The Bridge News
The Bridge is expanding into Pakenham!
We are excited to be opening our newest multi-purpose site in mid-2023 at Slattery Place, Pakenham.
We will be offering integrated community and employment services which will be centered around the interests and goals of participants. Different types of services can be accessed at the same time to support participants to be more independent by learning new life skills, being active in the local community and assistance with employment readiness and opportunities.
This easily accessible site is ideally located close to transport, shops, recreational areas and potential employers. For more information about our Pakenham site, please contact email@example.com or call 1800 274 343.
Message from our CEO Mary-Jane Stolp
We hope you are staying well and have had a good start to 2023 like us.
Our newest location, Slattery Place, Pakenham, will commence services in July and the Park Grove (former Callandar Road, Noble Park) development is in its final stage. We hope to be able to move participants in to our three purpose-built SDA houses during August. For more information, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org
Given our new Soap Aid contract and increasing interest in our Supported Employment Services, we are also looking to expand The Bridge Works in
coming months to another site and will commence cleaning and gardening Work Crews in the future.
We received fantastic feedback from participants/carers involved in our external NDIS audit in December 2022 and we continue to strive for best practice across our services. We successfully conducted a Cyber Breach Simulation in January 2023 with our Board and Executive and are continuing our efforts to improve our business systems to ensure a continued focus on improving client experience.
During February 2023 we celebrated the 2-year anniversary for our Community Voice Advisory Group. We are seeking Expressions of Interest from people wanting to be involved in this important team who help us stay focused on the areas important to participants and their carers. Contact us via email@example.com for more information.
The Bridge is continuing our advocacy work for the revision of the Victorian Disability Act and the NDIS Review which are currently both in progress. For more information go to NDIS Review or State Disability Plan. We continue to
follow the proceedings from the Royal Commission and discuss findings and areas we can improve on with our peer organisations across the sector.
Changes to the NDIS Price Guide relating to group supports are expected in June and we will provide more information on this soon.
We congratulate past Board member, Joe de Souza, father of former participant, Simon, who was awarded the 2023 Greater Dandenong Citizen of the Year Award for his enormous contribution to the community since 1966. For more information go to City of Greater Dandenong.
Mary-Jane Stolp – CEO
International Women's Day
On 8th March our team wore purple to celebrate IWD. The aim of this year’s IWD is #EmbraceEquity to get the world talking about why equal opportunities aren’t enough and to help forge a gender equal world.
“Equity isn’t just a nice-to-have, it’s a must-have. A focus on gender equity needs to be part of every society’s DNA. And it’s critical to understand the difference between equity and equality. People start from different places, so true inclusion and
belonging require equitable action.” (source: IWD website)
At The Bridge, 66% (or 2/3s) of our employees are women including our Chair of Board and our CEO (pictured). We feel passionately about creating a culture of equity and providing the right environment for women to thrive in the workplace.
Meet Linda! Narre Warren Day Service Volunteer
Meet Linda, one of our volunteers at our Narre Warren Day Service.
Linda started at The Bridge in August last year and is loved by our participants. Having had a 20-year career working in Specialist Disability Schools, Linda knew of The Bridge from some of her students attending our services in the past. After recovering from Covid
and taking some time off, she wanted to stay in the disability sector and give back. In her words, she thought The Bridge ‘was a great organisation and was very impressed by them’, so she contacted us to enquire about volunteering. And we’re so glad she did!
Linda helps with various activities such as fishing and golf but is best known for her Coffee & News mornings where she takes a group of participants to the local shopping centre to get coffees and catch up with each other’s news.
We appreciate the contribution of all our volunteers at The Bridge, but they always tell us they get more out of the experience than they put in which is amazing. If you would like to volunteer at any of our sites, please contact us on firstname.lastname@example.org or you can find out more by visiting our website.
Staying active through bike riding
At our Officer Day Service, keeping fit and active is the goal of many participants.
