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18 minutes | Mar 22, 2021
54: Forget me not
“On any day there are 20 different things that I could do, but I look forward to coming in and helping with Chorus because it's a delight,” says Bill with a smile. Bill, 78, is a retired teacher of 36 years and now volunteers with Chorus, teaching English at the Chorus Bull Creek Activity Centre. Some of the students have lived in Australia for 20 years or more and speak very little English. Bill explores innovative teaching methods. “I pursue everything that works and I step back from things that don't work,” he adds. Bill starts the lesson by looking at the front page of the West Australian and uses words like ‘happy’ and ‘sad’ to describe the photo of the Megan and Harry interview from the previous night. Bill also runs the Memory Café for people living with dementia. People with dementia tend to be like people with no English,” says Bill. “They're there, but no one sees them, no one knows them, they're isolated.” Dan maintains that social relationships and engaging in conversation can lessen the effects of dementia. We reflect on episodes from the back catalogue where Louise had explored some of these themes in a two-part series on dementia and three-part series on loneliness. “It's not an us and them or those with dementia and without, it's part of living,” recalls Lou of her interview with Sarah and Blanche. “Social connection, connections to others and if we haven't got that, loneliness plays such a big part on our mental wellbeing, whether we've got dementia or not,” says Lou. Lou is leaving Chorus and for now, we will be taking a break from Chorus Voices. “We've dipped back into their back catalogue which has just reminded us and reminded me, Louise, of the ground that we've covered, the conversations we've had,” says Dan. “I want to take this opportunity to acknowledge you as not just the co-host of Chorus Voices, but for the leadership and the contribution you've made to the establishment of this organisation, Chorus. We've seen that through the lens of Chorus Voices today.” So that’s a wrap – for now! This is our special 54th episode – please enjoy it and see you when we’re back from our break. Podcast Hosts: Dan Minchin and Louise Forster Opening Voiceover: Ryan Burke Opening Music: “Wattlebird” by Dylan Hatton Music Interviewees: Bill Green and Andy Lau Producer/Editor: Judith Hatton Executive Producer: Meaghan Ferries Audio editing: Matthew Clark Artwork: Maddie Bull Mentioned in this episode: Chorus Voices Ep 28: Loneliness part 1: What is loneliness? Chorus Voices Ep 29: Loneliness part 2: Why do we feel lonely? Chorus Voices Ep 30: Loneliness part 3: What can we do about loneliness? Chorus Voices Ep 38: Dementia journey part 1: Finding joy Chorus Voices Ep 39: Dementia journey part 2: Tea with Sarah and Blanche Chorus Voices Ep 24: A very merry unbirthday to you Chorus Voices Ep 47: A very merry unbirthday: Two more candles Bull Creek Lions Club
15 minutes | Feb 15, 2021
53: Getting our art on
Chorus is undergoing some exciting changes to work more locally - to become less of a service provider and more of a facilitator in the community. In this episode we talk to Elli Moody, facilitator of inclusive art programs at Chorus, about the inspiring community engagement that is going on locally in Mandurah. “We try and have an annual exhibition each year, which is really about showcasing what our guys have been producing and getting it out there in the community,” says Elli. Elli and the Ability Arts team got involved in the Selfie Portrait Exhibition last year. They sent out a kit with a canvas, paints and paint brushes to various groups in the Mandurah community. “We could have done it just in-house with our customers, but we thought we'd throw it out to the wider community,” Elli explains. “It's really good for building some connections within the community. We had about 25 students from John Tonkin Ed Support Centre take part.” The team has a strong relationship with the City of Mandurah and have taken part in other community art projects, like painting the signage for the beach access equipment shed at Keith Holmes Reserve in Mandurah. “Our artists got together and started drawing beach sort of inspired illustrations, which we then put together into a design, which is now on the shed,” says Elli. Eight artists from Ability Arts took part in state-wide As We Are art exhibition last year. Potter Kylie Graham from the group won the won the sculpture award with her entry of Cinderella and Prince Charming. “She was just so excited and she actually received the award from Stephen Dawson, who is the Minister for Disability Services,’ adds Elli. It’s not all about art down at Ability Arts (although it mostly is!) The group love going on social outings too and last year funded some of their activities by signing up for Containers for Change. “When Containers for Change came out, we thought that would be a great opportunity to make