding Program during the second semester of 2015. The Program supports 133 children from twelve Special Schools each week. Teachers and coaches work together to meet the individual needs of each child and set challenging but realistic horse riding goals.

    For students participating in the therapeutic horse riding program at McIntyre Centre, the benefits are numerous with improvements in balance, strength, fine and gross motor skills, eye/ hand coordination skills, and general feelings of wellbeing and improved self esteem.

    “He has so much more stamina.  It has made all our lives easier as I can now take him out with me when running errands and we don’t have to stop so often to rest. He loves horse riding so much, it is a really easy way to motivate him to go to school on Mondays.”   Special School Riding Program parent.

     

  5. Dancing through Central Queensland

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    Ausdance Queensland is the state’s peak advocacy, advisory and service organisation for dance.  Its programs and services generate an environment where new ideas can flourish, artists can continue to explore and excel and communities can see and participate in dance.

     In 2016, a grant from The John Villiers Trust enabled Ausdance Qld to provide a program of opportunities for regional Queensland communities to access dance activities that develop creative capacity.  Empowering communities to realise greater creative potential, the activities contribute to building a dynamic and innovative regional culture where communities can maintain mental and physical wellbeing.

     Addressing the challenge of regional isolation, the Career Dance Slam and Community Bounce 2016 pilot program provided 394 participants from Mackay, Rockhampton, Longreach, Gladstone, Blackall and Muttaburra to access dance activities not otherwise readily available.

    Through a suite of dance workshops and forums facilitated by four professional dance artists the program informed participants of the range of dance career options available, the pathways available to explore these options, and the appropriate skill sets needed to pursue these careers.  Workshops also shared practical tools and processes with the regions’ arts practitioners, teachers, and community members, empowering participants with the means to safely and enjoyably access, teach, participate in, and appreciate contemporary dance. 

      In addition, primary and secondary students were introduced to contemporary dance through tailored classes that built skills in creativity, advanced technique, imparted philosophy, shared repertoire and progressed choreographic practice.

     The pilot program also enabled Ausdance Qld to improve their understanding of the unique dance needs and dynamics of each community and to build relationships with key stakeholders.  This will facilitate the building of a vibrant regional dance culture to connect and empower communities through dance.

     

     

     

     

  6. Live and Thrive on Country Stage 2

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    The “Live and Thrive” on Country stage 2 grant follows on from a grant that The John Villiers Trust gave in 2013, to support remote Queensland Indigenous people to:

    Live – support the development and self-management of safe, appropriate infrastructure

    Thrive – support and foster the development of sustainable livelihoods, jobs and economic independence

    On Country – on their traditional homelands

    In July 2015, The John Villiers Trust granted $100,000 over 2 years to further support these initiatives.

    One of these initiatives included the pilot project at Oriners Rangers Base on Cape York.  This project was a partnership between the Centre for Appropriate Technology and the Alternative Technology Association, utilizing volunteer solar installers from the southern states to design and install a remote stand-alone solar power system to support a remote indigenous conservation program and carbon farming business.  An example of the need for enabling sustainable infrastructure that support livelihoods on country, this pilot proved highly successful and the plan is to expand this project to other interested indigenous groups on the Cape in the near future.

    With a direct focus on fostering sustainable livelihoods, another project supported under the program includes participatory strategic planning workshops with the Darrba Land Trust, near the Hopevale region of Cape York.  The planning workshops co- sponsored by the State Government, involved the Centre for Appropriate Technology facilitating a series of participatory planning workshops over an 18 month period, attended by key elders and members from the various and dispersed family groups involved. The aim being to bring people together to enable a unified vision for the development of economic and social outcomes from their traditional land through the creation of the ‘Darrba Future Plan’.

    In supporting Community based innovation in infrastructure a stand out project under the Live and Thrive on Country program is the Burri Gummin (One Fire) -Yarrabah Affordable Housing Project The project aims to break new ground by pioneering the first application of  a ‘Community Land Trusts’ model of affordable home ownership in an indigenous community. This approach has been highly successful in the US, Canada and Europe at providing affordable home ownership to low income and disadvantaged communities. Research has suggested this approach will work well for indigenous communities.  The Project test this assertion via an initial feasibility project building on the aspirations of a group of committed local residents who first proposed and continue to champion the idea.  To date the project has secured additional funding to support the project, secured and surveyed a 2-hectare site in Yarrabah, completed a range of participatory design workshops and engaged the probono support of key universities including University of Sydney, Melbourne and Western Sydney..

    Importantly, the project aims to include 5 small villa type houses owned by individuals with disabilities with ownership and other support services provided under the community land trust. .  The vision for the project includes the aim “to help the recovery and healing of those that are less fortunate, both elderly and young people, by creating the opportunity for them to achieve home ownership so they have a home to call their own”.

