Meet Jannene Thorn, IMPACT's Mental Health champion

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Last updated:
12/04/2021

Jannene Thorn knows a thing or two about lending a helping hand to those in need of support.

Jannene is IMPACT Community Services' Manager of Mental Health Services and has worked at IMPACT for 10 years across at least four different programs.

Jannene loves the work she does and the reputation IMPACT has in the community.

“I work here because the mission, vision and values align with mine,” Jannene said. 

“And I work here because I enjoy empowering vulnerable people so that they become independent and no longer need support.”

Meet Jannene Thorn, IMPACT's Mental Health champion
Meet Jannene Thorn, IMPACT's Mental Health champion

Jannene said that IMPACT was great because of its diversity, scope and wrap-around services.

“Someone will come as a jobseeker and wind up in parental support, or one of our other programs which is right next door,” she said.

“People are being referred across programs all the time – it's a one-stop shop here.”

Mental Health programs at IMPACT Community Services

Lived experience with disability served well

Jannene was a chef before entering the community services field, but after 19 years she felt “burned out” and needed a change of career.

She has a brother with disability so had plenty of experience in caring; it seemed natural to work in that sector. Jannene started working eight hours a week at IMPACT as a casual disability support worker, but soon became full time.

“My lived experience with my brother made me stronger as a support worker,” she said.

“You already know what standards of care are needed to look after someone properly.”

IMPACT's Community Hub: A one-stop-shop of service providers

Jannene spent three years as disability support worker before moving to early intervention in parenting as a Team Leader.

She then worked in supported employment at our Materials Recovery Facility (MRF), looking after our workers with a disability.

“I really loved it and almost didn't want to leave,” she said.

But then Jannene found her calling as Manager of Mental Health Services, looking after a vast area of the Wide Bay. She now manages nine programs and organises the collaboration with other various support services.

IMPACT collaborates with other support services

“We collaborate well with the community,” Jannene said.

“We partner with other services, all with the end view of a better outcome for the client.”

Jannene manages a staff of 10, all mental health experts with vast experience.

“We use a strengths-based recovery approach,” she said.

“It’s whatever works well with the client.”

Jannene's plans for the future involve co-designing mental health programs and trying to establish a wider footprint across Queensland.

And of course, helping more people to improve their lives.

Providing documentation or receiving advice from multiple service providers can be a time consuming and exhausting process.

Visiting one provider after another can take hours, if not days or weeks to complete, depending on one’s available time.

That’s why IMPACT Community Services has decided to host a Community Hub.

The aim of the Community Hub is to bring Bundaberg services together in one place to work collaboratively and provide a one stop shop for mutual clients.

IMPACT’s Support Services Manager Sandra Higgins said the hub will prove a huge time saver for people and allow the community to streamline service delivery.

“Having assisted clients for many years though my varied roles, I have witnessed how time consuming it can be going from one service to another, filing out a variety of forms and needing to copy and attach documentation,” Sandra said.

“By being able to do this all in one place as well as having the facility to copy and scan documents while you are here, will cut down the running around for clients and the wait times to get forms lodged or to find out information.

“We see that members of the community will benefit from this service by being able to come and get any information, forms and soft introductions to services that they may not be aware of but could utilise, and the support services will be able to network and exchange information on each other’s programs and services, so it’s a win/win all round.”

IMPACT's Community Hub to provide easy access to multiple organisations

The services in attendance will work collaboratively with each other to make it easier for people to access services and gain the help and support that they need.

“We are trying to make things a bit easier for people that may have mobility issues or not have access to transport,” Sandra said.

“We have a bus stop right at our front door so come over at take advantage of a one stop shop for services.

“If this is successful for people, we hope to attract more service providers and build a convenient community access point for service delivery.”

The Community Hub will host its first meet on Thursday May 6, and continue on the first Thursday of each month moving forward.

