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Fire communities’ needs still far outstretch supply

Posted: May 8th, 2009 | Author: | Filed under: Media | Comments Off

ACCESS ministries welcomes today’s announcement by the Hon. Bill Shorten, Parliamentary Secretary for Disabilities and Children’s Services and Parliamentary Secretary for Victorian Bushfire Reconstruction of a grant of $165,000 to provide additional chaplaincy services for school communities affected by this year’s Victorian bushfires.

This grant will allow more chaplains to spend longer in more fire-affected areas as the schools and communities re-establish their lives.

The Chief Executive of ACCESS ministries, Rev Dr Evonne Paddison, today welcomed news of the grant from the Australian Government.

‘This grant endorses the great work that existing chaplains have been doing on the ground, and now will help us to provide more of such support in even more of the fire areas.’

‘The communities and especially the school children appreciate continuity of contact with the same support person to whom they can grow trust, tell their stories, and begin to move on in practical day to day ways.’

‘We hope that the Australian government will be prepared to make further investments into the future of children and young people, through the work of our chaplains.’

Expanded broadband systems will be very important in emergency communications, and integral to the ongoing meaning systems of our newest ‘Generation Z’ coming through our primary schools. However, continued investment in face-to-face chaplaincy is also an essential ingredient to the future of children and young people.

At times such as these, the role of chaplains has been essential to the health and well being of the school population and its extended community?teachers, families and friends.

As this welcome grant has focussed upon the Kinglake area, ACCESS ministries has also launched an appeal to be able to supply as soon as possible more ongoing chaplains to school communities in the many other fire-affected regions of Victoria.

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• ACCESS ministries has been working in Victoria’s schools for more than 60 years. It currently provides chaplains in around 280 of Victoria’s primary and secondary schools, and is the primary source of chaplains in Victoria’s government schools.

• For further information or an interview with Rev Dr Evonne Paddison (CEO, ACCESS ministries), please contact:
Ms Dawn Penney. Phone: CallfreeTM 1800 063 341; or direct 03 9811 0911; or mobile 0425 785 668. Email: dpenney@accessministries.org.au

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