some extra money,” adds Elli. “I think the Ability Arts really speaks to the multiple connections and how we really connect with the community down there,” says Louise. Dan agrees. “What we're trying to do in the Peel area and then beyond is replicate the sort of local way of working that we've heard about today in other places. And that's really the plan,” says Dan. Credits: Podcast Hosts: Dan Minchin and Louise Forster Opening Voiceover: Ryan Burke Opening Music: “Wattlebird” by Dylan Hatton Music Interviewee: Elli Moody, Facilitator Social Support Group, Chorus Ability Arts, Mandurah Producer/Editor: Judith Hatton Executive Producer: Meaghan Ferries Audio editing: Matthew Clark Artwork: Maddie Bull Mentioned in this episode: Chorus Ability Arts John Tonkin Education Support Centre Selfie Portrait Exhibition City of Mandurah Containers for change As We Are Art Award
26 minutes | Dec 21, 2020
52: Christmas Voices 2020
We look back on what was memorable in 2020: taking the plunge to get in the pool; leaving the house to pursue fashion design; and staying connected with the community after a paratrooper accident. We reflect on how it felt to save a life through a simple gesture of a meal delivery. At the end of 2020 we also welcomed a new family members from disability provider Kira. In a year dominated by COVID, it was a time of adaptation and growth as we were challenged and inspired to stay connected and work safely. “Customers were getting a bit scared of coming in. So, the team came to me and said, look, we need to look at a different way of working,” says Mandy. “Make a plan on the Friday; change it on the Monday. That was exactly how we were working.” We also talked to people across the Chorus community about what was memorable for them in 2020. Overwhelmingly it’s been a year of caring for each other. “I’ve learnt compassion and understanding like I never have before,” says Susan. “And so we've gone into this process of really major change to our organisation to make it more local, simpler to operate in, spend more time with customers, which is ultimately what our mission is all about,” says Dan. We wish everyone the best for the festive season and next year. Enjoy the Christmas podcast and see you in 2021 on Chorus Voices. Special thanks to our 2020 Chorus Voices: Brian and the Ability Arts singers Susan Cottrill Andries Pretorius Mary Kathleen Paula Cronin Simon Humphries Marija Babic Tina Newman Brian and the Ability Arts singers Credits Podcast Hosts: Dan Minchin and Louise Forster Opening Voiceover: Ryan Burke Opening Music: “Wattlebird” by Dylan Hatton Music Producer/Editor: Judith Hatton Audio editing: Matthew Clark Artwork: Maddie Bull
23 minutes | Nov 16, 2020
51: Growing communities one garden at a time
We hit the gardening trail with Chorus gardeners John and Paul to see what it was like helping people in their gardens. While gardening is at the heart of what they do, it is so much more than that. “We have lovely connections with our customers,” says John. “It makes us all, as our gardening team goes, dig in and it doesn't feel like a job when you're doing that.” John and Paul agree that they enjoy having a chat with customers and seeing the customers come alive when they talk about their earlier lives. “I've even been sitting down in the shopping centre and the client's walked up and sat down and we’ve had a chat,” adds Paul. When volunteers join in with the crew it’s particularly special. “They come out, gain some skills, and we all have a good time. They look out for us, we look out for them,” says Paul. Earlier in the month John did some work with volunteers from Cannington ESC for now retired volunteers Jim and Wanda (who talked on Ep 50: 50 years in the community). “Wanda came out and gave, very generously, a whole tray of lollies and the kids were over the moon about that,” adds John. Customers Margaret and Audrey are full of praise for John and Paul’s work in their garden. Margaret’s neighbour saw Margaret struggling in the garden one day and suggested she give Chorus (then Volunteer Task Force) a call. I think they're brilliant,” says Margaret. At Audrey’s house Paul gets stuck into the front garden – weeding between the vincas, roses and geraniums– and John fires up the leaf blower out the back. Audrey has been in her home for an amazing 70 years and built up great community connections over the years, particularly through sporting activities. “When the weather's nice I'll sit out the back here quite a lot and then I'll go for walks around the garden,” she says. “I loved hearing from Audrey and Margaret and how their hospitality, when Judith went out, was just that to me speaks of community,” says Louise. “Gardening is work - it's manual work - but it was something a lot richer than that going on in the way that you could hear the guys talking about their day,“ says Dan. “People have a smaller footprint that they work on. A smaller group of people that they get to know. And those connections that spring up when you work locally.” Credits Podcast Hosts: Dan Minchin and Louise Forster Opening Voiceover: Ryan Burke Opening Music: “Wattlebird” by Dylan Hatton Music Interviewees: John Hatton – Support worker gardening and home maintenance Paul Forster - Support worker gardening and home maintenance Margaret Audrey Jane Wittenoom – Company Secretary Producer/Interviewer: Judith Hatton Audio editing: Matthew Clark Special thanks: Maddie Bull Mentioned in this episode Cannington Education Support Centre Ep 50: 50 years in the community
