Loud & Proud

22 November 2022

LOUD & PROUD

Lee-Anne has loved singing as long as she can remember. However, after suffering family abuse as a young person, she stopped – and stayed silent for a very long time.

“I loved singing,” she said. “Ever since I was a child. I started when I was three. That got taken away from me because of abuse from a family member and I was too ashamed to sing and dance.”

Almost fifty years later, the grandmother of 21 and great grandmother of 3 has found her voice again as part of a very special group.

Finding Your Voice – Women’s Community Choir brings together 28 women aged between 20 and 70. Delivered through Junction, the Choir, which has been practicing since August, will perform at a concert at the Old Noarlunga Town Hall on Sunday.

The initiative was funded through a grant from the Alcohol and Drug Foundation’s Local Drug Action Team. Widespread research shows that women who have experienced domestic violence are more likely to engage in risky and addictive behavior.

“I’m showing off today,” Lee-Anne joked at one of the final practice sessions. “I love being part of this group.

"I feel exhilarated. I feel so happy to be part of women that are survivors. You are very safe here. It’s a safe place."

Safety is something Lee-Anne never takes for granted having fled abuse with no-where to go.

“In 1974 I had to run with my little baby,” she said. “But there was nowhere to run.”

This led to Lee-Anne squatting with some other women in several vacant homes.

“The Housing Trust ended up buying them. That’s when women’s shelters first came out. So, I was part of the pioneer group. I am very proud of that.

“I am passionate about wanting to give back and help other women who have been through similar things. It IS my passion.”

Like many people who have experienced violence and abuse, Lee-Anne’s life journey has been long and winding.

“I’ve been addicted to many substances since I was 8 years old,” she explained. “Because of abuse when I was young, I couldn’t shake them off until just recently.

Lee-Anne, now healthier and happier than she’s ever been, said the choir, and music generally, has been critical to her healing.

“I love Van Morrison,” she said. “He has a song called Brand New Day and it’s about abuse and conquering it. That gives me a lot of feelings of being powerful.

“Freedom. Freedom is my main message. And exhilaration.”

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PLAYING A PART IN FOOD RELIEF

15 November 2022

PLAYING A PART IN FOOD RELIEF

The lead up to Christmas is proving a busy time for Matt.

As a Foodbank volunteer, he sees first hand the impact cost of living pressures are having on South Australians and he’s proud he can play some role in supporting the most vulnerable, especially during the festive season.

Matt, who lives in Junction housing at Oaklands Park, spends three mornings a week building pallets, moving stock and supporting the everyday operations at Foodbank’s Edwardstown warehouse.

Taking on his new role in February, Matt quickly gained new skills and is one of the 700 volunteers across SA who are vital to the running of this crucial service.

“Matt has certainly come out of his shell, he’s now part of the furniture,” Tony, Foodbank Edwardstown’s Warehouse Manager, said. “He really does enjoy it too, which is great.”

Foodbank is Australia’s largest food relief organisation, operating on a scale that makes it crucial to the work of the front line charities supporting vulnerable Australians.

Foodbank provides more than 70 per cent of the food rescued for food relief organisations nation-wide.

From delivery drivers to shop front and customer support, the efforts of the dedicated volunteers stretch far and wide across nine shops and warehouses in metropolitan and rural SA. The Edwardstown service, alone, supports roughly 2000 people per month, giving away 20 tonnes of fruits and vegetables and 6-7000 loaves of bread each week.

“Without volunteers and donations, we couldn’t function,” Tony said.

Matt plays a crucial role in keeping the warehouse safe and tidy – with no task too big or little for him to tackle.

“I like sweeping,” Matt said. “I like packing, I like moving pallets of stock, I like everything.”

But, he admits, it’s the social interactions and being part of a team that supports the community he loves the most.

“I enjoy being a volunteer. It’s really rewarding.”

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Year in Review 21/22

2 November 2022

Point of Impact Year in Review 21/22

We are pleased to present our Point of Impact – Year in Review 2021/22.

