Spotlight on Tasmanian Catholic social services

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Spotlight on Tasmanian Catholic social services
L-R: Barbara Hingston, CSSA; Fr Frank Brennan, CEO CSSA: Belinda Clarke, Director SIP; and Tim Gourlay, CatholicCare Tasmania

New methods of collaboration was a hot topic at the recent Catholic Social Services Australia (CSSA) Forum held in Sydney. The forum was themed ‘Our Church – The Current Challenges’ and examined the implications of the changing nature of the not-for-profit sector.

CatholicCare Tasmania Executive Director, Tim Gourlay, and Social Impact Program Director, Belinda Clarke, gave a presentation on the new and innovative Social Impact Program (SIP) as an example of a creative and original way for Catholic services to respond to the increasing and complex issues around disadvantage and poverty.

“The [SIP] program is a Year of Mercy initiative in response to The DOTE [Dropping off the Edge] report, which highlighted that specific locations across Australia and Tasmania continue to experience entrenched poverty and disadvantage,” explained Mr Gourlay.

“Social Impact Program aims to respond in creative ways to link Catholic agencies and other organisations on social impact initiatives,” said Mr Gourlay.

Mrs Clarke spoke about the challenges of bringing SIP to life over the first six months, and how people in the sector and the community are responding. 

“Our aspiration is to co-contribute to the growth of vibrant and hopeful communities that value the dignity and worth of each person. SIP works in partnership with diverse groups in Hobart’s northern suburbs to strengthen and co-create community wellbeing,” explained Mrs Clarke.

“One of the biggest assets we have is the footprint of the Catholic services. While we are large in number we are not always good at the linking and sharing – SIP is founded on the premise that we need to link together, collaborate, share resources and share agendas in order to have more impact,” Mrs Clarke continued.