Christmas Gifts Available

We know that this year is going to be hard on some families.

We also know that some family are not accessing services like Salvation Army, St Vincent de Paul etc for assistance.

Milpara has a collection of children’s gifts that we’d like to find appropriate homes for this Christmas Season.

Anyone who would like to see if any of the gifts would be suitable for their family, please drop in before 4.30 pm Friday December 18.

Please note we don’t have much and we don’t have a huge variety, but we’d like to see what we do have brighten some Christmas mornings. We’d also like to remind everyone that we do have the Emergency Foodbank which can be accessed by anyone who is struggling.  While Milpara does close for the school break Foodbank can be accessed during the following hours Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday 10 am – 1pm: as can the Centrelink Agency.

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Writers in Libraries

Writers in Libraries

Milpara was a bit excited to hear about a new program called Writers in Libraries so we thought we would share.

Writers in Libraries is a residency program for local writers in five West Gippsland Libraries (WGL) across South Gippsland. The residencies will spotlight our libraries while supporting creative endeavour among our writers.

Writers will work in a space specifically designated for them in each of the libraries. The writer’s brief will be to develop (one or a series of) essays, short stories, or poems that reflect on people’s experience of COVID-19 in South Gippsland Shire, documenting this extraordinary time for the future. Writers will have access to the WGL collection and the support of librarians for the development of their work.

All pieces will then be printed on posters and displayed in various locations in the Shire for public enjoyment. Posters and their locations can be documented and marketed via a map, forming a ‘cultural trail’, an intriguing opportunity for local tourism in this current environment of restricted travel.

Employment opportunities:

  • There is direct financial benefit to the five writers and in community recognition of their work.

Writers in Libraries is a residency program for local writers in four West Gippsland Libraries (WGL) across South Gippsland. The residencies will spotlight our libraries while supporting creative endeavour among our writers. Writers will work in a space specifically designated for them in each of the libraries. The writer’s brief will be to develop (one or a series of) essays, short stories, that respond to the three themes of isolation, emergence and connection, documenting this extraordinary time for the future. Writers will have access to the WGL collection and the support of librarians for the development of their work.

Interested writers should read the information below and complete this application form to be considered for selection.

Details:

  • Writers must be local to the South Gippsland area
  • Each selected writer will be given a writers fee of $500
  • Works should feature at least one of the following themes: Isolation, Emergence, Connection
  • The libraries hosting writers are Korumburra, Leongatha, Foster and Mirboo North
  • The writing residency will be from 1 February to 28 February 2021
  • An excerpt of the finished work/s will be transposed on to A1 Poster for display across the Shire
  • Finshed works will be printed out and stored at the participating libraries.

Submissions close Friday 8 January 2021
A selection panel of three people will select the five successful writers.

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Keep Orange-ing the World

The Orange the World campaign – 16 days of activism against gendered violence may have finished for this year but that doesn’t mean this is an issue we should put out of mind.

There are a lot of little things we can do that can help change the story. We can do some self reflecting and check in. It might be a simple change of how we say things or what we consider to be acceptable. It might be calling out a comment. It might be considering what books we read to our kids or read ourselves. Every little change we make helps bring about a big change.

The West Gippsland Regional Library stock a wonderful collection of books. What we read has a strong influence on how we think, reading books that promote gender equality where boys and girls as equal is an easy and enjoyable step in the right direction. Below is a list of suggested reading.


The 16 days of activism against Gender Based Violence is not just to acknowledge that there is a problem in our society that need addressing.

It’s not just to learn about the supports and services available.It’s not just about educating ourselves.

It’s not just about starting important conversations and encouraging people to call out behavior.

It’s not just about working together and building greater connections so the system is easier to navigate.

It is, of course, about all of those things but most importantly, it is a CALL TO ACTION, because we know that this issue is not inevitable, it can be changed. However that change cannot happen without buy in. Together you and I we can make a difference. Small actions build and small actions now can equal a big change. To create change we need to understand our bias, recognise our attitudes and acknowledge that those little things we say help create the big problems we face today.

Statistically even if you are unaware, you know someone who has been impacted. So make some time because this is important. Grab a cuppa, sit down and check out ‘the conversation guide’, ‘the respect checklist’, ‘the excuse interpreter’ and talk with your family, your friends and your colleagues and let’s stop it at the start. Together we can change the story and that is what it is all about. It’s not just 16 days, it’s everydayThis link will take you to the suggest cuppa resources: https://www.respect.gov.au/resources/recognising-disrespect/

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Electronic sign in now at Milpara

Well we are all really excited about the new easing of restrictions. Milpara of course has been collecting contact tracing information on anyone entering the house for some time.

However we have just upgraded the pen and paper version and introduced an electronic system. This will mean we can have more people enjoying more activities at Milpara.

We know not everyone has a smart phone so don’t stress we have that sorted too. We will have a tablet available for sign in and if that’s still not your thing our friendly staff will assist you.

We have already assisted a few people to add a QR reader to their phone and they were surprised how easy it is.

Belinda created a quick video on how to download a QR reader onto your smart phone. Please note some new phones and iPhone may not need to install a reader and already have on on the phone. But for many it is a simple step which means you can be using a QR reader on your phone within minutes.

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Jess helping people get connected

WOW! Jess has been really busy making the most of a technology grant Milpara received from the South Gippsland Shire Council.  We feel very fortunate. The grant has allowed us to assist community members to connect to family and friends online.  Not only can we provide 1:1 support to teach the basic skills needed to using a tablet or laptop to connect, but we can also provide the equipment for loan, allowing internet access from the participants home.  For some participants they just need assistance with the equipment they already own including smart phones.  Other participants have enjoyed this fabulous opportunity to find out if online is for them and give it a try without any cost.

