Queensland’s unsung heroes recognised during International Year of Health and Care Workers

Anglicare Southern Queensland has marked International Year of Health and Care Workers by recognising the achievements of staff and volunteers who provide vital support for vulnerable Queenslanders.

More than 200 staff members, volunteers and clients gathered at the Brisbane Convention and Exhibition Centre recently for the not-for-profit charity’s inaugural Excellence Awards.

Anglicare SQ’s Executive Director Karen Crouch said it was important for people working in the health and community services sector to recognise the contributions they make in our local communities.

“As a provider of essential care and support services for vulnerable people, our work never stops. We are all so focused on the needs of our clients, residents, children and families, that reflecting on our own achievements is often not top of mind,” Ms Crouch said.

“In my position, I have the privilege of seeing examples of the great work Anglicare employees and volunteers do every day.

“I see the hard work, resilience, perseverance and commitment that goes into supporting people in need.

“Having the honour of presenting the awards to our winners at the ceremony was a wonderful and heartwarming experience for me.

“Congratulations to all of our finalists and to this year’s winners. You are all incredible ambassadors for Anglicare Southern Queensland.

“Be proud of your achievements and always remember, even in the tough times, that you are making a difference every day.”

The winners came from across the organisation’s service streams and included Child Safety Practitioners, Home Care Workers, Dementia Care specialists, Cultural Support Workers and Client Liaisons.

St Martin’s Specialist Dementia Care Program Unit in Brisbane won the Team Achievement Award for its work in rolling out the ground-breaking program. One of only three specialist dementia units in Queensland, the team delivers best-practice care for people exhibiting very severe behavioural and psychological symptoms, helping them to transition successfully into a general aged care setting.

St Martin’s Specialist Dementia Care Program staff were awarded the Team Achievement Award at the Anglicare Southern Queensland’s Excellence Awards at the Brisbane Convention and Exhibition Centre last week. 

Stacey Gwillim, a leading Child Safety Practitioner in the Moreton Bay area for the past 14 years, won the Excellence in Leadership Award. Ms Gwillim has been instrumental in building Anglicare’s capabilities, profile and stakeholder relationships, helping to deliver best-practice services for children in foster or kinship care.

Gold Coast-based Cultural Support Worker Lalania Tusa won the innovation and creativity award for her work in supporting foster carers and children in care to understand and connect to their First Nations culture.

Multicultural Program Coordinator Claire Uwimana won the Inclusion award for her work in supporting people to understand the true meaning of harmony. Ms Uwimana developed resources, and information for individuals and carers from Culturally and Linguistically Diverse (CALD) backgrounds to improve their knowledge and access to services.

Nineteen staff were also recognised for their more than 20 years of service with Anglicare, including Kerri Godden, Office Coordinator at St Martin’s Residential Aged Care in Brisbane, who was honoured for her 35 years of service.

                                                                                                                         2021 Excellence Awards Winners

Team Achievement

Specialist Dementia Care Program Unit team, St Martin’s Residential Aged Care Brisbane

The Specialist Dementia Care Program unit, is only one of 10 in Australia. The team has worked hard to introduce a new model of care to the organisation, providing best-practice care for people exhibiting very severe behavioural and psychological symptoms of dementia. The team is achieving very positive outcomes for residents.

Excellence in Leadership

Stacey Gwillim, Service Manager, Children and Families Caboolture

Stacey has worked for Anglicare for 14 years. In that time, she has been instrumental in increasing Anglicare’s profile in the Moreton Bay Community, ensuring Anglicare is represented on committees and networks which support service users. Stacey’s work with the whole sector has promoted Anglicare as a trustworthy service. In addition, her leadership style breaks down perceptions of hierarchy and empowers her team.

Stacey Gwillim, Service Manager for the Children and Families Caboolture team was awarded the Excellence in Leadership award at the 2021 Anglicare Southern Queensland’s Excellence Awards at the Brisbane Convention and Exhibition Centre last Thursday. Photos Anglicare Southern Queensland

Individual Achievement

Cameron Webster, Home Care Worker, Community Aged and Disability Sunshine Coast

Cameron has worked with Anglicare for over 9 years. Cameron’s passion for the work he does and the positive contributions he makes to client lives is evident in every interaction. Cameron has also made significant contributions to the Community Aged Care Client Outcomes Framework.

