Page updated December 20, 2019

Better supporting young people

December 20, 2019

Guest speaker Dylan Langley, youth consultant and public speaker, inspired people at Eastern Community Legal Centre’s (ECLC) 45th Annual General Meeting (AGM) held in Ringwood on 25 November 2019 when he told them how he is working with agencies, communities and politicians to help young people.

Dylan said young people leaving out-of-home care need support. When he turned 18 years of age, Dylan was told his best option was going to be a homeless shelter.

“This was my story. I’ve worked hard to change this story.

“But it is not just about me, I want every person to have a shot at life,” said Dylan.

Dylan has been a driving force alongside community agencies, supporters, politicians and the media which has resulted in out-of-home care for some young people being extended from 18 years to 21 years of age.

“But, it’s not just a matter of extended care. Young people need help with education, getting a job and getting a tax file number,” Dylan said.

When Dylan was asked how he coped with his mental health in his darkest hours when he struggled to find support, he said he discovered physical activity.

“Going to the gym, playing football, running and using a punch bag does a lot more than make you look fit,” Dylan said.

Dylan also worked hard at building new networks. He said we weren’t designed to be alone. We thrive with others. He said he now has different coping skills to manage the dark times.

Dylan spoke about his involvement with Brighter Futures and encouraged AGM guests to get involved. “It will change your life as much as it changes someone else’s life. It is a win-win,” said Dylan.

Dylan is also the face of the Home Stretch campaign being spearheaded by Anglicare to extend the care for young people aged 18-21 years in out-of-home care. He is also a member of the Youth Advisory group for the Brighter Futures Outer East initiative that is providing lived experience and a youth voice to create change for future generations of young people in out-of-home care.

New Strategic Plan emphasises multidisciplinary approach

ECLC launched its Strategic Plan 2020-23 at the AGM. The Strategic Plan aptly describes ECLC as:

A multidisciplinary legal service that works to prevent problems, progress fair outcomes and support the wellbeing and resilience of communities and community members in Melbourne’s east.

The plan focuses on embedding and extending ECLC’s multidisciplinary and integrated service models to enable efficient work with partners and as teams in a changing service environment. ECLC will do this by prioritising:

  • Person-centred practice – further improving services and practices, both at the interface with clients and in relation to in-house systems that support service delivery.
  • Partnerships – taking them from strength to strength, working with multidisciplinary teams and integrated services networks to achieve system improvements.
  • People – supporting the growing and diverse workforce to do their jobs well.

The Strategic Plan outlines ECLC’s priority communities and eight strategies for how the work will develop over this period.

AGM highlights

The theme of ECLC’s AGM was ‘Communities Collaborating.’

ECLC CEO Michael Smith said it was a huge honour to acknowledge at the AGM the exceptional things ECLC has done in the reporting year through its strong and collaborative partnerships.

He highlighted ECLC’s primary prevention Health Justice Partnerships:

  • Mabels – the launch of the family violence report called, ‘It couldn’t have come at a better time’ to inform early intervention legal practice and to guide system reform;
  • WELS – a new integrated health and family violence legal response with Eastern Health to prevent or limit further harm to a mother and her children;
  • ROSE (Rights of Seniors in the East) – a new integrated legal, financial and social support service for seniors at risk of or experiencing abuse from a person in a position of trust; and
  • ELSA (Engaging and Living Safely and Autonomously) – a new integrated health justice partnership with Eastern Health for identifying and responding to older people experiencing or at risk of experiencing elder abuse while maintaining their right to make choices about how their safety is protected.

With true collaborative spirit, ECLC’s volunteer community continued to provide extensive and highly-skilled support to community members with legal and other needs. Without a doubt, the collaborative community and government partnerships ECLC formed and strengthened in the reporting year enabled it to deliver more targeted and timely essential legal and related services to communities in the eastern suburbs of Melbourne.

ECLC extends its deepest gratitude to its many partners and supporters, including government and funding partners. “Our extraordinary achievements for our communities and their members are genuinely shared,” said Michael.

Watch the videos of ECLC’s 45th AGM:

·         Dylan Langley, guest speaker

·         Janet Matton, ECLC Chairperson

·         Michael Smith, ECLC CEO

·         Belinda Lo and Shahaan Murray, ECLC Elder Abuse Response

Read ECLC’s Annual Report 2019 and ECLC’s Strategic Plan 2020-23.

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