What’s the impact we want to have on the people and communities we work with? It’s the most critical question for everyone at Junction.

In defining our brand and strategy for the next five years, we determined supporting South Australians to not just survive but thrive in life, is our direction.

This report reflects our journey to date. It is a tangible and authentic product of our evolution towards an Impact Report demonstrating outcomes as they align to our strategy and within the broader social and political environment.

We are breaking new ground for an ambitious future.

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A Lifetime of Memories

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A Lifetime of Memories

29 April 2022

Meet My Street New7

Renate (left) and Vicky (right).

Life-long friendships start from lightning-in-a-bottle moments – with people in the right place at the right time.

Renate and Vicky’s friendship began the same way and, 45 years on, is still a huge part of their lives.

“We lived on the same street and our kids played together, so we would also spend time together,” Renate said. “We’ve done a lot together.”

The two, who live in Junction’s inner southern suburbs, can recount a whole lifetime of memories.

Having raised their children together, worked together and played various sports together, Renate and Vicky have lived full lives ‘in each other’s pockets’.

“We can read each others’ faces now,” Vicky said.

“There are times I won’t need to say anything. I’ll just give her a look and she’ll know what I’m trying to say.”

“If she loses her keys, I’ll be the only one who knows where she’s put them,” Renate added.

Together, they have also extended their friendship to others in their neighbourhood, including a young man with a traumatic past.

“I met Michael on one of my morning walks. We just said hello to each other, and it grew from there.” Renate said. “He lives with his carers, so he lights up whenever we spend time together.”

Having taken Michael under their wing, they do all that they can to give him a sense of ‘normalcy’.

“Sometimes we help him out with things he needs. Other times, we just listen to him talk,” Renate said. “It’s about letting him know there are people that care. He really takes what we say on board too.”

Passers-by will often see them together, having a good chat and laugh.

“Renate will do anything for you. She’s always willing to give something up for someone else if needed,” Vicky said.

They both look forward to staying happy, healthy, and maintaining their friendships with those around them.

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Community In Bloom

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Community In Bloom

12 April 2022

Meet My Street New5

(Left to Right) Craig, Lynda, Sue, Graham and Nerise. 

A blossoming garden is the centrepiece of a thriving Mitchell Park community – and residents Craig and Lynda are at the heart of it all.

“Whenever we move into a new rental property we try our best to make it our own,” said Lynda. “And hopefully, to leave it in better shape than when we moved in.”

The communal vegetable garden, which is located at the end of their cul-de-sac, began as a personal project for Craig to keep busy following an injury.

However, it soon developed a life of its own when residents from all along the street began showing interest and contributing.

“Before Craig and Lynda moved in, the area was just empty,” Sheila, a neighbour, said. “But now it’s the central point for all of us.”

“People will come by to water it, plant seeds, and have a chat” Craig said. “It’s become a bit of a collective effort.”

Like its garden, the community has also blossomed – built on a foundation of mutual respect and genuine care.

“We don’t live in each other’s pockets, but we do look out for each other.” Sue, another neighbour, said. “It keeps us happy, seeing each other.”

“Many of us here are living with health problems,” added Sue’s husband Graham.

“If one of us hasn’t opened their blinds that day, the rest of us will be knocking on their door just to check in.”

Craig and Lynda’s influence has also planted deeper seeds of change.

“They’ve really transformed my life,” Nerise, who lives next door, said. “I have a head injury from a car accident and have really struggled to reorganise my life, but Craig and Lynda helped me get back into a routine.”

“I think it’s a real shame if you don’t know your neighbours,” Lynda said. “Having them there to support you when you need it – that’s what it’s all about.”

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In the Cards

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In the Cards

12 April 2022

Meet My Street New4

(Left to Right) Rainy, Jesse and Caitlin.

A simple card to say ‘hello’ was the start of an unlikely friendship between Noarlunga Downs couple Caitlin and Jesse, and their neighbour Rainy.

