Transparency … it’s important

March 1, 2016

Did you know that in Australia, the Australian Taxation Office receives at least 5 requests a day from people wanting to start their own charity? That is a lot of people out there wanting to make a difference and impact change in their communities, however there are also cases where our positive good will and trust in organisations can be questioned when they aren’t as transparent about what they are doing as we would have hoped.

When I created The Aidon Project in 2009, I always knew I never wanted to be a big charity. I had volunteered with numerous big organisations and the work they did was important, so why would I want to try and compete with that?

The mental health sector is going through a bit of a shift at the moment. For many many years we have had big organisations all vying for the same Government funding and competing for resources. Every year we all talk about collective impact and collaboration, and for the most part I think we genuinely believe it will happen, however until the fundamental structures of our work changes, the sector will remain the same.

Innovative ways of working together are key, which is why I have formally partnered with Suicide Prevention Australia, alongside two other individuals to become Ambassadors and charity partners.

So what does this mean? You’re thinking, “Umm she just said she was never going to be a charity ….”. And you are kind of right!

To become a charity / non-for-profit organisation, it requires a huge amount of resources and for many of us in the sector, becoming a big agency is not what we want. We would much rather work alongside already existing people and programs to leverage on what we are all doing collectively and now we have been given that chance.

Fast forward to 2016 and Suicide Prevention Australia are piloting a new initiative:

“New structure being trialled by Suicide Prevention Australia.

After years of seeing a growing number of charities being established, we saw the need to offer alternative structures for small organisations and individuals. Suicide Prevention Australia has a pilot Ambassador program starting this year, with the kind participation of three of our longstanding community supporters and suicide prevention advocates. We are grateful for their collaborative spirit in trialling this new approach to community driven suicide prevention.

Ben Higgs from the Rise Foundation, Joe Williams from the Enemy Within and Lived Experience Network advisor Lauren Breen will formally be joining SPA as Community Ambassadors this year. They will continue to operate in their own right, under their own brands, doing important work in their communities and chosen demographics. The key difference is that instead of them each registering their charity, they will be operating in partnership with Suicide Prevention Australia from an administrative perspective.

Donations and sponsorship received by them for their agreed suicide prevention activities will be received into an SPA managed fund, leaving them free to focus on the delivery of their respective programs. Suicide Prevention Australia will also work with them to ensure suicide prevention key messages and best practice are implemented within their programs and speaking engagements. Part of this will entail connecting them to appropriate training opportunities. We have also built regular reviews into the agreement so that all parties can give honest and timely feedback on the pilot as it progresses over the next 12 months.

Time will tell if this arrangement is the answer. But, if we are all working towards a shared goal of reducing suicides in this country, surely we must take the most efficient and effective route to doing so. Alternatives to starting up new charities must be sought. – Sue Murray, CEO SPA” 

Ben, Joe & I are extremely lucky to be included in the pilot program and hopefully it is the start of a new and innovative way of working in the sector. Watch out 2016, big things are happening.

You can read the whole article here 

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What is ‘Lived Experience’?

January 29, 2016

On this site and in the workshops and speaking gigs I deliver, you will hear me refer to ‘lived experience’ numerous times. So what is this ‘lived experience’ ?

Suicide Prevention Australia defines ‘lived experience of suicide’ as:

‘having experienced suicidal thoughts, survived a suicide attempt, cared for someone who has attempted suicide, been bereaved by suicide, or been touched by suicide in another way.’

I am a proud member of the SPA Lived Experience Leadership Group – a group of 8 individuals from across Australia whose aim is to raise the profile of lived experience within the sector.

SPA are doing some fantastic things in the sector and I recommend contacting them if you wish to be apart of the Lived Experience Network:

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