So far in attendance will be Wellways, Wide Bay Sexual Health, B Transformed Health & Fitness, Central Queensland Indigenous Development, Step Up Step Down service, a free legal service, Meals on Wheels, Carers Gateway, the Department of Housing, a Justice of the Peace to witness documents, and two financial counsellors, one from Uniting Care and the other from The Salvation Army.

IMPACT’s Community Navigators will also be on hand to assist people with filling in forms or directing any queries people might have.

If you are interested in attending, click here to register or phone 4153 4233 today.

This service has been established by IMPACT as it continues its work to improve lives in the Bundaberg region.

Welcome to Queensland Women’s Week at IMPACT! 

To celebrate the event, which runs over 11 days from March 3 to 14, we will be sharing a series of Q&A stories with some of our exceptional female staff from across the organisation.

Today you get to meet Maxine, one of our Intensive Family Support workers.

Celebrating Queensland Women's Week: Meet IFS's MaxineWhat is your role at IMPACT, why do you enjoy the work you do, and what drives you to be the best you can at your role?

My role at IMPACT Community Services is an Intensive Family Support (IFS) Case Manager within a Domestic and Family Violence Framework of Best Practice - DFV Specialist.  I enjoy the work that I do because a personal goal of mine is to “create a better world”; conscientisation is key.  In this role I am able to, hopefully, positively influence those I work with to achieve respectful, thriving and healthy relationships.

I am driven by all the people I meet and also by the children I come into contact with who might need their mother and father to respectfully co-exist with one another while putting in 100% effort to creating an uplifting, empowering and healthy home-front for them to springboard from.

Interesting but off-topic: In the DFV world and where 85%+ of violence and abuse comes from men towards their women and most often in front of their children, many questions arise. Like, can someone stop their oppression of someone (physically, psychologically, sexually, socially, financially)? And if so, how long will that take? What will happen if/when she decides she cannot ever trust him again and wants to leave? How are the children impacted by the shouting, screaming or the toxicity in their home grounds?

Who is the woman who has inspired you most in your life?

There are many women who have inspired my understandings and how I have worked over the years.  As a 9-year-old my learning about Joan of Arc really influenced me because I continue to be inspired by strong ‘warrior women’.  Currently I am following Vandana Shiva who began her works by installing a Seed Bank in response to the privatisation/patenting of natural resources; and I am following Indra Nooyi who has been voted the most influential women on Earth.

What are their exceptional qualities?

I think those women inspire me because of  their exceptional quality of Being – facta non verba – they walk their talk. The women who have been my role models are those who know the struggles of calling out oppression fearlessly (and relevantly) and most concisely.  You must be able to name the problem in order to resolve the problem to action for change.

What is your message to young women today who are trying to make their mark?

Do not be afraid to make mistakes, do not be freaked out by feeling uncomfortable in challenging situations – make your truths transparent. If you are wrong, it's okay. Learn by it, learn from it. Laugh a lot, and sing loudly. Read, Susan Jeffers' book, “Feel the Fear and Do it Anyway” or listen to the audio book. Mind the thoughts you keep, strive for respectful, interdependent healthy relationships, know what you stand for and what you won’t stand for. And just as importantly, learn how to defend/resource yourself in times of trouble.

Visit the Queensland Women's Week website

If you're struggling with making ends meet and get everything paid, IMPACT is running a workshop designed specifically for you.

The 'Bring your Bills Day’ Workshop is simple; bring the bills that you struggle to pay on a regular basis and the financial counsellor will give you some tips to manage your money to get them paid.

Bring in your bills and leave with peace of mind on March 25Financial counsellor Paul D’Costa will chat about the best way to get your payments under control.

Paul will also be offering individual appointments to address your individual support needs and assist with any debt agreements, budget, or anything else you might be finding tough.

As an added bonus, if you book and attend a one-on-one session with Paul you will go in the draw to win a $50 fuel voucher.

There will also be a lucky door prize, sausage sizzle and drinks on offer.

IMPACT's Community Navigator said when it comes to difficult financial strains, “knowledge is the best tool.”

“With a lucky door prize and free sausage sizzle and drink on offer, what more would you want to do on a Thursday morning?" they said.

“And if you win the draw for $50 fuel, that would mean a week running the kids around for free.”

The workshop is being held on Thursday March 25 at 108 Bargara Road, Bundaberg East. Numbers are limited so be sure to book in. For more information contact IMPACT on 4153 4233.

IMPACT Community Services has been providing disability support to the Bundaberg community for 20 years with a mental health and goals-oriented focus.

The programs provided have changed with time and continue to grow with feedback from IMPACT’s NDIS and disability participants.

Arguably the most popular service at IMPACT, Rob’s Shed invites NDIS participants into the building and construction environment.

Here, students are guided in woodworking and craftsmanship, from creating bird boxes and toolboxes to pallet furniture and dog houses.

Woodworking is known for its positive effects on mental health and function.

This course, which runs on Monday and Thursday, is also a great way to meet new people who have similar interests and learn new skills along the way.

Forging new skills at IMPACT

New participant Mannan joined Rob’s Shed a few months ago for one-on-one sessions, having an interest in sanding.

NDIS participant Mannan thrives in Rob's Shed“Being sensitive to noise and finding it hard to concentrate, we are so happy to see him using different tools like the drilling machine, circular saw, nail gun and planer safely with assistance and following Rob’s instructions,” Mannan’s mother said.

“He is very excited for the small projects he works on. He looks forward for the sessions.”

IMPACT’s NDIS Coordinator Roz Blood said woodworking was great therapy for people with anxiety and mental health issues.

“And it's perfect for NDIS participants,” she said.

“Rob's Shed is more a social format and participants work on group projects… the skills you learn in this course you can replicate at home on your own.”

Check out our range of NDIS services

IMPACT provides quality support with qualified tradespeople

The service is run by experienced tradesman and namesake Rob Wallace who is big on workplace health and safety and prides himself on the fact there’s not been anyone injured during the three years his shed has been running.

“I’ve always wanted to do this,” Rob said about the role.

“There are a few of the people here who have been with me now for a couple of years.

“They really enjoy the work.  We have quite a few projects going at any one time to make sure people don’t get bored.”

“It’s all about skilling people and making sure they know how to use the tools safely.”

Rob’s Shed now has two female participants who also enjoy the activities.

Other services on offer at IMPACT include the Cooee arts group, Fitness for Fun, Manga Art and the Community Access Group.

The monthly excursions and monthly Friday night outings were put on hold due to COVID but will be back and better than ever very soon.

While not exclusively run by the NDIS department, the IMPACT Choir is a big hit within the community and will also be returning next month.

The choir offers an inclusive environment for all people to sing along and perform together.

For more information on IMPACT’s NDIS and disability services phone 4153 4233.

Read about Sarah the Skip Truck Operator turned woodworking wonder

IMPACT Community Services’ new Certificate III Individual Support (Home and Community) trainer and assessor Robyn Green has hit the ground running and sees big things ahead for her students.

Robyn has just delivered the first serving of units in IMPACT’s Home and Community CHC33015 course and everyone is excited.

“There were a few nerves in the beginning,” Robyn said after her first week of on-site training.

“But we've all overcome them and are full of confidence.

“The students have just handed in their first lot of assessments.” in their CHC33015 Cert III Home and Community Care Training course.

The current Certificate III Individual Support (Home and Community) class is full.

“They do face-to-face lessons two days a week and the rest from home,” Robyn said.

Check out the courses starting soon at IMPACT

Effective approach in training

Our students spend the first week onsite so they are provided training in how to use their technology to enable them learn at home.

“They like the option of having the lesson recorded so they can go over everything they need," she said.

“It's a big help.”

Robyn said Covid and the impact it had on vulnerable members of the community had made her students realise the importance of support work and helping the aged and those with a disability.