    The Centre for Appropriate Technology believes the projects that are able to be performed under the Live and Thrive on Country program have systemic impacts on the remote indigenous communities involved. “we arrive on the invite of the community, to help bring the resources they need to achieve their own aspirations for a better future from their remote traditional lands. It starts with helping secure a clean drinking water supply… and builds to a vision and plan for economic independence” states Peter Renehan, Chairman of CAT and Arrernte Traditional Owner.

     

     

  7. Inspiring Indigenous children to realise their full potential in school and beyond

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    Cathy Freeman Foundation was established in 2007 to close the education gap between Indigenous and non-Indigenous children. Since then, it has developed an effective and proven community-based model of educational support for remote Indigenous communities. The model comprises five interrelated programs which reach children aged from 3 years to 17 year olds, commencing with early learning and moving through to the final day of Year 12.

    In July 2014, The John Villiers Trust made a grant of $180,000 over four years to Cathy Freeman Foundation to introduce its Starting Block and Horizons programs in the community of Woorabinda in Central Queensland, an Indigenous community situated on the traditional lands of Wadja Wajda and Gungulu Aboriginal people.

    The Cathy Freeman Foundation programs help broaden horizons and inspire Indigenous students to experience their full potential in school, and beyond. The Foundation walks the journey of a child’s education from Pre-Prep through to Year 12, delivering programs designed to improve school attendance, behaviour and literacy. Community partnerships are core to the work of the Cathy Freeman Foundation. The support from the local community and school leadership is what enables the Foundation to deliver programs that make a difference.

    Following eight months of community consultation and partnership development, the Starting Block Program was introduced in every classroom in Wadja Wadja High School and Woorabinda State School in October 2014. The program encourages students to achieve at school and strive for personal goals by recognising regular attendance, good behaviour and improvements in literacy. Classroom resources are provided to teachers to measure student success on a daily basis and to connect with parents on their child’s progress. Students who show consistent progress are acknowledged for their efforts in front of family, friends and community at Starting Block Awards ceremonies, celebrated at the end of each term.

    Once student progress was evident in the Starting Block Program, the Horizons Program was introduced to recognise major learning achievements throughout the year. By offering interstate personal development trips to students based on attendance, attitude and a demonstrated desire to achieve, children are given strong motivation to aim for more ambitious learning milestones. Each week-long personal development camp includes interactive career workshops, mentoring sessions, corporate engagement visits and workshops with well-respected role models from the Indigenous community.

    Already, the Starting Block Program is having a positive impact. In its first year the program reached 220 Indigenous students from Wadja Wadja High School and Woorabinda State School and over 72 parents, and has the support of 2 principals and 15 teachers. By the end of 2015, 232 attendance awards; 44 literacy awards and 44 behaviour awards had been presented to students in Woorabinda across 4 terms. Significantly, over 66 students were achieving at or above 90% attendance, and there is good progress towards the long-term goal of reaching a 25% increase in the number of students achieving the school attendance benchmark.

     

  8. Expanding Allied Health services for children and families in the Southern Downs

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    BUSHkids has been looking after the health and wellbeing of vulnerable children in rural, remote and regional communities in Queensland for 80 years. During his life, the charity was a particular favourite of the late John Villiers. In 2015, The John Villiers Trust made a significant grant of $500,000 towards the expansion of the BUSHkids Therapy Centre in Warwick.

    BUSHkids aims to build capacity in local communities to identify and respond to children who are at risk of poor health, educational and social outcomes. Priority is given to young children not yet accessing education services and not eligible for other government, non-government or specialist services.

    With a head office in Brisbane, it has six service centres across Queensland located in Bundaberg, Dalby, Emerald, Inglewood, Mt Isa and Warwick. Each centre has a team including a Speech-Language Pathologist, Occupational Therapist, Clinical Psychologist and Family Health Support Worker providing early allied health intervention for children and families who otherwise may not have been able to access such services.

    During his lifetime, John Villiers was an active supporter of BUSHkids, then known as the Royal Queensland Bush Children’s Health Scheme. Having lived on the land for many years, John knew first-hand the isolation and hardships faced by many children and young people. After his retirement, he settled in Yeppoon and was a regular visitor to the Yeppoon Bush Children’s seaside home which provided medical care, treatment and recuperation for sick children from the country. As well as being a financial donor, John also gave his time, joining one of the organisation’s early community Committees. He was very proud when he was made an Honorary Life Member of BUSHkids, in recognition of his contribution over the years.

    In his will, John asked that his Trustees give ‘particular regard’ to BUSHkids, as one of two favoured charities (the other is Autism Queensland). In 2015, The John Villiers Trust made a grant of $500,000 towards the expansion of the BUSHkids Warwick Therapy Centre.

