COVID-19 UPDATE: Click here for StreetSmart Australia’s response

SmartCare Provides First Wellbeing Grants for Essential, Frontline Staff

Staff at South Port Community Group

Staff at South Port Community Group

The workload on our frontline essential workers has been relentless over the past 7 months.  They are the carers that have kept vulnerable people safe, yet they are often people who do not prioritise their own wellbeing. That’s where we have stepped in with an innovative new program. SmartCare raises funds and awareness for staff wellbeing programs.

We are excited to announce that just two months after launching SmartCare we have just made our first round of SmartCare Grants across five states. Fifteen organisations were funded with $47,000 worth of grants, impacting an estimated 540 staff.

Of the 15 organisations we have supported only one had ever received funding for staff wellbeing initiatives, yet recent research has shown that a third of people (35 per cent) interviewed at community service sector organisations, said they felt overwhelmed and admitted they were not taking as good care of themselves as they did pre-pandemic. Also, many charities have lost the capacity to fundraise through traditional channels and their workers are doing it tough. Over 300,000 have been on JobKeeper, and the future for the sector is generally uncertain, as it is for many areas across our communities.

As Ben Vasiliou told us during initial program research…

“Targeted support for front line staff is critical. There is little to no funding for self-care, development, reflection and support for our sectors heroes. Small grants like those provided by SmartCare would help NGO’s attract and retain amazing talent. Ultimately, the best staff means the best outcomes for the most vulnerable people in our community. SmartCare is very much needed.”

And here’s what management said on receiving notice of their grant:

“I feel incredibly proud of the work our team does and the passion and dedication they demonstrate on a daily basis. We can truly say that clients are the centre of all decisions made in the service delivery. To be able to reward them by giving to them when they give so much would be a highlight in a very difficult year.” Mandy Booker, Wollongong Emergency Family Housing

“During the pandemic our nurses and frontline workers have consistently taken on additional clients and responsibilities due to the vast increase in demand for our services. This increase in workload, coupled with physical distancing and other social restrictions in Victoria has seen our teams deal with increasing levels of anxiety and loneliness impacting on their health and wellbeing. With the funding provided by SmartCare we propose to recognise the ongoing work of our team. Each team member will be presented with a gratitude hamper for their hard work and dedication at a recognition event. With all available funds at Bolton Clarke being directed to people sleeping rough, this will be a way for us to genuinely thank our front-line workers and to acknowledge how this continued pandemic had affected their health and wellbeing.” Alex Cross, Bolton Clarke

“I think this is an amazing opportunity that StreetSmart is offering and the only staff wellbeing grant that I am aware of.  As CEO I know the staff, who have worked tirelessly, would be thrilled to be recognised in this way after the hard work of last few months. Thanks StreetSmart what a fantastic, innovative idea.” Paula Westhead, Emerge

Staff at Youth Futures

Staff at Youth Futures

Staff have experienced a multitude of negative health, mental health and wellbeing consequences indirectly related to COVID-19. Providing a great service to those experiencing complex life challenges requires staff to be in good physical and mental health. It is therefore imperative for us to support staff to accomplish this. It would be great to be able recognise and thank the hard work and dedication of our staff.”  Louise Bond, Youth Futures

“Wonderful news, thanks so much for the SmartCare Grant. It’s been a tough year that’s thrown up challenges for everyone. Wombat’s case managers have had to find different ways of supporting their clients whilst developing innovative service responses to assist vulnerable people placed into emergency accommodation in city hotels. All of Wombat’s staff have really appreciated StreetSmart’s recognition of the important role they have played during the pandemic. Thanks again for looking out for us.” Steve Maher, Wombat Housing

“We are so grateful for the care and consideration of our front-line workers who have really been a fourth emergency service during the pandemic. I’m so appreciative of StreetSmart and your considerate donors who thought to prioritise this.” Annabelle Daniel, WCS

SmartCare Grants November 2020

Organisation Name:  Grant Awarded:
Asylum Seeker Resource Centre  $                 3,000.00
Bolton Clarke (Royal District Nursing Service)  $                 3,000.00
Carrie’s Place Inc.  $                 3,000.00
Communify QLD  $                 3,000.00
Emerge Women and Children’s Support Network  $                 3,000.00
South Port Community Housing Group  $                 3,000.00
St John’s Youth Services  $                 3,000.00
St Kilda Gatehouse  $                 2,000.00
The Haymarket Foundation Ltd  $                 4,000.00
Whitelion Youth Agency  $                 3,000.00
Wollongong Emergency Family Housing  $                 3,000.00
Wombat Housing Support Services Inc  $                 3,000.00
Women’s Community Shelters  $                 3,000.00
Youth Futures  $                 4,000.00
Youth Projects  $                 4,000.00
TOTAL GRANTS  $               47,000.00

These SmartCare grants have been made possible with the amazing support of our donor community and three philanthropic partners: The Besen Family Foundation, the Australian Communities Foundation and Shine On Foundation. Thank you to everyone who made this possible.

SmartCare continues to raise funds and further grants will be made. If you wish to support this initiative please donate here or if you are a corporate or philanthropic foundation please contact Geoff Hills

Staff at St John’s Youth Service

Staff at St John’s Youth Service

If you personally need help or resources:

Call Beyond Blue 1800 512 348 or Lifeline on 13 11 14. Or visit https://coronavirus.beyondblue.org.au/

Further Information: