Director of Services at Phoenix House Jason Rushton, Lee Griffiths from 361 Degrees and Phoenix House Treasurer Paul Medwin.
Director of Services at Phoenix House Jason Rushton, Lee Griffiths from 361 Degrees and Phoenix House Treasurer Paul Medwin.

Phoenix House on the rise with expansion

PHOENIX House has its sights set on the future with an expansion of services on the cards over the next three years.

Clients, staff, funders and broader stakeholders were invited to complete a survey and attend workshops to shape the future of Phoenix House.

With the help of 361 Degrees Strategic Engagement Services, who worked pro bono, Phoenix House was able to establish a three-year plan.

Director of services Jason Rushton said they valued the input from the community.

“The most important part was having the community and stakeholders involved in deciding what is needed,” Mr Rushton said.

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“We have to think big, not small, and some of the strategic goals might not be achievable in three years but it is what the community wants.”

Mr Rushton said the three-year plan would focus on programs already in place as well as an expansion into new initiatives.

The new vision aims to eliminate incidents of sexual trauma while improving community mental health.

As part of the re-evaluation of existing programs, Mr Rushton said they were changing the Bumblebees program, a therapeutic preschool for children aged three to six who are at risk due to sexual, physical or emotional abuse, to be inclusive and applicable to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders.

“Our Aboriginal staff are creating a new program to link in Aboriginal content and the way of thinking to help with engagement,” he said.

Phoenix House director of services Jason Rushton.
Phoenix House director of services Jason Rushton.

Phoenix House also hopes to provide more assistance to parents.

“When we have young children who have inappropriate behaviours parents need education on how to cope with the behaviour and learn how to work with the children,” Mr Rushton said.

“COVID-19 has also led to a lot of parents asking for help in the last week.

“They have been struggling emotionally while trying to spend time with their children and aren’t relaxing, so we are also looking at new avenues to support parents.”

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Other plans within the three-year scope include securing funding to allow a GP to work on-site two days a week, introducing after-hours services, offering off-site programs for adult offenders and increasing education within schools to instruct teachers and children about inappropriate behaviours.

Mr Rushton said they found a gap in the number of programs supporting men in one-on-one consultations.

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Another gap surrounded support for the adult LGBTQ community and Mr Rushton said he was personally working on a program.

“The adult LGBTQ community has nowhere to go so I am trying to get an accreditation to work with that cohort and set up an environment to work with them to prevent isolation and alienation,” he said.

“We are listening to the community and trying to do everything we can within our scope of work, but for me, it is also about thinking outside the box and thinking what else can we do.”



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