Minister’s visit warms up Hearth

It was a very exciting day for us at Hearth. The Honourable Kelly O’Dwyer, Federal MP who is our local Member for Higgins, paid us a special visit at the office.

It provided us with a fantastic opportunity to introduce ourselves, tell her about the Hearth story and talk about our services.

Minister O’Dwyer said she was very interested in how Hearth is evolving, led by CEO Justin Scanlon.

“It’s great to be here and hear about the personal journey and to recognise the expertise and skills you bring to a critical area of community need.

“It’s absolutely vital, what you are doing,” she told the team.

CEO Justin Scanlon describes the Hearth journey to Minister Kelly O’Dwyer

The heart of Hearth

Kelly O’Dwyer is the Federal Minister for Jobs and Industrial Relations. She was very keen to know about how Hearth recruited support workers, provided training and created career pathways to employment.

“It’s great to hear directly from the people who work for you about the positive difference they are making to people’s lives and the support they are providing to people who are very vulnerable and in need of care.”

During the discussions, members of the Hearth team discussed some of their own experiences of family members living with a disability.

Minister O’Dwyer said, “I think that lived experience, which is at the heart of Hearth, is something that people do connect with.”

But she said she also knew that it took time and effort to find the right support workers for individual cases.

“I understand how complex it is to get the right mix.”

Kelly O’Dwyer speaking with Emily Loughnan, Harry White and Rashmika Suresh

Making connections in the community 

Justin Scanlon said it was great to have a conversation about our collaboration in the sector.

“It’s important because this is how we provide specialist care whenever there are special needs.”

When discussing collaborations, Minister O’Dwyer also mentioned other organisations such as Very Special Kids and Malvern Special Needs Playgroup working in the area.

“There is a wealth of knowledge among the organisations.”

Relationship Manager Nellie Godwin said it was good to know that the Minister knew about important local services.

“You could tell she cared about the local community.”

Justin Scanlon and Kelly O’Dwyer with a painting by Carla Velari

Just before the Minister left Hearth, the team were particularly keen to show off a painting by Carla Velari.

Relationship Manager Rashmika Suresh , who commissioned the painting said, “it’s meaningful to have at Hearth, a work painted by someone we support.

“Carla thought a lot about Hearth when she painted this beautiful piece. I think the Minister was impressed and it was great to share this with her.”

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