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Let’s play to our strengths

e-connect welcomes the new territorial social programme director, Netty Horton.


Service to others is not new to me*, but I must admit that when I came to Australia from the UK some decades ago I was shocked by the extent to which the churches undertake social work here (in the UK, welfare and welfare delivery predominantly stems from the government).

In the UK I had seen The Salvation Army at work caring for others, but I hadn’t realised the full extent of its work until I came out to my new home, Australia. The Army’s homelessness service were gaining prominence and innovating service delivery; I think back on the Crossroads program, and the original SAMS project, which provided intensive case work to people in need.

I associate The Salvation Army with innovation. I am interested to see the extent to which the Doorways philosophy has already revitalised our approach to emergency relief, by reinforcing the dignity of the individual and providing all possible opportunities to meet the needs of the people who come to us for help. I am interested to see the difference that the Doorways approach is making in people’s lives.

That’s how we can best measure our progress; the extent to which people’s lives are improved for the better. Let me state that again: we see the worth of our efforts in the impact that’s made in people’s lives.

*Earlier this year Netty Horton concluded her service as the general manager of community services for the Victorian arm of the Catholic Church’s St Vincent de Paul Society. Ms Horton has a long history of working in the area of homelessness, beginning as an outreach worker with rough sleepers in 1988. For 12 years she served as the CEO of the Council to Homeless Persons, during which time she established and ran the first and second national conferences on homelessness in Australia. Ms Horton chaired the ministerial advisory committee on the development of the Victorian Homelessness Strategy, and founded the Council for Homeless Persons Australia, a founding entity of the Australian Federation of Homelessness Organisations and Foodbank Australia.