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Backing people in need

Physio at 614

The Salvation Army’s Melbourne Project 614 has been in partnership with SOS Health Foundation (the charitable arm of the Back in Motion Physiotherapy organisation) since August 2013.

Melbourne 614 Corps building

SOS foundation volunteers have been providing pro bono physiotherapy assistance from 9 a.m. – 1 p.m. on Tuesday mornings each week. Some 24 patients have been helped to date; most suffer from chronic conditions and would not be able to access or afford physiotherapy without SOS.

The volunteers average four to five treatments per day, with treatments running longer than the usual 20 minutes, as the volunteers have to help identify problems, then coordinate and implement the treatments.

General manager of the SOS Health Foundation Lynda Cunningham described to e-connect the sense of satisfaction that their volunteers enjoy and said it was a logical outcome of the foundation, which ‘was started to be able to “give back” to people who wouldn’t normally be able to afford our services’.

‘We have quite a large volunteer base of health care professionals and they are looking for avenues to be able to provide their services free of charge, as there is a relative lack of pro bono health services being proceeded here in Australia.

‘We currently have four volunteers who commit to two-month stints of assistance, which helps them build up history and relationship with clients. We are currently looking at the possibility of bringing another team of people to provide assistance on a second day each week, perhaps toward the second half of 2014.’

614’s Darryl Annett told e-connect that ‘the partnership with SOS enhances the range of services to the homeless and marginalised of Melbourne’.

‘The commitment by SOS to deliver this service here at 69 Bourke St means it is accessible to so many who would not otherwise benefit; who would otherwise just fall through the cracks yet again.’

‘SOS Health Foundation was formed by physios for physios and related health practitioners who want to use their skills to ensure quality services are available when and wherever needed,’ the organisation states online.

‘Providing a safe place where all clients are treated with respect, dignity and care, and privacy is assured [and] our volunteers are providing physiotherapy services to those who would not otherwise have access to these services. We are committed to ensuring those in desperate need of good health outcomes in Melbourne CBD receive quality physio services.

‘Thousands of people who are homeless, at risk of homelessness, and/or who are suffering from social poverty, have serious health issues or disabilities that often go untreated [and] many of these people would regard physiotherapy as a luxury they can’t afford, or they just don’t know where to access it.

‘Our volunteers are providing physiotherapy services to those who would not otherwise have access to these services. Partnering with the Salvation Army, we are committed to ensuring the homeless, those at risk, and those in desperate need of good health outcomes in Melbourne CBD receive quality health services.’

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