Here at Wesley Mission, we support communities and Australians who come from all walks of life. No matter your circumstance, we’re here to support you because we believe every life matters.
In the lead up to Australia Day on 26 January, we want to take this opportunity to celebrate the people and communities who contribute to making Australia such a wonderful nation—many who are a part of the Wesley Mission family, including those who have received support from our community services, financial donors, staff members and volunteers. And we’re committed to strengthening Australian communities through the continual growth of our community services and programs.
The 2016 census results revealed one in six Australians are over the age of 65 and most of the growth in younger age groups is driven from migration from Asian countries. And while half of Australians were born overseas, or had at least one parent born overseas, about one million Australians were born in China or India—the two largest sources of migration to Australia.
As Australia’s growing population becomes older and more multicultural, the services and programs we provide grow to meet the changing needs of our community. We desire to support the ever-changing population landscape through our community services and programs.
Connecting and expanding our communities
The expansion of Wesley School for Seniors supports older Australians through providing learning opportunities for people over 55 years of age. It’s just one of our many community services that seek to address the growing needs of Australia’s diversifying population. Wesley School for Seniors offers participants the opportunity to learn new skills and meet new people, building meaningful connections that help promote longevity. Over the past year, this program has expanded to offer more than 90 courses ranging from languages, dance, digital media development and much more. Throughout the last 12 months, approximately 450 students attended classes each term.
Supporting young people to develop independence and the skills needed to create the future they dream of is something that is close to our heart. Wesley Take Charge of Your Life is an innovative program, moving on from a successful pilot, that helps young people aged 15 to 25 transition out of foster care to independent living. Over the last 12 months, we’ve supported 53 young people in securing stable accommodation and developing important life skills such as budgeting, cooking, driving lessons and property management. On 27 November 2017, we opened two renovated buildings in Sydney’s north-west, which will provide additional secure housing for young people leaving foster care.
Our mission to ‘do all the good you can, because every life matters’ takes us to new communities across this great country. Suicide prevention work is an important focus for us seen through our 24-hour crisis telephone support, Lifeline Sydney & Sutherland, having answered 38,881 calls from across Australia in the past year. Our Wesley LifeForce Networks are also significantly contributing to creating awareness about the issue of suicide. As Wesley LifeForce Networks bring together community members and organisations to address specific needs of a local area, it also empowers its members to develop appropriate suicide prevention strategies at a grassroots level. Over the last 12 months our expanding Wesley LifeForce Networks have grown to 72 networks across Australia.
The rise of mobile and social media traffic led to the relaunch of wesleymission.org.au in 2017. Ten years ago wesleymission.org.au wasn’t accessible on a mobile phone but by early 2018 nearly 41% of people visited our website this way. Along with addressing new technologies, our redeveloped website has made it easier for community members to access support through our user-friendly design and new service locator, allowing website visitors to find their nearest Wesley Mission service. We’ve also prioritised creating content that is available to everyone, including people with disability or those using assisting technologies such as screen readers, to access the information we’re sharing. We’re proud to say we’ve achieved this by conforming to the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.0.