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A warm and welcoming place

Pamela Hanney

13 September 2018

Retired Australia Southern territorial Doorways Coordinator Pamela Hanney looks to the future of Salvation Army service and clients.

There are other highlights that stay with me.

Seeing the impact of the Doorways Handbook – hearing staff say that they feel empowered by having this resource; that this document helped them realise that they were part of a much bigger initiative. Although they may work in a small country town, they are an integral part of The Salvation Army Community Support Service.

Hearing feedback from Emergency Relief teams when they went to DSS funded training – when they realised that what they were already doing under Doorways was absolutely aligned with the principles of the training being offered – the training was a validation of their current practice.

The Australia Southern Territory chose to validate all of our Doorways practice - through  commissioned external research, to guide and enrich the development of Doorways (such as I Wish I’d Known Sooner (regarding financial counselling) and Time, Trust, Respect (regarding the impact of case management in ER). This informed and validated our practice.  

Working face-to-face, one-to-one, with our ER clients is where we build strong relationships, and trust was the key to gaining long-term outcomes for our ER clients. This was validated again by recent external outcomes measurement research by Urbis, which reinforced that we are on the right path – the client feedback on impact of our services on their lives was very moving.

Over the past seven years, the Army’s annual National Economic and Social Impact Survey (ESIS) has become recognised across Australia as a window into the ‘lived experience of people accessing Emergency Relief Services’. It is research that helps breakdown stereotypic norms and is highly regarded and a sought-after reference tool. 

Our wonderful SAMIS unit – a small team doing extraordinary work.   SAMIS (Salvation Army Mission Information Service) works in partnership with every worker on the ground who records the client data in SAMIS. It gives The Salvation Army one of the most outstanding data sets, ensuring we can give our clients a voice through data, which is a language that governments listen to. 

My time at The Salvation Army has been an incredibly rich and rewarding experience – I have enjoyed working with the extremely talented people who surround me at THQ, the amazing state/divisional Doorways directors/manager/coordinators, and all of the exceedingly dedicated, caring staff.

I think of Emergency Relief workers, caseworkers, financial counsellors, and the army of volunteers – every one of whom contributes to making our ER services a warm and welcoming place of support and connection for the people who walk through our doors.

I thank The Salvation Army for giving me the opportunity to share this journey. It has been an amazing experience.