Reconciliation

Children and Families – Gold Coast

The Gold Coast Children and Families team have demonstrated a significant commitment to their understanding and appreciation of First Nations people, culture, and communities. The team have meaningful relationships with local First Nations community, engage enthusiastically in a range of development activities, and as a result have enhanced their practice. The team are now better able to support First Nations children to connect with their culture.

Innovation and Creativity – Individual

Lalania Tusa, Cultural Support Worker, Children and Families Nerang

Lalania consistently goes above and beyond to create a safe place to educate and inform foster families who are caring for First Nations children about culture. Most notably, Lalania created the Jarjum Connect Program – engaging with First Nations groups to provide information and conduct activities with children and families. Lalania suggested the organisation create an Acknowledgement of Country spoken by children, which has been a fantastic resource used across the organisation.

Lalania Tusa, Cultural Support Worker in the Children and Families Nerang team was awarded the Innovation and Creativity award in the Individual category at the Anglicare Southern Queensland’s Excellence Awards held at the Brisbane Convention and Exhibition Centre last Thursday. 

Inclusion

Claire Uwimana, Multicultural Program Coordinator, Governance, Risk and Assurance

Claire has actively sought ways to support people to understand the true meaning of harmony. Claire developed resources, and information for individuals and carers from Culturally and Linguistically Diverse (CALD) backgrounds, to improve their knowledge and access to services. Claire has sought government grants, planned, and hosted three annual public Harmony Day events that engage Anglicare staff, clients, the local community, and media.

Claire Uwimana, Multicultural Program Coordinator in the Governance, Risk and Assurance team was awarded the Inclusion award at the 2021 Anglicare Southern Queensland’s Excellence Awards held at the Brisbane Convention and Exhibition Centre last Thursday. 

Client Services – Individual

Perry Cooper, Maintenance, Symes Thorpe Residential Aged Care Toowoomba

Perry has worked with Anglicare for 5 years and 11 months. Perry has been described as willing to help with anything. All residents at Symes Thorpe know Perry and ask for him when they need something. The Selection Panel thought Perry demonstrated pride, commitment, and dedication in his service to the community through his work as a Maintenance Officer.

Client Services – Team

Sunshine Coast/Gympie Intensive Foster Care Service

The Sunshine Coast/Gympie Intensive Foster Care Service work collaboratively to provide individualised support to children and carers to maintain safe and stable foster placements with good quality outcomes for children. The Selection Panel thought the team has worked hard to build a strong service reputation, where the community know and trust the team will support them. This is evidenced by the increase in foster carers attracted to the service.

Volunteer of the Year – joint winners

Elizabeth Nolan, Volunteer Children and Families Roma

Elizabeth is described as ‘one in a million’ and a fantastic volunteer, who is willing to support the team with any job required, including administrative tasks, washing and vacuuming cars, painting offices, and helping with children’s activities. The team says that nothing is too much for Elizabeth and they are very lucky to have her

Paul Garside, Volunteer EM Tooth Residential Aged Care Brisbane

Paul is described as a dedicated and committed volunteer. He visits the home at least twice a week to support male residents. Paul facilitates a Men’s Group and Music Appreciation Group and his professionalism and respect clearly demonstrates the values of Anglicare Southern Queensland.

Rachel Thurbon, Volunteer, Symes Thorpe Residential Aged Care Toowoomba

Rachel and her dog Charlie visit the home every Friday – rain, hail or shine. Rachel’s visits make a huge difference to residents and everyone looks forward to them. She has lent almost 10,000 books to residents and brings in flowers from her garden.

Innovation and Creativity – Team

Marketing and Communications team

The team understood that COVID-19 was having devastating impacts on residents, with many not being able to see their family and loved ones. The team devised the By Request campaign, filming the story of eight residents, and organising Australian singers to perform a special song for them. The campaign was showcased on radio, Spotify, TV, YouTube and Facebook

Rel8 (Demonstrating Organisational Values)

Individual

Katie Hall, Client Liaison/Team Leader, Community Aged and Disability Roma

Katie has worked with Anglicare for seven years. Through persistence and hard work, Katie has demonstrated the Rel8 principles while effectively developed her team’s culture. Katie encourages her staff to contribute their own views to team culture and incorporates these views in the actions she takes. Katie shares her learning other team leaders across her service area.

Team

Organisational Development team

In 2020, the Organisational Development team designed and implemented the Leadership Excellence Program. The program followed the Rel8 principles and has involved many employees from across the organisation coming together and committing to the development of emerging leaders. The program has made a positive difference to 60 leaders, and their teams, across the organisation.

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