28 minutes | Oct 19, 2020
50: 50 years in the community
Episode 50 of Chorus Voices celebrates 50 years of Chorus in the community and, as it turns out, it’s our 50th episode! “Our longest ancestor train traces our lineage back to 1970 when Volunteer Task Force was founded by John and Sandra Penrose," says Dan Minchin. Volunteer Task Force and then Chorus volunteers Jim and Wanda Bennett contributed an extraordinary 18 years to their community. They met Jeannette Olsen in their first year and the three have remained close friends. One day Wanda sat with a customer instead of doing her gardening. The customer’s husband had just died. “It wasn't just about the gardening. It was interacting with the people,” says Wanda. Jim recalls an emotional moment when a man in his 90s asked for help for the first time. There was much food to be shared on a day out gardening, and it was fun, too. Jeannette remembers Wanda unloading a lawnmower one day. “I turned around to look for her lawnmower and it was racing down the hill.” Ina Hart has been with the Albany Senior Citizens Centre and then Chorus for about the same amount of time. She works in the office at the centre and started off cooking for the Meals on Wheels service there. “It was really hectic because I had to learn how to cook bulk amounts of food. And I'd never done that before. And somebody had said to me, 'Oh, come on, Ina. Your mum and dad had 16 children. You should know how to cook for lots of people,'” she says. Narelle Roberts started as a Support Worker for Community First, now Chorus in 2009, supporting people living with disability. She is also a customer and enjoys taking part in the Ability Arts program. “It was just pure heaven that I got to know how to look after myself and then take better care of myself from being here at Chorus and Community First,” says Narelle. “There's just a never-ending array of those sorts of stories that pop out of the work of Chorus,” says Dan. “And I guess that also is reflective of the sort of rich tapestry that Chorus is; it's made up of these multiple parts, groups, organisations that over the 50 years have come together.” Credits Podcast Hosts: Dan Minchin and Louise Forster Opening Voiceover: Ryan Burke Opening Music: “Wattlebird” by Dylan Hatton Music Interviewees: Jim Bennett Wanda Bennet Jeannette Olsen Ina Hart Narelle Roberts Producer/Interviewer: Judith Hatton Audio Editing: Matthew Clark Artwork/video: Maddie Bull
25 minutes | Sep 16, 2020
49: Teamwork: A circle of kindness
Chorus is a team of kind, caring people. In this episode Dan Minchin and Nikki Drury explore the relationship between teamwork and kindness. Nikki Drury, Co-designer for the Chorus Fresh Approach project, has looked at how we can be kind and relational at work. Building supportive teams that can share ideas, work through challenges and have difficult conversations helps teams flourish. But there are barriers to relational work such as time as funding. “Sometimes having a cup of tea and a chat is much more valuable to a person than making sure the bed linen is changed,” says Nikki. Support workers in the community can be quite isolated and Nikki outlines the importance of debriefing with their team. Getting together. Having a laugh. Sharing the challenging moments. “Even, on paper, a fairly simple task like helping someone with the shower, if their context is so really difficult, that could be a really tough day for a Chorus support worker,” says Dan. The Fresh Approach team ran experiments by creating “huddles” – virtual and real – to support strong relationships. “Some people might be a little more shy and fall through the cracks in bigger groups of people,” said Nikki. “Having that contact with their peers was a really big win for a lot of people.” Some of the people in the huddle experiment share their experiences. “The hypothesis is that if we could make this a really routine way of working… customers’ experience and support would be enhanced, and that's probably something we need to get into thinking about,” says Dan. Chorus is working towards making relational work commonplace - being kind, not saying yes to everything and managing boundaries. “It's really brave of Chorus and us as a collective to make that decision that actually we want to shift back to the reason why we love to do this work and the reason why customers love us to be doing it,” says Nikki. Credits Podcast Hosts: Dan Minchin and Nikki Drury Opening Voiceover: Ryan Burke Opening Music: “Wattlebird” by Dylan Hatton Music Producer: Judith Hatton Audio editing: Matthew Clark Special Thanks To: Julie Briggs - Customer Contact administration Angela Johns - NDIS Support Co-Ordinator Stephen Hill – Support Worker Gardening and Home Maintenance Coffee Cart Host Jane Wittenoom - Fresh Approach Co-Lead Jethro Sercombe - Fresh Approach Design Facilitator
