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Reconciliation - Our Story

Fiona Kelly
Many not-for-profits and government bodies are currently working toward reconciliation.
UnitingCare Wesley Bowden (UCWB) is and we have adopted Reconciliation Australia's
Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP) program – a framework for organisations to realise their vision.
A RAP is a business plan that documents what an organisation commits to do to contribute to reconciliation in Australia.
UCWB has embraced the RAP program and has spent the last 18 months learning, growing and
nearing its goal. We hope that reading a bit about our approach will encourage you engage with Reconciliation Australia and get started on your journey.
Our platform to promote reconciliation is multi fold:
  • Employment
  • Partnerships
  • Cultural training



Newly appointed UCWB chief executive, Fiona Kelly, said "We know that change and commitment come from within. It's like adding another element to our DNA so that we can continue to keep reconciliation at the heart of what we do."

"This means employing Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community members and making a commitment to increasing the number of employees, is very important. One way we can do this is to improve our knowledge about Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and cultures."

"We're also improving our direct engagement with the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities to encourage employment with us."


Fiona said, "One of the most fundamental ways to ensure reconciliation is to honor the principle of 'Nothing About Us Without Us'.

"It would be impossible to authentically undertake a RAP without the substantial – not tokenistic – participation of ATSI peoples and ATSI organisations."

UCWB's partnerships include KWY (Kornar Winmil Yunti), InComPro Inc. and Ninko (Ninko Kurtangga Patpangga). UCWB has recently established an MOU with SA Youth Health to support the establishment of a clinic providing  primary health checks for 18 – 25 year olds with a focus on Aboriginal young women 12 – 18 years. We also work with Turkindi - an informal network of indigenous and non-indigenous Australians.

"Our partners will assist us to deliver all aspects of the RAP at UCWB, not just advising and coaching from the sidelines. The partners will have actual decision making power and contribute to the DNA of our work," said Fiona.

Cultural training

Fiona said, "The evidence shows that culturally appropriate services help to alleviate health and social inequalities. Naturally, in a customer centred organisation, it means that all services are delivered in a culturally appropriate manner. We're taking that extra step to make sure it happens."

"All UCWB staff will attend significant Indigenous cultural awareness training over the coming year – training provided by Indigenous and Torres Strait islander people who are experts in this field."

UCWB will launch the RAP later this year upon receipt of full endorsement by Reconciliation Australia. We will also unveil a specially commissioned artwork by Indigenous artist Paul Herzich. Look out for your invitation or email us if you'd like to attend – This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

NAIDOC Week at UCWB – theory and practice

To help celebrate NAIDOC Week this year, UCWB offered an all-day art session with Ngarrindjeri artist Cedric Varcoe.

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Here's what some people had to say.

swirl"The event was excellent; I came in on my day off to be part of it and I was not disappointed. It was really interesting listening to Cedric's dreamtime story and also him explaining how his art had changed his life. It was also a great bonding experience for everyone involved." Niki, Administration Manager

swirl"I am a Ngarrindjeri woman myself, but I learned a lot from the day with Cedric. Of course, when I was a kid my aunties and uncles always told me not to go by the river or the mulyawonk (water monster) would get me. But I actually learned the symbols and the meaning behind the story." Margaret, Carer Coordinator

swirl"In Results Based Accountability you can sometimes forget the human element. This process brought it right back in. Cedric said that he'd never worked with adults before and that, unlike kids, we needed much more direction and encouragement. That confirms it – we really do start out in life without 'boundaries'." Eboni, Results Based Accountability Project Officer


UnitingCare Wesley Bowden’s New Approach for a New Era

UnitingCare Wesley Bowden (UCWB) has entered a new era in the aged care and disability sectors with a renewed organisational structure to better meet community need and expectation. We have also secured two progressive and capable leaders for the top roles: Ms Alison Kimber as the new chair and Ms Fiona Kelly as chief executive.

Alison is an experienced executive with 20 years’ experience at senior levels in the South Australian Government and more than 10 years’ experience in banking and insurance.  She has led major reform projects and successful cultural change across diverse organisations in the government and not-for-profit sectors and currently consults to government and not-for-profit housing providers.

Alison is also member of the Australian Institute of Company Directors SA/NT Council, an independent board member of the Fleurieu Regional Aquatic Centre Authority, and a Fellow of the Institute of Actuaries of Australia.


Following an extensive interval as acting chief executive, the board of directors of UnitingCare Wesley Bowden has announced that Fiona Kelly will step into the full role of CE from June 2017. She brings with her a track record of more than 25 years and consistent success in management and executive level positions across the disability, health, justice, community and corporate sectors.

She commenced her career as a psychologist before transitioning into government services in management and leadership roles.


While working in the disability sector she led regional services and established state wide programs providing specialist clinical services to persons who were most vulnerable to being placed in out-of-home and institutional care. She also took leadership roles in the area of policy and planning of services across both the government and non-government sector and in 1992 took a lead role in the realignment of disability services across the northern region of Adelaide.

Subsequently, Fiona was seconded to work in the South Australian Attorney General’s Department to lead a reform project to improve the health, mental health, disability and criminal justice sectors’ responses to persons with mental impairment who were involved with the criminal justice system.

In 2008 a change in direction saw her move to the United Arab Emirates to take the role as executive director in a management consulting company. Fiona’s work in this role took her across the Middle East and North Africa working with local, regional and multinational companies to effectively undertake organisational restructures and culture change.

In mid-2011 Fiona returned to Australia to take up the role of general manager at UCWB.

Beyond her ex-officio membership of the UCWB board, she has previous board experience with Leveda and Westside Housing Association, and is a current board member of Shelter SA and Together SA.