“It makes them more willing to go the extra mile,” she said.

Male staff are highly sought after in the industry and Robyn is thrilled to have four men in the class.

Enrol with IMPACT today

Robyn has a rich and varied background in caring for others having worked in hospital wards.

And, like many people who work at IMPACT helping others, Robyn has a direct experience of working with someone with a disability; her autistic son.

This direct experience often gives family carers a unique insight into their needs and challenges.

Producing quality graduates

Robyn knows first-hand the quality of IMPACT graduates, as all of her son’s carers had been trained at IMPACT.

“They were amazing,” she said.

"And I want to train the next generation of carers and help them to be the best that they can be.”

Robyn's first course working at IMPACT is a promise of many more good things to come.

IMPACT is a Registered Training Organisation (RTO code: 0115)

If you would like to enrol for future Certificate 3 courses or see how else IMPACT can help you into a new career go to our training page

IMPACT Community Services is offering people struggling to make ends meet free one-on-one sessions with a financial expert.

These sessions are part of IMPACT’s on-site financial literacy supports, which are ramping up in 2021.

As well as the weekly one-on-one sessions there will be monthly workshops delivered by a financial advisor at IMPACT’s 108 Bargara Rd premises.

It’s all part of our Community Navigators program which helps people access support for their individual needs.

Community Navigators support worker Leigh said the workshops and one-on-one sessions would help people understand key elements of using money wisely.

Leigh said while many people were struggling financially, there were options available to them that they might not be aware of.

Expert financial advice that won't cost you a centShe said the financial supports would focus on:

“If you think you are the type of person who can't save, then this workshop is for you,” Leigh said.

“There are just so many more temptations to get easy money and not adequately judge the consequences these days.

“Community Navigators is here to assist anyone who has fallen down and needs financial guidance with these excellent workshops run by an expert in the field.”

The workshops and one-on-one sessions will be run by Paul D’Costa from The Salvation Army.

Paul will be available for financial counselling every Thursday from 10am to 2pm.

“Everything I do with a client is private and confidential and I am bound by a code of ethics and professional boundaries,” Mr D’Costa said.

Some of the areas Paul can assist clients to understand include:

Find out more about IMPACT's Community Navigator program

The dates for the financial monthly workshops, which all start at 10am, are:

Thursday, February 25

Thursday, March 25

Thursday, April 22

Thursday, May 27

Thursday, June 24

Thursday, July 22

Thursday, August 26

Thursday, September 23

Thursday, October 28

To book your place at a workshop or a one-on-one session call IMPACT on 4153 4233.

Demographers and social scientists seem divided when it comes to the question of whether the Covid lockdown will lead to a baby boom.

But if there is a tsunami of 'Generation C’ babies, IMPACT Community Services will be ready.

Bundy baby boom? A Positive Start to your parenting journeyIMPACT’s Positive Start parenting support program is for mums and dads or carers with children aged up to 12 (18 in special cases) who need a little help and support.

If you need advice, have a few questions or simply want to meet other parents in a relaxed supportive environment, then Positive Start is for you.

The service has a perinatal clinic for expectant mums, and a qualified midwife available to check on your baby’s progress.

The service is open for anyone, but it has proved especially helpful to younger or first-time mums.

Meanwhile, we have recently recommenced our weekly playgroup each Thursday morning. This means, parents can bring their bubs and get a little valuable respite and talk with other mums while their children play. We also have transport available for these playgroups.

And on Thursday, February 18 a Triple P seminar is scheduled. These seminars are a priceless education resource for parents provided in partnership with the Children’s Health Service.

“We have seen our parents achieve so much lately,” IMPACT’s Positive Start Team Leader Lesley Allen said.

“It is so great to support our parents to achieve their goals like getting a driving licence, or finding a job or gaining new parenting skills. It is so great to see their confidence and self-esteem grow.”

To find out how we can help you, call 4153 4233 or click here.