As part of this free service, Jess has spent helped many people ‘get connected’.  This means different things for different people.  For some it has been creating Facebook accounts and learning how to use it. One person was so excited to learn she can now book into a bowling club sessions with one click on Facebook! Some participants were amazed to see how many of their friends are already very socially active and now they too are connected. For some participants it has been about learning to reply, send and forward emails including adding attachments like photos. Jess has even helped people to learn the skills to sell online.

The highlight for Jess has been connecting grandparents with their children and grand kids via FaceTime so that they can actually see their faces.  

Milpara still has some tablets and laptops available for loan as well as mobile internet modems.  So if you are looking to connect online or know someone who could benefit from this service please give Milpara a call on 5655 2524 to organise a time with Jess. 

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Korumburra looking beautifully Orange.

Korumburra goes Orange.

We’re sure that people will have noticed our orange flower garden that has popped up just past the Korumburra RSL Hall.  Orange is the colour designated by the UN Secretary-General’s UniTE to End Violence against Women campaign.  As a bright and optimistic colour the flowers represent our wish for our community bloom without violence, put your hand up and let’s change the story together.

If you are experiencing family violence there is help available.   In addition to Safe Steps 1800 015 188 and other services currently being promoted, there are also a variety of specialised services  worth knowing about so we have listed some below.

Djirra Aboriginal Family Violence Prevention and Legal ServicesDjirra is a culturally safe place where culture is celebrated, and practical support is available. 1800 105 303 www.djirra.org.au

Rainbow Door A free specialist LGBTIQ+ helpline providing information, support and referral to all LGBTIQ+ Victorians, their friends and family during the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond. 1800 729 367 www.rainbowdoor.org.au

Seniors Rights Victoria provides information and advice to help prevent elder abuse and safeguard the rights of older people. 1300 368 821 www.seniorsrights.org.au

InTouch Multicultural Centre Against Family ViolenceSpecialist family violence service that works with multicultural women, their families and their communities 1800 755 988 www.intouch.org.au

Money Smart Free and impartial financial guidance and tools you can trust www.moneysmart.gov.au

Milpara Community House is open Monday to Friday, 9.30 am – 4.30 pm. Located at 21 Shellcot Road we house an Emergency Foodbank, Centrelink Agent (Tuesday 10am – 2 pm, Wednesday 10 am – 1 pm and friendly staff available for a chat if required.

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Get Orange ready!

November 25 – December 10

We’re busy pulling out the orange in preparation for Orange the World: 16 days of activism against gender violence coming up from November 25 to December 10. 

Now is a great time to start planning how you will orange your world.  Show your support for gender equality, respect and non-violence by wearing something orange or turning your home, community, workplace or school orange. 

It will also coincide with Victoria’s Respect Women: ‘Call it Out’ campaign encouraging individuals, communities and organisations to ‘call it out’ and intervene when they witness sexism and gender inequality – drivers that can lead to family violence and violence against women.  

While it is great getting orange we’d also encourage people to use this time to reflect and educate themselves on the causes of family violence, and what we as individuals do to change the story. Take the opportunity to familiarise yourself with the fabulous resources and help services available as you never know when that information may be useful for yourself, a friend or family member. Milpara has an Orange the World page on the website, which includes information and a booklet you may find useful.

If you believe someone is in immediate danger, call 000 and ask for the police. If you or someone you know is experiencing family violence, help is available. Safe Steps a confidential and supportive family violence response line for Victoria is available 24 hours 7 days a week 1800 015 188 www.safesteps.org.au. For a list of other services please check the Orange the World page on Milpara’s website.


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Deloitte Report – Social Return on Investment of Neighbourhood Houses Gippsland

We’re really proud to announce that the Houses of Neighbourhood Houses Gippsland engaged Deloitte Access Economics to conduct a review and report on the Social Return on Investment (SROI) of the work undertaken by these Houses.  We hope you enjoy reading the results – they’re pretty impressive.  The link to the report is below – enjoy

NHG SROI 2020

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Milpara Community House can help you keep connected.

While we appreciate that nothing really compares to face-to-face contact, online connection can be valuable in these odd times.  Zoom and other online platforms have proven to be a fantastic alternative opening new opportunities to connect with people. 

Even when Stage 3 restrictions lift not everything will just go back to normal.  With social distancing expected to be the new norm for at least a little while longer some organisations and groups are will continue providing services online.

Milpara staff are happy to help get you started if this is something completely new for you.  We have successfully assisted a variety of people to connect using Zoom, FaceTime and other platforms.   

Have you been putting off trying it?  Think it’s just too hard and scary?  Do you have questions but don’t know who to ask?  Unsure where to start? Then give the friendly staff at Milpara a call on 5655 2524.  If you do not have the technology to get started, please still make contact.  We are currently looking at ways to assist to ensure everyone can stay connected.   

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Masks available at Milpara

For our vulnerable community we have free reusable as well as disposable masks available for distribution.  This is with thanks to donations from the community as well as South Gippsland Shire Council. 

Cloth masks are made of washable fabric and can be re-used. Wash the mask in soap or detergent, preferably with hot water, at least once a day.

Surgical masks are singe use masks and cannot be washed or re-used.

Remember to clean your hands before touching the mask to put it on, take it off and again after removing the mask.

Remember even with a face mask you need to keep washing your hands regularly, keep 1.5 meters from others, get tested even with mild symptoms and stay at home if you’re feeling unwell.

Please remember in Australia it is 1.5 meter distance from others.

For more information about face masks https://www.dhhs.vic.gov.au/face-coverings-covid-19

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