One of their favourite programs is the all-accessible bike riding program at Casey Fields. The group is run entirely by volunteers from the Southern Masters Cycling Club.
All bikes, trikes and tandems are provided, as well as hair nets and helmets. Our participants love catching up with the lovely lead volunteer, Bill, who is so encouraging of all participants and abilities. We also get to see our friends from other service providers, and it always makes for a lovely morning.
Participants enjoy a BBQ and visit to Arthurs Seat
Each week a group from Stawell Street goes on a BBQ adventure!
We recently had a lovely BBQ at Mornington Park and enjoyed our favourite BBQ meal of sausages in bread, a juice box and chocolate or lemon cake for dessert.
We then took a drive up to Arthurs Seat where the participants were amazed by the Arthurs Seat Eagle and the beautiful view. Everyone agreed that we would organise a special day to return and ride on the Arthurs Seat Eagle!
Clyde Rd Fishing Group
The Clyde Road Fishing Group has been enjoying the sunny weather and trying out new locations to find the best place to go fishing!
The group has recently enjoyed days at Cannons Creek, Karkarook Lake, Casey Fields, Emerald Lake, Devils Bend and the Trout Farm! Participants have been learning about different types of bait including squid, chicken, cheese and worms as well as learning how to tie the sinkers on.
Clyde Road use fishing rods that were donated by the community in the Frankston and Seaford area and it is always a fun day out!
Wellness in the workplace - an integrated program
Youth Jobs Now! has certainly started off strong in 2023 as we are proud to announce the first 10-week Integrated Program for
Youth Jobs Now! and Dandenong Day Service, ‘Wellness in the Workplace’.
This program has been carefully developed to encourage all young people with disabilities to be the best versions of themselves. The content encompasses various topics that all participants can benefit from either with their employment journey or their social skills.
This highly interactive program incorporates skill building activities around teamwork, situation awareness, confidence and resilience building, problem solving, facing your fears and having fun while learning!
Positive partnership with Soap Aid
The Bridge Works has commenced a partnership with Soap Aid, who collect, sort, clean and reprocess hotel soap into fresh, hygienic soap bars for distribution to targeted communities in Australia and around the world.
The Board from Soap Aid came for a site tour to see their soap recycling machine in action. They met with The Bridge’s CEO, Mary-Jane Stolp, The Bridge’s Board Director, David Mallinson, and Wayne Broomhall, The Bridge Works’ Business Manager.
We are so excited about this new partnership where staff at our Social Enterprise are producing lifesaving new soap bars for vulnerable communities. For more information on Soap Aid,
please visit their website.
Youth Jobs Now! café
To develop their hospitality skills, Youth Jobs Now! participants set up their own YJN! café at Hub31 for a day to make toasties and coffees for Head Office staff.
Orders were taken the day before and each toasty and coffee were personally delivered to grateful staff in time for lunch. Participants enjoyed working together and learning new skills such as teamwork, communication, problem
solving, food hygiene and preparation.
It was reminiscent of a commercial kitchen with fantastic smells and a little bit of managed chaos! Feedback was positive and we say a BIG thank you to Employment Coaches Jackson, Sophy and Christine for making this happen!
Greg is learning to drive!
Greg, a Supported Employee at The Bridge Works, has obtained his Learners permit and is focusing on building up his hours by traveling to and from work.
It has been so exciting to see Greg begin his driving journey. Greg’s next goal is to obtain his forklift licence to support dispatch at The Bridge Works!
Kambiz achieves his employment goals
Mehri, Jobs Victoria Mentor, referred job seeker, Kambiz, to a 5-week training program in partnership with Skillinvest, Jayco and Jobs Victoria.
Kambiz worked on building his experience and knowledge and is grateful for the opportunity to work towards his employment goals. He has been such a pleasure to support. Since completing his training, we are very proud to say that he has now successfully obtained a job at Jayco!
Well Done Kambiz and congratulations!