UnitingCare Tasmania and Bendigo Bank issue blanket call for winter relief

Keridan Taylor, a relationship banker with Bendigo Bank, and UnitingCare Tasmania CEO Lin

Keridan Taylor, a relationship banker with Bendigo Bank, and UnitingCare Tasmania CEO Lindy O’Neill are urging Tasmanians to donate warm clothing and blankets to those less fortunate. Picture: NIKKI DAVIS-JONES

STAYING snug in the colder months is about to become a little easier for Tasmanians on struggle street.

A new initiative called the Winter Warmer Drive was unveiled in Hobart today by UnitingCare Tasmania and Bendigo Bank.

Tasmanians are being urged to drop their surplus blankets, gloves, coats and scarves into Bendigo branches for distribution by UnitingCare’s emergency relief outlets.

A mobile mobile op-shop bus will also do the rounds of rural and remote regions to share the winter wear.

UnitingCare Tasmania chief executive Lindy O’Neill said the new initiative would become an annual event.

“We intend to do it every year in May,” she said.

“We all know how cold Tasmanian winters can be and this is a good excuse for people to raid their wardrobes for that coat which has not be worn for years or that blanket which is now no longer needed and is taking up space at the back of a cupboard.”

Greg Peel, who heads Bendigo Bank’s joint venture Community Sector Banking, said teaming up with UnitingCare for the drive was a no-brainer.

“Getting communities behind Uniting Care Tasmania’s blanket drive is not only helping those individuals who receive these generous donations but showing support for [their] crucial work,” Mr Peel said.

Donations can be made at Bendigo branches in Hobart, Glenorchy, Rosny Park, Sorell, Nubeena, Bicheno, Swansea, Kingston, Huonville, Cygnet, Geeveston, Dover and Queenstown.


Uniting Care Tasmania and Launceston-based Karinya Young Women’s Service have joined forces to equip pregnant and young mums with the accommodation resources and parenting skills necessary to kick start a new life for themselves and their children.

Under the joint initiative – unveiled in Launceston earlier this month with the support of Tasmanian Children’s Minister Michelle O’Byrne –  Karinya will manage and lease up to eight Housing Tasmania units for young mothers and UnitingCare will provide the residents with mentoring services aimed at assisting them to deal with the massive life change through its Pregnant and Young Parents Support program (PYPS).

Providing young mothers with secure accommodation is seen as an important first step in achieving positive life outcomes and a preparedness to participate in the PYPS program will form part of the lease agreement with each young parent.

Funding for the initiative has been provided by the Clarendon Children’s Home, for three years.

The two organisations have extensive experience in working with the target group of young families.

Karinya has provided supported accommodation services for young women in the region for more than 30 years while UnitingCare’s Pregnant and Young Parents Support program (PYPS) has operated successfully in Northern Tasmania for more than 20 years.

PYPS assists young parents and pregnant young women develop an understanding of the transition to parenthood and to facilitate the development of effective parenting skills. It aims to enable participants to make informed decisions towards achieving their short and long-term goals through the processes of empowerment, support and education.

UnitingCare Tasmania’s  Statewide Family Services Manager, Maurice Dawe,  said taking away the stress associated with uncertain living arrangements assisted clients to be able to focus more comfortably on issues relating to their pregnancy and the wellbeing of their other children if any.

“Many of these young mothers and mothers to be have not had the family support or guidance to enable them to feel comfortable with tackling such a life changing experience,” Mr Dawe said.

“In partnership with Karinya what we want to do is not only show them how to survive but, more importantly, set them on a path to thrive both as an individual and as a mother.”

Karinya chairperson Kerrie Dean said both organisations were highly regarded for the support they provide to young pregnant women, or young parents and their children, including those who are homeless or at risk of becoming homeless.

“Together we believe we can offer high quality support options that will significantly improve the health, wellbeing and life chances of pregnant and young parents and their children,” she said.

Ms O’Byrne welcomed the initiative and said it would provide two of the most important things for a young family – support and stable accommodation.

“Parenting is the most important thing that any of us will do but it is a difficult job, even in the best of circumstances,” she said.

“This initiative will help give young Tasmanians the best possible start in life.”


Pictured at announcement are (front from left): Young mum Brooke Kirkland with daughter Luca, Tasmanian Children’s Minister Michelle O’Byrne and Karinya youth work co-ordinator Ria Brink. 

Standing behind are (from left): UnitingCare Statewide Family Services Manager Maurice Dawe and Rev. Robert Legg, the president of Clarendon Children’s Home.

No heart in Newstart!

Making the allowance more equitable and giving recipients “a decent start at a decent life.”

To the Senate Education, Employment and Workplace Relations Committee inquiry into:

“The adequacy of the allowance payment system for jobseekers and others,
the appropriateness of the allowance payment system as a support into work
and the impact of the changing nature of the labour market”

Click here to download the full submission.

$143,000 in grants support a vital Tasmanian community relief programs

More than $143,000 in SHARE grants is being issued to UnitingCare Tasmania to support some of the State’s most vulnerable people.

The money was raised from generous donations to the SHARE Community Appeal over the past year.

More than $1 million will be distributed by SHARE throughout Victoria and Tasmania to support a variety of programs from services for children and families to emergency relief.

SHARE has allocated $55,000 to UnitingCare Tasmania’s volunteers’ program, $58,500 for the continuation of emergency relief programs at Bridgewater-Gagebrook, Hobart Benevolent Society, Kingston-Huon Valley and remote and rural communities and $30,000 for Bridgewater-Gagebrook’s Emergency Relief Financial Counselling and Family Support Program.

Click here to download the full media release.

Welfare agency seeks community support

UnitingCare Tasmania is urging residents to support its annual SHARE Winter Appeal, which provides funding to community aid programs across the State.

Chief executive Lindy O’Neill said without UnitingCare programs many Tasmanians would have no place to turn for assistance with emergency food relief, paying bills and basic living skills.

“Each year UnitingCare agencies apply for grants made possible by the funds raised through the SHARE Winter Appeal. The grants are allocated in July and the more money raised means the more Tasmanians we can help,” Ms O’Neill said.

Last year about $140,000 in grants was given to UnitingCare Tasmania agencies for emergency relief and material aid, homelessness services and many other vital programs assisting people in crisis.

Click here to download the full media release.