    The Warwick Therapy Centre began operations with a psychologist and a speech pathologist in 2006. The following year a full team commenced the work of building a multi-disciplinary service for the children of Warwick with outreach services to Inglewood, and Stanthorpe. By 2014, the Centre had considerably outgrown its premises and was struggling to meet increasing demand for its services from children and families across the Southern Downs.

    The new expanded BUSHkids Warwick Therapy Centre officially opened in September 2015 and provides a welcoming family-friendly environment. As well as providing multidisciplinary services from a range of allied health professionals, its therapy spaces support parents and carers to develop skills and strategies which they can use to support their child’s development in their own environment.

    Its flexible spaces meet a range of needs by:

    • Offering a holistic, family centred approach to child development and wellbeing;
    • Providing comprehensive psychology, occupational therapy and speech pathology assessment and intervention;
    • Working toward the prevention and early identification of childhood difficulties and disorders;
    • Increasing community awareness and providing education;
    • Offering adult and child group programs; and
    • Networking within the community to link families with other suitable community organisations and services to ensure continued support.

    Through its support for the Warwick Therapy Centre, The John Villiers Trust is pleased to continue the relationship with BUSHkids established by the Trust’s benefactor, John Villiers, all those years ago.

     

     

  9. A pop-up library brings books to young families in non-urban areas

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    Mission Australia has been working with disadvantaged families and children in the Cairns region for more than thirty years. In 2015, The John Villiers Trust provided a grant for a Mobile Pop-Up Literacy Trailer to enable Mission Australia to visit isolated and disadvantaged communities and reach families that often do not engage with early education, health and social services.

    The trailer houses a library and other resources to provide books and free literacy coaching for families, with school readiness as a major focus. The mobile literacy coaching program specifically targets children aged 0-5 and their families in non-urban areas to help improve school readiness and encourage a love of learning. It provides opportunities and support for children and their families in the Cairns southern corridor to help them overcome learning challenges.

    Children whose parents read with them in the early years of life show markedly better performance in school, even into their teens.

    The Mobile Pop-Up Literacy Trailer has been specially designed to be responsive to the specific needs of the parent and child and the community’s understanding of early literacy. It offers a safe, fun, all-purpose area for children and their parents to have access to books, a tranquil designated space to read them, and professional staff and volunteers to guide and coach their literacy skills. Reading tents complete with mats and colourful pillows can accommodate a number of families and provide the quiet, intimate space necessary to encourage the parent and child reading experience.

    The Mobile Pop-Up Literacy Trailer is a regular visitor to communities outside Cairns as well as attending playgroup sessions and community events throughout the year such as NAIDOC Week, Book Week, ATSI Children’s Day, Child Protection Week and Under 8s Week.

     

  10. Celebrating and promoting the Outback through art

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    Since 1996, the Waltzing Matilda Outback Gallery in the central outback town of Winton has curated an annual art exhibition and competition to promote art and culture in the Outback. The John Villiers Trust supported the Art Show 2012-2014 and in October 2014, provided a grant for a further three years.

    The national art exhibition has been held annually since 1996 and celebrates and explores the different themes of the Outback in both painting and three dimensional works in a competitive and professional environment.

    Held every year during the peak tourist season between May-July, the exhibition is seen by between 5,000-8,000 visitors. It gives the local community and visitors the opportunity to learn about art in its many different forms, as well as enjoy images of familiar Outback scenes through the eyes of artists.

    Each year, a professional artist is invited to judge the art show and competition, as well as conduct a two-day arts workshop in their field of expertise. In 2015, watercolourist and mixed media artist Lyn Butchart was the judge.

    Memories, Dreams and Reflections by Kathryn McGovern

    Kathryn McGovern’s winning work.

    Over the years, the number of entrants has grown considerably. The 2015 exhibition was no exception with 53 works selected to be finalists in the painting section and seven works in the three dimensional section.

    In 2015, the first prize for painting went to Kathryn McGovern from Brisbane for an evocative work titled Memories, Dreams and Reflections. 

    Anthill Country by Rhonda Rettke

    Rhonda Rettke’s felt hat took out first prize in the three dimensional category

    Rhonda Rettke from Gympie won the first prize for a three dimensional work for her sculptural felted hat titled Anthill Country.

    Unfortunately, on 18 June 2015, just weeks after the official opening on 15 May, a devastating fire destroyed the Waltzing Matilda Centre including the Outback Regional Gallery and, regretfully, all the artworks associated with the 2015 exhibition.

    The Centre is currently being rebuilt and will re-open in 2017. This means the John Villiers Waltzing Matilda Outback Art Show will not take place in 2016; however, the Trustees have agreed to extend the timeframe of the grant for a further year to 2018 to accommodate the rebuilding of the Waltzing Matilda Centre and its gallery.

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