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A mission of community service

WESLEY Mission Perth plays a key role in providing community services support to the people of Perth across a range of areas and through a number of programs.The mission’s charter is two-fold – to provide opportunities for people to participate in a community of faith, and to offer programs of support and service to the commun-ity, especially those who may be marginalised or disadvantaged. Specifically, Wesley works in the areas of homelessness, poverty, substance use, disability services, psychiatric illness, ageing, lone-liness, brain injury, primary support breakdowns and financial crisis. Wesley Mission Perth is made up of a combination of 81 full-time and part-time staff and more than 400 volunteers. Through its various act-ivities it reaches more than 14,000 individuals and families each year.Wesley Mission Perth, an agency of UnitingCare and the Uniting Church, is one of Australia’s largest non-government community ser-vices providers and has been providing support to the people of Perth since 1830. Formerly known as Wesley Methodist Church, Wesley Mission has worked to translate the values of the Christian Church into pro-grams of social action, which have had a significant positive social impact. Among its early achievements was the establishment of the first school for Indigenous children, the provision of housing for women and children at risk, and the establish-ment of Good Samaritan Industries to provide employment and training for people with disability. The New Year marks a period of significant change for the operations of Wesley Mission Perth.The mission will implement a strategic plan for the period up to June 2008, which will consolidate and strengthen the organisation’s program of community work.In addition, as a result of a restructure of the Uniting Church’s community services agencies, the majority of Wesley Mission’s activities will be rolled into a new single synod-wide agency.The merged entity will encompass the current work of Wesley Mission Perth, Fremantle Wesley Mission, Trinity Outreach Services and Uniting Community House among others.Wesley Mission Perth will remain a worshipping parish mission and the Wesley Cafeteria will also continue.The new agency will continue to provide a strong suite of community services, which will maintain the current reach of Wesley Mission Perth’s programs.It is also hoping that economies of scale will be achieved that will actually enhance service delivery to the community.During the past year, referrals to Wesley HomeLink increased by 54 per cent (in the second half of the financial year) and 398 individuals and families were assisted to help find permanent accommodation.The HomeLink program was established to assist homeless families and individuals in the metropolitan locate and access long-term accommodation in the private rental market. Wesley Housing, a service that helps people with psychiatric disability to live independently in the community, continued to grow and now has 187 properties housing 200 clientsAlso in the area of disability support services, Wesley Take Time program worked with UnitingCare Kwinana to deliver school holiday programs for intellectually disabled youth.Take Time provides recreation services for young adults with an intellectual disability, and importantly also provides respite opportunities for their carers. Volunteers play an integral role in the activities of Wesley Mission Perth.Changes in industrial relations, privacy, occupational health and safety, and duty of care legislation have made volunteering more complicated than it used to be, but there remains a wide range of volunteer opportunities available.Friends of Wesley, working at the Wesley Cafeteria, financial counselling at Wesley Creditcare and special one-off projects are all examples of where volunteers can be involved.

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