Greetings Dear Lively Community!
Welcome to issue #15 of our monthly Lively newsletter, to keep you close to the goings on within the Lively community. August has seen the addition of more Helpers into operational roles, and you will read reflections straight from Helpers working in our Matching, Hiring, Helper Pilot and Stories teams.
We also have a Helper, Ann starting as our new Community Guide! We absolutely love having these bright, switched on young people working in these roles and bringing their insights and Helper lens to the party.
Sophia is still working with us and is focusing on building partner relationships, plus supporting our new Community Guide and Matching Team in their roles. Sophia is also thrilled to announce the handover of our Lively Gazette to our wonderful Helper Serena. In Sophia's words -“It has been a labour of love creating and curating the Lively Gazette and I am so confident in where Serena will take it.”
Hello keen readers of our beloved Lively Gazette! As introduced by the amazing Sophia, my name is Serena and I have been working as a Helper at Lively since September last year. I focus largely on the Tech Help side, but have enjoyed branching out this month to dabble in various other services.
This beautiful month of August, I have come on as the Lively Gazette curator, and I hope you enjoy this compilation of cheery chronicles from our Helpers, Members and wider community. As the first Gazette I have had the pleasure of creating, I hope you will forgive any mistakes and applaud any points of interest! Without further ado, please enjoy this month’s edition!
Every month, Members and Helpers alike share stories about the awesome things they’ve been up to and the interesting people they meet together on their travels. In an attempt to share the love with the greater Lively community, we hope these Helper-written tales below serve as inspiration for other Member/Helper duos, and spark ideas for any dear reader who may be thinking about hiring a Lively Helper.
Michelle & Laxmi’s altruism
"Laxmi was on a mission today as she was keen to parcel up some clothes to donate them towards the 'Remote Op Shop Project' by choosing to send them to Alice Springs. Laxmi had already vacuum sealed the clothes into airtight bags so the next step was to put the clothes into delivery bags, seriously tape them up and sign and send them away. Once we were done we dropped them off to AusPost. It was a very humble and selfless gesture of Laxmi to help rural Australians in need. I was very happy to help!"
Serena & Michelle’s adventure
"Today Michelle and I caught a tram down Smith St to a wool store in Northcote, packed to the brim with decadent materials and rich colours. We picked out a beautiful button for a new beanie she’s making and some cards of mending yarn. We then stopped at a café on the way home and treated ourselves to coffees and lamingtons. Once home, Michelle (a talented knitter and clothes-maker herself) kindly mended my knitted glove which had unravelled during the week."
Alex & Mario’s afternoon
"It’s always a pleasure working with Mario in the garden. Mario seemed in great spirits and full of energy today. We started with some lawn care and then focused on weeding the front garden beds, we then finished off the session with a coffee and some cakes made by the wonderful Maria."
This year has been an incredibly exciting one here at Lively with the introduction of many Helper-led initiatives. The formation of the Matching, Hiring, Helper Pilot and Stories teams has helped things run smoothly and led to greater Helper engagement at every level of our organisation. As such, I am very excited to introduce some Helper reflections on their work, and thoughts on our Tech Help programs.
Matching Team: what goes into Matching at Lively
“I've been a Lively Support Coordinator for almost half a year and I've been enjoying doing the work. It makes me feel proud and happy every time we tackle a problem and get a Member matched with a Helper. The work involves plenty of correspondence with case managers, Members, and Helpers. I've learned lots of communication skills during the process.
For example, there was a time we received 3 service requests for Community Tech Help on the same day, and one of the programs would start in only two days. I felt a bit stressed at the beginning, worrying about how to find Helpers available for the sessions in such a short period of time. However, after 2 hours of work and lots of emails, I managed to find all the Helpers needed and the programs got started smoothly. I felt a great relief at the end of the day as I knew we could help the members as planned without postponing the programs.
Paul and Sophia are super supportive and always care about Hannah and my feelings. I love Lively and what we are doing to make a difference. Big thanks and much love!”
Words from one half of our incredible Matching Team, the amazing Xinran.
Hiring Team: how recruitment to Lively is going
“A couple of months ago, a new Hiring Team was created to help tweak our Helper intake process and our new Helpers’ journey. Fellow Helper Riley and I were brought on board to work with Lively’s Helper Coordinator, Robin, to improve our outreach to young people in our community! We have been working towards creating a great experience for new applicants when applying for new positions at Lively.