By Tanya O'Shea, IMPACT Community Services Managing Director

"STRONGER TOGETHER" IS A WEEKLY COLUMN WHERE TANYA EXPLORES KEY ISSUES. TODAY TANYA TALKS ABOUT RESILIENCE AND DRIVE IN THE WORKPLACE.

Bundaberg businesses have told us that they want capable, reliable workers who show up every day, ready to work. 

They want someone with resilience who can both think for themselves and follow policies and procedures. 

They want workers with drive and determination who can uphold the business' values and wow both customers and stakeholders. 

Business owners hire workers based on someone’s attitude and cultural fit because it is easier to train new skills than to teach the proper attitude.

STRONGER TOGETHER: Recognising the silver linings of COVID-19

STRONGER TOGETHER: Building more resilient job seekers

Building self-esteem and belief in a better future are vital to help people move forward in life and make them “job ready” for the labour market.

At IMPACT Community Services, we understand what it takes to help people on this journey.

Increased isolation because of the Covid pandemic has not only adversely affected people's usual support networks, but it has also prevented people from exploring new support networks.

People benefit from “quality socialising” that puts them in touch with motivated, goal-oriented people who can act as positive role models.  This type of connection gives people permission and courage to achieve outcomes that are much more difficult to achieve on their own.

According to Vivian Williams at the Mayo Clinic, “socialising not only staves off feelings of loneliness but also it helps sharpens memory and cognitive skills, increases your sense of happiness and well-being and may even help you live longer”.

STRONGER TOGETHER: New Year, new goals

It also greatly increases your preparedness to enter the workforce.

IMPACT offers Certificate III qualifications through its Registered Training Organisation (RTO code: 0115), which meet the needs of Bundaberg businesses.

Our courses give students access to motivated, goal-oriented trainers who are committed to help our students thrive.

Our industry links give our students the opportunity to move forward in their lives and into the labour force.

IMPACT Community Services is once again running the popular Skillsets for Successful Tenancies - Dollars and Sense course, and if you're looking to get an extra advantage in Bundaberg’s difficult rental market, it could be just the ticket.

IMPACT’s Lesley Allen said the free tenancy training program would help to educate tenants about important tenancy and life skills required to rent a property.

Ms Allen said IMPACT was passionate about supporting tenants experiencing difficulty in entering the rental market or keeping a property.

IMPACT course helps locals facing rental nightmare

Challenging market

Bundaberg’s rental vacancy rate was 0.4% for the December 2020 quarter, according to data from the Real Estate Institute of Queensland.

Course participants are given a certificate of achievement upon completion which can be attached to their rental application.

It's especially helpful for those who don't have a rental history, whether you are new to the market or have previously been living in a mortgaged property and are no longer doing so.

The course was created by the Tenancy Skills Institute (TSI) for which IMPACT is an accredited trainer. The institute spent four years putting the course together, consulting multiple real estate professionals to identify tenancy issues and formulating the course content according to core competencies that a good tenant needs to have.

The TSI says the course creates tenants who were not only aware of their rights and responsibilities, but who could also effectively communicate with their landlords, clean and maintain a property, as well as manage their finances.

Sign up now

The next face-to-face course begins on Wednesday, March 3 and continues on the following three Wednesdays (March 10, 17 and 24).

The great thing about the course is its flexibility, as those who would prefer to do it online can do it anytime.

For more information call Lesley Allen at IMPACT on 4153 4233.

By Tanya O'Shea, IMPACT Community Services Managing Director

"STRONGER TOGETHER" IS A WEEKLY COLUMN WHERE TANYA EXPLORES KEY ISSUES. TODAY TANYA TALKS ABOUT LESSONS AND LEARNINGS PRESENTED IN 2020.

At IMPACT Community Services, 2020 will be remembered as a year of possibility.

This is not meant to sound trite or diminish the fact that it was an incredibly challenging year for many.

