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MSWA Bulletin Magazine Summer 2022

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Keeping your cool this summer | Welcome Melanie Kiely CEO | MSWA Stationary Cycle results | Pain and pain management series: Part 3


ACCOMMODATION & OUTREACH MY 15 YEARS WITH MSWA MSWA recently said a fond farewell to our Senior Outreach Coordinator, Nicola Ryan. Having worked at MSWA for 15 years, she will be a familiar face to many of you who attend Outreach. She has also authored countless Bulletin contributions over the years, updating readers on all the Outreach happenings! Here, for one last article, Nicola reflects on her time at MSWA. As the saying goes, ‘how time flies when you’re having fun’. Where did the last 15 years go?! February 2007 seems such a long time ago. I came to MSWA as a Roster Coordinator for In-Home Care, as it was known then. I’d previously been doing a similar role at a private agency. Some of you may remember Kathy Corrigan, my first manager. I have great respect for Kathy and many happy memories of our time together. Back then, there were only three of us rostering the care support workers in the community, as well as covering the Fern River, Hamilton and Margaret Doody House facilities. Computers had not yet come on board so all rosters were completed with a pen and paper! ‘The good old days’ is another saying that comes to mind! At one stage, all MSWA staff fitted into the dining room at Wilson (before the renovations) and staff on a Friday would be treated to homemade scones and sandwiches courtesy of our wonderful volunteer Sister Marie. There would even be ‘a very special treat’ late on a Friday afternoon for those still around and dare I say rostering staff were always the last to leave the building as so many shifts were required to be covered over a weekend. Those years were certainly busy, and I have many happy memories of working closely with staff who, to this day, are still close friends. Computers soon became the norm, and the organisation grew in leaps and bounds. In January 2010 there was a CEO update from Marcus with a vision he had for the Society for the next decade. I distinctly remember all staff being in the dining room, with every department represented, listening to the changes Marcus had planned. Looking back now, he was speaking about the year 2020, and none of us had any idea how much the world was going to change that year. The real fun for me started when I moved from rostering to Outreach in 2013. I had always been interested in the activities that were on offer to Clients attending Wilson, as my original working background had been with HACC Frail Aged and Disabled. I had worked for 10 years in Armadale as the Activities Officer, only leaving due to my husband being transferred to a country police posting. My early days at Outreach included introducing theme months, to enable Clients to travel fictitiously. There were ‘cruises’ around New Zealand, which included Māori singers visiting Outreach. We also did ‘plane trips’ to Africa, India, China, and Iceland. ‘Passports’ were even created for the activity – many hours of planning went into the success of the themes. Not to mention the great team effort from all the Outreach staff who were involved. 32

As well as being Outreach Coordinator at Wilson I had the same role at Rockingham, which was called ‘Southside’ at that stage. The Outreach group met on Fridays at a house in Seabrook Avenue. As much as the house was small, the patio was a good size for Client activities. BBQ theme days were popular as well as gardening/ potting colour. There was always a hive of activity when the group was visited by MSWA Ambassador Josh Kennedy. Josh had just started playing for the Eagles and was always happy to visit on numerous occasions throughout the year. A sea of blue and yellow would greet him on his arrival. The house soon became too small for the group and we moved to the new premises in Rockingham, a task which was huge and exciting all at once. After Coordinating at Wilson and Rockingham for five years I moved into a senior role, overseeing all the Outreach programs: Albany, Bunbury, Beechboro, Rockingham, and Wilson. My special memories of visiting each centre include: / presenting Caroline Clarke-Smith, the Albany Outreach Coordinator, with her 10 Years of Service award, / visiting Bunbury Outreach on a Wednesday when the group went sailing, / attending Beechboro Northside’s 30th ‘birthday’ party, / Rockingham’s move to bigger premises was a highlight as the extra room for Clients was a huge bonus, / time spent with the Wilson group in Como while renovations were happening at Wilson’s main office – challenging and rewarding at the same time. All these memories remind me of the amazing staff I have had the pleasure to work with over the past nine years in Outreach. The last two years particularly have been spent mentoring three new Outreach Coordinators – Chrystal from Beechboro, Peta from Rockingham and Zuraini from Wilson. I have thoroughly enjoyed the time I have spent with them and am so proud of where they are today. I am very grateful for what we have accomplished together and will be taking away lovely memories of the time I have worked with them. I know all Outreach programs are in good hands and will keep progressing under their leadership. On a personal note, I started MSWA 15 years ago with no grandchildren and now I have eight! I have had numerous foot operations – five in all. I’ve spent many days on crutches up and down the halls and even an odd day in a wheelchair. I did ‘retire’ 10 years ago which only lasted two weeks, so here’s to this time being much more successful. Time to ‘hand over the reins’ to ‘bow out gracefully’ as the saying goes. My 15 years of memories working with amazing staff, awesome volunteers, and many wonderful Clients, as well as beautiful friendships I’ve made over the years, will stay with me forever. NICOLA RYAN SENIOR OUTREACH COORDINATOR 33