20 minutes | Aug 17, 2020
48: Home is more than a house
In this episode we learn about the journey and joy of supported independent living. Krystyna lives with disability and been on a long journey to find a supported living arrangement. Krystyna, Krystyna’s mum Caroline and Angela from Chorus tell us about what it’s like to be independent and supported in your own home. Angela helped Krystyna to find an Individualised Living Option (ILO), an NDIS package that funds people to live independently. Through Support Coordination Krystyna now lives with a friend and has drop-in supports. She has more freedom and independence. It’s all about capacity building. “You pay your own rent, your own bills, you organise your grocery shopping, plan your meals.” says Angela. Krystyna has a lovely home and garden where she is growing vegetables out the back. She loves art, dancing and going out with her friends. Her mum has taught her how to cook and Krystyna is quite the chef! “What's different is I want to move forward... be a good friend to Jess and a housemate,” says Krystyna. “And I'm going to keep on going forward. Don't go backwards anymore.” Credits Podcast Hosts: Louise Forster and Dan Minchin Opening Voiceover: Ryan Burke Opening Music: “Wattlebird” by Dylan Hatton Music Interviewer/Producer: Judith Hatton Post Production: Matthew Clark Special Thanks To: Krystyna Caroline Jess Emma Angela Johns Maddie Bull
27 minutes | Jul 20, 2020
47: A very merry unbirthday: Two more candles
In part two of Lex’s mental health journey we learn a thing or two about designing clothes for musicals as Lex takes the next step towards realising the dream of becoming a fashion designer.
16 minutes | Jun 15, 2020
46: Men's Health Week: From darkness to colour
After an accident, professional cyclist Chek stopped eating and wanted to give up on life. One day he reached out and turned his life around.
16 minutes | May 18, 2020
45: Chorus volunteers: A smile to deliver
During National Volunteer Week 2020 five Chorus volunteers take centre stage and talk about what volunteering means to them and the Chorus community. “The only thing that I can do is just give them a bit of time,” says Gary.
22 minutes | Apr 20, 2020
44: Chorus & COVID-19: A new way of working
As the coronavirus changes the world we live in, Chorus has changed the ways we deliver services. In this episode, Lou and Dan talk about how, almost overnight, Chorus has adapted to the coronavirus while keeping our community connected.
21 minutes | Mar 10, 2020
43: The sky’s the limit: Billie’s story
Billie trained men how to jump out of planes. One day her life changed. “I was given a white cane and told that I wasn't allowed to ride a bicycle,” says Billie. Listen in to Billie’s incredible story of survival.
20 minutes | Feb 17, 2020
42: Opening doors: Peta’s story
People can, and do, recover from mental illness. In this episode Peta talks about becoming the person she likes when she wakes up in the morning. “I want everyone to hear my journey because I think it can be an inspiration from where I came from to this new person.”
20 minutes | Jan 20, 2020
41: Pink wheels: Jen’s story
I've been asking for quite a while to join a group,” says Jen. “It's been the best thing. I love coming here.” Jen talks about what life is like getting around in a wheelchair and how being part of the Chorus community has helped her stay positive.
25 minutes | Dec 19, 2019
40: Christmas Voices
In a special Chorus Voices podcast people across Chorus share their most memorable of 2019. Listen in and enjoy!
27 minutes | Dec 2, 2019
39: Dementia journey part 2: Tea with Sarah and Blanche
In part two of our Dementia journey series we talk to Sarah about the joy and sadness when caring for someone living with dementia.
32 minutes | Nov 18, 2019
38: Dementia journey part 1: Finding joy
In this episode we talk to Jason Burton, Head of Dementia Practice and Innovation at Alzheimer's WA. We also have a chat to Sarah Newbold and her mother Blanche, who lives with dementia.
28 minutes | Oct 21, 2019
37: Culture Bites
How do you start a culture evolution? In a special episode of Chorus Voices Louise Forster joins Dominic Gourley and Sam Mead on their Culture Bites podcast.
15 minutes | Sep 16, 2019
36: Finding Home
What pushes people to homelessness? As people age, how does the danger of becoming homeless increase?
22 minutes | Aug 19, 2019
35: Love your age
Can you date when you’re in your 80s? This podcast starts with a love story about Elizabeth and Kevin who are challenging the negative stereotypes associated with ageing.
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