“The neighbourhood had issues with the previous tenants of this house,” said Caitlin, “So when we moved in, we decided to do whatever we could to make them comfortable again.”

Upon moving in, the young couple went out of their way to introduce themselves to their neighbours – including writing a greeting card to Rainy.

Rainy, who suffers from tunnel vision due to her deteriorating eyesight, returned the favour in person.

“I walked myself across the road and I thanked them,” she said, “Even though, perhaps I shouldn’t be crossing the road by myself!”

Ever since, the two households have become closer than ever.

“She likes to come over and bring us little knick-knacks from her past,” Caitlin said, “They’re things you can’t find anywhere anymore – it’s really incredible!”

From uniquely shaped salt and pepper shakers to animal ornaments and garden statues, Rainy’s gifts have brought whimsy into the couple’s home.

You will also often find the young couple having a cuppa and a chat at Rainy’s house – finding a tranquil retreat in their shared time.

“I love listening to her stories. She’s one of the funniest people we know!”

“She can’t watch TV and she doesn’t really listen to the radio, so sitting in the quiet and enjoying each other’s company is so refreshing,” Caitlin said.

“Rainy has outlived her husband, siblings and even one of her children – so it’s important that we are there for her,” Jesse added.

“Having friends so close by is just lovely,” Rainy agreed.

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Home Grown

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Home Grown

6 April 2022

Meet My Street New3

Aurora (right) with Andrea (left).

“One apple in the Philippines is worth six in a family.”

Aurora, who lives in a Junction property in the north-western suburbs, has always remembered this quote from her dad.

“Apples are rare in the Philippines – it’s the wrong climate for them,” Aurora said, “So when dad would bring one home, we would always split it 6 ways evenly. That way, we would all get a taste.”

Rooted in her family values, it is this generous mindset and want to share that has helped her form strong connections with her neighbour Andrea and others in her neighbourhood.

Having migrated from the Philippines about 30 years ago, Aurora raised her three children, now adults, as a single mother after escaping an abusive marriage.

The Filipino dishes she cooks not only remind her of family but are also a great way of introducing her neighbours to her culture.

“She’ll never give you day-old dishes,” Andrea, Aurora’s neighbour, said. “If she makes something and you’re not home, she’ll cook you something fresh the next day. That’s just how she is.”

An avid gardener, Aurora is also generous with the produce she grows.

“This garden was grown over time,” Aurora said. “I take plants, I give plants away and then my neighbours will give me more back. It’s a shared effort.”

Having nurtured lush plantations of vegetables and flowers, her motto is to ‘always grow too much’ so that she can share it with those around her. She will also take in sick or dying plants to regenerate and return, better than ever.

“Every so often you get lucky, and you meet a neighbour like Aurora,” Andrea said. “She just has so much to give. Even when she doesn’t have much.”

Now that COVID restrictions are beginning to lift, Aurora looks forward to travelling to England to visit her children.

“When I do, I already know that Andrea will take care of my garden for me.”

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Collective Effort

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Collective Effort

1 April 2022

Meet My Street New6

(Left to right) David, Alex and Sandra.

Communities can’t be manufactured – they’re nurtured by those within. Such is the case at Melrose Park.

David and Sandra, who live in Junction’s Fig Tree apartments, are guided by this with the pair a driving force behind many neighbourhood events and initiatives.

“Some of us will decorate, some of us will cook – it’s always a collective effort,” Sandra said.

“If you can contribute, you do,” David added. “But if you can’t, that’s ok too.”

For David especially, the community has been a great source of support.

“I spent a lot of time in and out of hospital before I moved here. There was a lot going on in my life,” he said. “When I moved in, the community really helped me settle.”

“A community is about respecting everyone in it.”

“It’s about watching out for one another, but also respecting their boundaries,” David said.

Alex and Vivienne, who also live in the apartments, agreed.

“I don’t attend most of the big gatherings,” Vivienne said, “But they don’t hold that against me at all and still consider me a friend.”

