Happy 10th Birthday TAA Flinders Street

This month we reach the 10th anniversary of the opening of our Flinders Street Station site.

Flinders Street Station is central to Melbourne’s CBD, the nearby Arts Precinct and the cultural hub of Federation Square. In 2008, the station was identified to be the perfect place for TAA to be located to assist people with mobility challenges transiting through and around Melbourne.

Johnny had been a regular user of the Travellers Aid Access Service (TAAS) in our old Swanston Street site. The new location at Flinders Street Station was closer to transport and our service users were excited about the new bright facility.

Johnny was one of our very first clients through the doors and has continued to be a regular user. Johnny is a Big Issue vendor and he visits TAA Flinders Street Station every day of the week, sometimes up to five times a day.

“(Without TAA Flinders Street) I wouldn’t come into the city and would have to stay home. And I would not be able to work for the Big Issue,” Johnny said.

Although Johnny uses many of the services offered at TAA his favourite thing about it is, “the staff and the friends I have made over these years, and the lovely cups of tea.”

Congratulations to all the staff and volunteers who make this site so welcoming and thank you to Metro Trains Melbourne, the Department of Health and Human Services Victoria, PTV and the City of Melbourne for your ongoing support.

Travellers Aid Staff CEO Elias Lebbos

Welcome from our CEO

In the TAA Winter Newsletter we introduced you to the MCG Buggy Transfer Service. This service is a pilot project originally scheduled to run for just 8 weeks of the 2018 AFL season to transfer supporters between the MCG and Richmond Railway Station. Due to the rapid uptake of the program, I am excited to announce that the service will now be available for the remainder of the season. For more information on this service please visit our website.

Here at TAA we are always looking at ways that we can reduce administration costs and reduce our environmental footprint. Over the years we have experienced incredible growth in our service user numbers, and therefore the number of people we communicate with. It is important to us that we keep you, our clients and supporters, up to date with what is happening at TAA which is why we produce this newsletter. To reduce costs and our environmental footprint, we are moving our communications online where ever possible. For those of you who prefer a printed version of this newsletter to read and share with friends, we are more than happy to continue to mail to you, and for those of you who prefer to receive this electronically we ask that you provide us with your email address, so we can transition you to the online version of our newsletter. It’s the same content with the same stories, just a different and more sustainable method of delivery.

Finally, and following on from our cover story, I feel incredibly privileged to work with such a diverse group of people. I am originally from Syria and I often speak Arabic at home with my family. I understand that migrating to a new city and living in a new culture can be daunting. It is being shown kindness from strangers, who may then become friends, that can ease the pressures and anxieties of this journey. This is what we strive to do every day at TAA.

Elias Lebbos

Chief Executive Officer

Celebrating our diversity

The Travellers Aid team truly reflects this multicultural city we live in.

Melbourne is home to 4.73 million people and growing. 34% of our population was born overseas with 32% speaking a language other than English at home. Travellers Aid celebrates this rich cultural diversity and welcomes people from all corners of the globe through our doors.

This multiculturalism is also reflected in our workforce. Amongst our staff and volunteer team of 144 amazing individuals, we speak 31 languages and we represent every continent, including Indigenous Australia, and are aged between 19 and 87 years.?

With a team like this, you can see how we reflect the amazing diversity of Melbourne.?

And we’re not just diverse in our nationalities. The TAA team has people of all abilities and from a broad range of backgrounds.

TAA staff member Katherine Sabin says that when she started with the organisation as a volunteer in December 2013, “seeing other Asian staff members on the team made me feel more comfortable as I had only been in Australia for a few months at that time”.

I also saw that the clients were diverse and TAA served everyone regardless of their nationality. It’s nice to work with people from different backgrounds, you learn about their cultures. When you meet people from different countries you change your perception of the world – it’s not only the way we do things in the Philippines. Other people have different languages and accents, foods and values too”.

Katherine moved to Australia from Luzon in the Philippines to be with her partner in May 2013. In Luzon, Katherine was an accountant at the local Christian school. Once in Australia she quickly took up an opportunity to volunteer with TAA in our administration office in Bourke Street, assisting with fundraising and finance. In April 2015 TAA welcomed Katherine on board as a permanent member of our staff.

When asked if she would recommend volunteering at TAA Katherine said, “Oh yes, yes, 100%. They will gain not only job experience but a passion to share and help the community. You learn to think about other people around you.”

Join our Team!

Here at TAA we welcome people from all walks of life through our doors and our team are happy to help in any way they can. Perhaps you or a friend or family member would like to join our team? If so, please contact Lee using the button below, or email lee.davy@travellersaid.org.au or call (03)9654 2600.

A word from our friends at Seymour

When I mentioned to some of my team that I was doing this article, they very tongue in cheek said you only need 3 words, “we are awesome”. Reality is, all our Travellers Aid volunteers are awesome. The core of the Seymour team has been with us since we began in Seymour in 2014. We have lost one or two and added in a few extras along the way. Mark assists our team on a regular basis. Astro, the big black dog, welcomes all visitors and greets volunteers every time they walk in the door.

Currently offering both buggy and companion service here at Seymour, we have volunteers dedicated to the companion service as well as volunteers for the buggy service. Some of our team manage to do both! We are well supported by the Seymour Lions Club with four of our ten weekly shifts covered by Heather, Leonie, Linda and Susan. The two Bills, John, Robert and Stephen round out our regular buggy team. Pam, Suzi and Yvonne are regular companion service volunteers with Pam & Yvonne also helping on the buggy when the regulars are away. Jim will cover for team members on leave whenever he can. Lesley, Liz and Tori have recently come on board to learn the ropes and to help cover leave absences.

All of our volunteers manage to find the time in their busy lives to volunteer for their communities in Kilmore, Seymour and Wallan in a variety of roles as well as here with us at Travellers Aid.

I think that the Seymour Team truly are awesome.

Margaret Canny, TAA Seymour Coordinator

Congratulations PTV!

A huge congratulations to PTV for taking out the TAA Trivia Night Cup for 2018 and beating William Angliss in a cliff-hanging tie breaker!

TAA would like to thank all who attended and made the night so much fun. The evening was a sell out at our new venue at William Angliss Restaurant and I think all who attended would agree the staff and students at William Angliss did an incredible job.

Travellers Aid Strategic Plan

Travellers Aid Australia has been working closely with Warwick Cavell from Linnergy Consultants to develop a Strategic Plan which will support our organisation to increase its capacity to connect people to people and people to place. At the heart of our new plan is our mission to:

Empower people with travel related challenges to connect, engage and participate within their communities through the use of public transport.

We invite you to view the full copy of Travellers Aid Australia?s inspiring Strategic Plan 2018 – 2028 online: www.travellersaid.org.au/about-us/publications

Elias Lebbos

Chief Executive Officer

What?s on and how we can help

The 2018 Victorian Seniors Festival will take place across Victoria throughout October offering a huge range of free and low-cost events and activities for older Victorians. Eight days of free public transport, including all V/Line services, will be provided to Victorian Seniors Card holders across the period 7 to 14 October 2018. We encourage you to have a look at the festivities and get involved where you can. For more information visit www.seniorsonline.vic.gov.au

The Royal Melbourne Show returns for another year to the Melbourne Showgrounds from 22nd September to 2nd October 2018. Travellers Aid is there to assist you transit through Southern Cross Station to travel by train to the Showgrounds. For more information and tickets visit www.royalshow.com.au

TAA services to get you to your event include

The production and distribution of this newsletter has been kindly supported by V/Line