We have been working to spread the word about the new positions available at Lively by reaching out to different youth organisations and services. We have also been reaching out to a variety of universities and high schools, sending them our flyers and position descriptions, which has been going very well! Riley and I have also been working on Lively’s LinkedIn page which we encourage you to check out. We have been posting regularly on LinkedIn to create connections and share all the amazing things that we do at Lively. We also have weekly meetings to brainstorm new ideas about things we could do and things we could improve on while having a little bit of fun on the side! :)
If you know any young people who you think might make a great Helper, tell them to submit an application at our website, www.lively.org.au/work-with-us, or email us on firstname.lastname@example.org if they have questions! We always try to make it a great experience, and if we don't have a position available yet, we'll place people on our waitlist.”
A message from Lillian and Riley, our dedicated Hiring Team crew.
Helper Serena's farewell to the South Yarra Senior Citizens Centre
At the SYSCC, Riley, Xinran and Serena have been providing one-on-one Tech Help sessions with the City of Melbourne for many months now. With August coming to an end, so too did our beloved “Connect Café” program. Over these past few months we have helped many Members with a large array of topics ranging in difficulty and accessibility. We ourselves have learnt things as we endeavoured to solve our Members' issues together with them. The program gave everyone involved a great sense of accomplishment and we are very happy to have been involved. Connect Café will now circle around other City of Melbourne establishments so keep an eye out if you live in North Melbourne, Kensington or Carlton!
Services at Lively
We would also like to remind you dear readers that our Helpers are trained in a variety of other services beyond the Tech Help Programs discussed above. We can also socially garden, clean & launder, provide safe transport and pursue personal projects with our Members. Please read more about the services we provide here. Many of us have also attained our Mental Health First Aid certificate. Lively HQ helps support and guide both Helpers and Members if they hit an uncomfortable challenge with protocols and check-ins.
Here at Lively, we do things a little differently and indeed, our approach to Home Care is no different. We pride ourselves on our intergenerational home care model with enthusiastic and empathetic Helpers. You can delve deeper into what our model involves here and download our home care information pack here. For now, please enjoy Michelle’s overview of our ongoing Helper Pilot Program.
Helper Michelle’s reflections on the Helper Pilot
I was grateful to be a part of the ‘Helper Pilot Program’ which ran from March-July this year. Alongside me were the legendary helpers - Alex, Alyssa, Chloe.
Initially, John and Robin helped to facilitate and guide this experimental program, which at its heart was centred around exploring collaborative approaches to care. We met on a weekly/fortnightly basis to discuss Member needs and ways of supporting them. Halfway through the program, we went through a shake-up as us Helpers decided we would steer the ship and organise and facilitate ourselves. This was a profound moment, as it empowered us Helpers to take greater ownership for our ideas and contributions. There was a swift dynamic shift in the zoom room and a flutter of excitement and conversation.
It was amazing to see the room beam as us Helpers stepped into roles involving facilitation, organisation, delegation and co-ordination. As Helpers, one of the key takeaways revealed itself as a burning desire to focus on collective, community wellbeing. This came to fruition with our Helper-led ‘Lively Get-together’ which was a social gathering that took place at the Thornbury community house in July. We hoped this social occasion would broaden and bridge a greater connection to the Lively community - Members, Helpers & HQ (with lucky guests including past Members and friends of Members). Watch this space, as we hope to see more opportunities to allow for Helper-led initiatives and programs.
Helper Coordinator Robin’s words on our August Helper training
As of July, we've updated our Helper training to run every two months for new Helpers we're onboarding, as well as existing Helpers who want to get trained in new services!
It was super exciting last month to see so many Helpers keen to get skilled up to provide the full range of Lively supports! Across our Social Gardening, Tech Help, Cleaning and Personal Projects services, 10 new Helpers were trained up and are now getting to work. These training sessions focus on making sure Helpers know the essentials when it comes to basic safety in the home, so they can work together with our Members to carry out the activities according to their preferences.