Instead, it is to recognise the tremendous commitment demonstrated by our community, who have opened themselves up to new ways of thinking and working.

STRONGER TOGETHER: Recognising the silver linings of COVID-19At IMPACT, this included strategies that until last year, had been earmarked for our distant future.

It would be easy to reflect on the last 12 months and attribute our agility and significant growth in capability to the effects of COVID-19, but instead I would like to recognise those at the core of our achievements last year; our people.

The word ‘commitment’ can be overused, and at times applied in a manner that shows appreciation towards people for simply ‘showing up’.

This is not our experience.

At IMPACT, our team have committed to achieving high performance while enhancing service provision, exploring, experimenting, researching and trialling new and innovative ways to do what they do best – providing services that enable people to reach and realise their full potential.

STRONGER TOGETHER: New Year, new goals

Paired with the dedication from our students and clients, we were able to overcome challenges we never thought possible.

Has it been easy?

No.

Have we got it wrong sometimes?

Most definitely.

However, our people have persisted and found ways to navigate through the challenges and uncertainty, and along the way, have uncovered new and exciting possibilities.

We realised just how important togetherness is and developed a new appreciation for where we live.

How lucky are we to call our small regional town of Bundaberg home?

We managed to maintain a level of freedom while other places were locked down in isolation for extended periods of time.

Make the most of your year; upskill with IMPACT Training now

We had the ability to reconnect with our pets and were given the opportunity to begin new fitness journeys as a means of leaving the house for the short timeframe allowable.

It would be prudent to continue these discoveries into 2021.

According to Winston Churchill ‘We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give’.

We are ready to be bold and step into unchartered territory, and we encourage our community members to do the same.

Together, let’s learn from the lessons of 2020 and grab 2021 by the horns.

Together, let’s take the learnings and build a stronger and more resilient community.

One that creates opportunities for the people that live within it and successfully supports the continued growth of business and industry.

We are stronger together.

2021 is the year for upskilling and those not moving forward are at risk of getting left behind, according to one of IMPACT Community Services’ employment specialists.

IMPACT’s jobactive recruitment advisor David Maxey-Fisher said now was the right time to act for those looking to upskill.

IMPACT is currently accepting enrolments for a suite of courses set to start in coming days. 

In-demand opportunities

All IMPACT courses are aligned to local industry demand where there is an identified need for skilled new workers.

IMPACT is a Registered Training Organisation (RTO code: 0115) and offers a range of courses, including Certificate III training in Individual Support (Home and Community, Ageing and Disability) as well as Hospitality.

IMPACT’s team of specialist trainers have a wealth of industry experience and strong connections with employers across the region.

Going the extra mile

Mr Maxey-Fisher said IMPACT went the extra mile to work with students to prepare them for the workforce.

2021 is the year to upskill says IMPACT employment specialist"IMPACT offers work placement into real jobs and the support to make you attractive to an employer,” Mr Maxey-Fisher said.

“We put you in the shop window for employers looking for good staff.

“Our training can connect you with motivated people who can energise you into getting the right position, and the mentoring and guidance that only professional Certificate III training can provide.”

Students may also be eligible for government funding support.

IMPACT’s upcoming courses include:

SIT30616 Certificate III in Hospitality

Starts: Monday, January 18 (though this course has started, it’s not too late to enrol)

Duration: 16 weeks

Trainer: Wendy Carter

CHC33015 Certificate III in Individual Support (Home & Community)

Starts: Monday, February 1 February

Duration: 13 weeks

Vocational Placement: 4 weeks

Trainer: Robyn Green

CHC33015 Certificate III in Individual Support (Disability)

Starts: Tuesday, February 23

Duration: 13 weeks

Vocational Placement: 4 weeks

CHC33015 Certificate III in Individual Support (Ageing)

Starts: Monday, March 8

Duration: 13 Weeks

Vocational Placement: 4 weeks

Trainer: Sandy Baker

*Classes require minimum enrolments and are subject to change.

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