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Centacare honours heroes at annual Awards event

Loyal service: Long-time Centacare service workers Matuaina Manaia, Sr Brigid Courtney and Emilia Lavan with Disability Support director Stewart Thompson.

“WE have had a lot of good feedback from the wives; and the husbands have come home and been really happy because they’ve actually been able to talk to other men and generally they don’t get that,” Centacare service delivery manager Felicity Arnold said.

Ms Arnold helps to run Waminda Men’s Group, one of a number of groups that won accolades for outstanding service at the Centacare Awards held at Brisbane’s Customs House on November 8. 

The award win resonated with carers, wives and the men themselves, Ms Arnold said.

The men’s group started as a way to connect men who felt isolated, and it had undergone significant growth.

“Now it’s gotten so big we’re getting a lot of clients that (have) early onset dementia – they’re loving it, just getting out,” Ms Arnold said.

“There’s a need in the area and we’ve been able to cater for it.”

Winners: Thomas Gavinson, Wei-Li Heng and Lucy Beikoff, from Centacare Work Health and Safety office at the Centacare Awards held at Customs House on November 8.

Ms Arnold, who was at the awards, said the event was wonderful.

“I’ve been once before; it was really, really lovely … a great honour too,” she said.

Waminda Men’s Group was one of many good-news stories at the Centacare Awards.

Another was Family Mental Health Support Services, based in Hervey Bay, which won an outstanding service team award for their work in children’s counselling and mental health support.

Counselling co-ordinator Patricia Gorman said every day at FMHS was different.

She said many of the children had suicidal ideation. 

“I was just working with a girl a couple of years ago, she came back to see me; kids come in and out, depending on their developmental stage,” she said. 

“… When she first came to see me when she was 15, she had already made up her mind that she was going to kill herself. 

“She wasn’t going to live until she was 18. 

“And now she’s 20, she’s moved on with her life, things have settled and she’s making some really healthy decisions.

“It’s very rewarding work.”

Ms Gorman said being in a small community meant she often got to see the end results.

“I’ve seen them grow up now and they’ve got children of their own,” she said.

Men’s group: Archbishop Coleridge (fourth from left) with Waminda Men’s Group members Bernard Schostakowsi, Greg Prestwidge, Greg Henry, John Berthold and Anthony East.

Ms Gorman said the awards ceremony was lovely.

“I do my job because I love it, we all do, but it was really lovely for me to see my team really excited to be recognised,” she said.

“They do good consistent work all the time.”

Ms Gorman said it was wonderful to see the hard work recognised.

Another Centacare employee who did a good job was service delivery manager Manwil Peter, who helps put activities together for children, teenagers and young adults.

Mr Peter won for outstanding individual contribution, which was awarded to an employee who goes the extra mile.

He said his nomination was “totally unexpected”.

Having worked as a support worker in the past, he said he enjoyed just being in touch with his clients – especially hearing from clients he used to support and hearing that they enjoyed the activities he put on for them.

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