As always, I was so inspired by the intelligence, thoughtfulness and resourcefulness of our spectacular Helper team, who bring a deep care for our Members and fantastic work ethic to these sessions. A big welcome to our incoming Helpers, Jess, Chau, Phuong, Wei-Ting and Ann, and a big thanks to existing Helpers Hannah, Serena, Xinran, Nate and Brett for their participation in the sessions!
Community Guide Sophia introducing our new Guide, Ann!
Keeping in momentum with offering our Helpers employment pathways and opportunities within Lively, we have recently hired one of our own Helpers, Ann to step into our Community Guide role.
Ann will be the friendly voice on the end of the phone when you call our main phone line, and she will be corresponding from our email@example.com email. Initially, Ann will be working across 3 days of the week and will be sure to return your call on her next shift if you leave a message.
We are so excited to have someone dedicated to this role and providing a warm welcome to Lively.
Founder Anna on distributed leadership at Lively
As the Founder of Lively, I'm so excited to see more and more stories of Lively Helpers stepping into a range of new roles at Lively, and joining in on strategic discussions about Lively’s services and direction. For those reading from afar, we want to highlight that this isn’t by chance! There’s lots of thinking and effort that goes on behind the scenes to ensure that these opportunities are available to our Helpers. And we do this because Lively is not only interested in reshaping how young and older people are viewed and valued in our community, but because we’re also committed to reimagining how organisations work with and for their people in pursuit of their goals.
I've often observed how the fundamental purpose of organisations can be curtailed by stifling bureaucracies and toxic cultures, or by incessant states of staff burnout, internal politicking and high staff turnover. And as a young person starting my career, I often found myself bubbling with enthusiasm and new ideas to bring to the table (ideas that I would have loved to throw myself into actioning!), but saw these get bogged down and lost in approval processes. From the earliest days of my work at Lively, I’ve been determined to ensure that we avoid that fate! And I’ve been endlessly inspired by a growing body of progressive workplaces around the world, where teams are shaking up the status quo and finding ways to run organisations in a more human and adaptive way.
There are so many ways that we’re experimenting with what this means for us in practice, but one of them is distributing leadership and authority throughout the organisation. This means being really mindful of where power sits within Lively, and trying to make sure it flows to our Helpers and Members as much as possible, rather than being held onto by a management team or Board. It means engaging Helpers in decisions that will affect their working experience. Running workshops for Helpers to shape the way we’re working and delivering our services. Trusting Helpers to self-manage their schedules and engagement with Members, rather than running central rosters. Giving budgets to Helpers to do ‘what they want’ to further our purpose in their communities (culminating in the recent Helper-Member get together event). And avoiding strategic plans that are developed 'at the top’, in favour of routinely coming together with our Helpers and Members to explore where we’re at and where we’re headed.
Recently, when we’ve found ourselves with a need for more capacity to recruit new Helpers, raise our profile and match new Members, we’ve opted to put these roles in the hands of our existing Helpers first - rather than recruiting in experienced professionals who might ordinarily get the job. It’s been so brilliant to see what Helpers have been achieving in these roles so far, and we’re excited about building on this approach as we grow into new areas and further decentralise our operations. We look forward to sharing where the journey continues to take us!
Every month in our Gazettes, we like to pose some interesting things we've read recently to the Lively community at large. This August, please enjoy this selection of talking points sent in from people in the community.
How to have a conversation about maintaining positive mental health
This first article introduces readers to what a ‘mental health conversation’ is and provides a useful acronym (ALGEE) to bear in mind when approaching such a conversation. We hope you find the information in this article illuminating and useful. Please click here to read.
Old People’s Home for Teenagers
Last Gazette we flagged that this show was coming up, and now, at the end of this month, it’s finally here. I had the absolute pleasure of watching this first episode with my grandmother on Tuesday 30 August at 8:30pm and hope some of you did as well! Please click here to get more information and here to watch the latest episode on iView.
MerriHealth Mood and Food – 4 week mindfulness workshop
This four-week Living Well, Ageing Well workshop will focus on the correlation between certain foods and mental health. Commencing Monday 29 August, the sessions are for people living in Northern Metro Melbourne and aged 50-64. For more information please click here and to register for the sessions please click here.
Are you a Member, Helper or Friend of Lively with a pearl of wisdom, or any content ideas for the Lively Gazette that you’d like to share with us? We'd love your contribution! Please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org if you would like to feature anything in the next edition!