“It’s like having a support unit outside of your usual family and friends,” Alex said.

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Friends For Life

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Friends For Life

27 March 2022

Meet My Street New2

Glenys (top left) with Anne and Richard.

We’ve all heard of life-long friendships, but how about life-saving ones?

For Mitchell Park resident Glenys, the compassion of her neighbours during a medical emergency blossomed into a wonderful friendship.

Originally from Queensland, Glenys was navigating the transition into a new home and community without the support of friends and family. Shortly after moving into her new home, she suffered a serious medical episode.

Neighbours Richard (an ex-Paramedic) and his wife Anne knew that something was seriously wrong when they could hear Glenys struggling to breathe. Wasting no time, they called an ambulance and supported Glenys while they waited.

“I didn’t know them from a bar of soap,” said Glenys. “But I somehow knew that I could trust them.”

After being treated in hospital, Glenys was told that her neighbours’ actions had quite literally saved her life.

“I didn’t feel worried or afraid, I trusted them absolutely, and I’ve never done that in my life.”

Richard and Anne visited Glenys often during her hospital stay, bringing food and keeping her company during her recovery.

They also walked and fed her two beloved dogs, kept on top of her household duties and even maintained her garden in preparation for her return home.

The trio have now become ‘infamously’ great friends, with their good-nature spreading across the surrounding community.

“I’ve got a lot of faith in these people, they’re just good-hearted.” Glenys said.

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Day for Equality is Here

March 2022

Day for Equality is Here

On 7 March 2022, Junction hosted around 100 business and community leaders at our One Voice event – a discussion about how we can all work towards gender equality.

Janine Hendry,  founder of the inaugural March4Justice was our guest speaker. Read her column in the Advertiser below:

A little less than a year ago, I stood at a podium in Canberra ready to address 10,000 women and their allies who had gathered. We were protesting against gendered violence and its underpinning cause – inequality.

I will admit I was a little surprised at the numbers, having always believed I would be standing there with my seven mates, and a few placards.

But there we were, and a further 110,0000 women and men listening to similar speakers at another 200-plus events across Australia. What started as a tweet ended up with a plethora of people, brought to the brim of frustration at the levels of gendered violence in this country, desperately wanting to make changes.

What March4Justice did was break the silence. It has been pivotal in starting to change the narrative around gendered abuse in this country, in the community, in boardrooms and in schools.

On Monday I stood in front of 120 business and community leaders at an event hosted by Junction – a social enterprise supporting about 10,000 South Australians a year through housing and community services. Gender inequality underpins so many of the social challenges we face and I have no doubt it will also be a defining factor in the upcoming elections.

To say there is a lot of work to still do, is a gross understatement.

The situation in Australia is not pretty. We see 23 per cent of university vice-chancellors are women. As well, 34 per cent of 2000 ASX-listed board positions are held by women. In the Supreme Court 38 per cent of judges are women. The federal parliament has 32 per cent of representatives being women.

Why does this matter? Because those working in these positions are making decisions daily that affect us all.

If politicians are not representative of who we are then how can they represent us fairly and equitably?

Judges create precedent which affect women. Universities make decisions about research programs and courses which affect women. Board directors make decisions about products and services which directly target women. How can they represent women when they don’t have women making the decisions?

Is it any surprise, then, that the gender pay gap of 14.1 per cent, which had been declining until the pandemic, has now started to rise again?

Knowing this, is it any surprise that the levels of gendered violence and abuse in Australia are some of the highest in the world? When inequality is so embedded at every level in our society.

The good news is, we can create change. There will always be the need for someone to go first. The important thing is to take a step.

We need to have the hard conversations. Ask the hard questions and if you don’t know the answers, seek them out.

Abuse happens in the shadows, behind closed doors. Abuse happens in the silence. Asking the questions will bring this abuse into the light, and it is from there that we can make change.

Tuesday March 8 is International Woman’s Day.

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