8 August 2022

Five-year plan to grow Woden Community Service

| Katrina Condie
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Jenny Kitchin

Woden Community Service CEO Jenny Kitchin with Lyla Rogan at the launch of the Woden Community Service 2021-25 strategic plan. Photo: Thomas Lucraft.

Woden Community Service (WCS) has launched its 2021-2025 Strategic Plan outlining a detailed roadmap for growth, innovation and community connection.

A front-line community service provider, WCS services include disability support, mental health and wellbeing, housing support, seniors, youth engagement and children and family support.

CEO Jenny Kitchin said the plan reinforces, strengthens and builds on the service that has been operating in Woden for the past 51 years.

Ms Kitchin said WCS is looking to expand its footprint to take in the growing Molonglo area, at the same time improving on the services already on offer in Woden and Weston.

“There’s a lot of young people and culturally diverse families in Molonglo, so getting more services and staff there is a big imperative of ours over the next three or four years,” she said.

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WCS plans to work closely with the government in community needs assessment, social planning and design of services and infrastructure targeting growing and high-need communities in the Woden region.

WCS is looking to expand its portfolio of services by developing partnerships with government and other community organisations to create a vibrant hub for information, services, community groups and local partnerships.

The community-based mental health support will be expanded, building on its strengths in psychosocial and peer-based services and aims to provide a comprehensive suite of services to older people, ranging from community-based support to providing care in the home.

Services to people with disabilities with a recognised niche in psychosocial support will also be expanded with a focus on support for children and adults.

“We will also continue to partner with existing and new schools to provide outside school hours care, holiday programs, early learning services and parenting support to consolidate and expand our delivery capacity,” Ms Kitchin added.

Most importantly, she says, the strategic plan has sought feedback from service users to ensure their experience informs practice and decision making.

“Embedding service users is an important goal for us,” Ms Kitchin said.

“We want to put more focus on how to involve our service users and communities more by asking what they think and using their stories and lived experience to help design what we do.”

With more climate-related crises predicted to impact on individuals and the community, Ms Kitchin said proactive strategies are needed from community sector and government organisations.

The economic and social impacts of COVID-19 are likely to last for many years leading to increased demand for community services – particularly in the area of mental health.

“There’s a huge demand and we can only see that growing as the community faces things like the COVID-19 crisis,” she said.

Find out more about what Woden Community Service is doing in your community.

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