UCWB’s chair, Ms Alison Kimber said, ‘Fiona’s notable experience, sector-wide connections and standing in the community as an entrepreneurial, collaborative and creative leader marked her out as the ideal person to take us into a new era.’

‘Fiona said she is delighted and honoured to be taking up the full role of CE.’

‘I want to acknowledge the great success of the whole organisation, board and staff, team in building UCWB into such a vibrant not for profit. It’s an exciting time to lead the organisation in this high profile and critical role. We know Fiona will meet the challenge with finesse.’



It's Up 2 Me Life Skills Support Groups

JOIN US FOR FREE in attending a life skills support group.  This group will commence and we would encourage you to book into the sessions that you would like to attend. It may be one or all of the six sessions, this is your choice.

It’s Up 2 Me gives real life information for everyday problems so that users can make lasting changes to the way they approach life skills issues. It is flexible, easy to understand and always available, printable for anyone without a computer or mobile App and talks directly to people that need this information in a helpful, practical way.

These sessions are facilitated to provide you with information, resources and skills to improve your everyday living in; cooking, cleaning, wellbeing, tenancy, Budget, Employment. You will also receive goodies and products as well as morning and afternoon tea for attending each session. You can also participate in making your own lunch in one of our cooking session. You will be able to take it away with you too, so come on and give it a try.

It’s Up 2 Me Support Group Dates







77 Gibson Street, Bowden, Lounge on Gibson

10.00 – 12.00pm



77 Gibson Street, Bowden, Lounge on Gibson

2.00 – 3.30pm



77 Gibson Street, Bowden, Lounge on Gibson

9.30 – 11.00am



77 Gibson Street, Bowden, Conference Room A

2.00 – 3.30pm



77 Gibson Street, Bowden, Lounge on Gibson

2.30 – 4.00pm



77 Gibson Street, Bowden, Meeting Room 1

11.00 – 12.30pm


Bookings are essential as there are limited places and you will also receive free items during these sessions so book today so you do not miss out. To book, contact: UnitingCare Wesley Bowden on 8245 7179 or email This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it


Harmony Day at Torrensville Child and Family Centre

Last week, staff, children and their families celebrated Harmony Day by acknowledging the diverse backgrounds present at the centre. Interestingly, TCFC is one of the most diverse preschools with over 80% of children at the centre come from a multicultural background, so for them, Harmony Day was certainly full of colour, with children dressed in something that reflects their background.


Find out more in this article from the Westside Weekly.



TCFC in Westside Weekly March 2017


Channel 10 supporting the Target & UnitingCare Christmas Appeal

Scott Patrick, Emergency Assistance & Food Hub Coordinator, appeared in Channel 10's recent news story profiling the Target & UnitingCare Christmas Appeal!

You can see Scott in action here: 

Scott Patrick play

If you would like to learn more about this appeal, or donate, please visit the UnitingCare Chritmas Appeal site.

Eid Al Adha Mubarak!

Eid Al Adha is one of the holiest celebrations on the Islamic calendar. The holiday known as the Feast of Sacrifice represents the end of Hajj, an annual Islamic pilgrimage to Mecca in Saudi Arabia that lasts three to four days. The Koran recommends all Muslims make the journey at least once in their lifetime.
Muslims celebrate this day as a reminder of the time in which Ibrahim was about to sacrifice his son but was told by God to sacrifice an animal instead. The celebration symbolizes Ibrahim's devotion to Allah.

Up to 2 million Muslims from around the world arrived in Saudi Arabia for the start of Hajj this week. The start of Eid Al Adha is determined based on the lunar cycle, which means the festival falls on a different date every year. This year it fell on the 11th September.

Muslims start out the day with a morning prayer and then exchange gifts and food among family and friends. They are required to share their food and money with the poor so they can also take part in the celebrations. Worshippers typically slaughter an animal like a goat or sheep.

Eid Al Adha Mubarak to all our Muslim clients and staff!

It's Up 2 Me - Introductory Video

Thank you, West Torrens Library!

West Torrens Library and their members recently donated boxes full of brand new books to The Open Door, our Emergency Relief Service.

The library enticed donations by offering a free raffle ticket to anyone that donated a new book, with the prize of a Dymocks gift voucher. Thank you, West Torrens Library and your generous members! (Photo: UCWB Staff and West Torrens Library Staff, previewing the books!)

West Torrens

Share the Dignity - It's in the Bag

Our Inner Southern Homelessness Service was extremely grateful when the not-for-profit organisation, Share the Dignity, recently donated handbags to us to give to our clients.

The handbags, which are part of the 'It's in The Bag' campaign, were filled with a range of items including shampoo, conditioner, deodorant, hand-cream, sanitary items and a personal message of support from the person who donated the bag.

Share the Dignity aims to provide homeless and at risk women, nationally, with sanitary pads and tampons to allow them a sense of dignity at a time when they need it most. The idea behind Share the Dignity is that no woman should suffer the indignity of choosing between eating and buying such items.

According to the Founder of Share the Dignity, Rochelle Courtenay: "The It's in The Bag campaign idea came to me when I realised that we seem to manage the needs of children at Christmas, ensuring they're cared for and made to feel special, but the same can't always be said for making our women in need feel special".

And so the campaign began - asking Australians to donate a handbag they don't use, fill it with thoughtful items, a note if they wanted to, toiletries, sanitary items and anything practical and appropriate. The support and interest has been overwhelming and heart-warming.

Local co-ordinator for Share the Dignity, Annette says It's in The Bag will become an annual campaign and the organisation was grateful for the compassion, generosity and empathy of Australian public.

Many of Inner Southern Homelessness Service's clients were really thrilled to receive an It's in The Bag handbag with one client saying it made their day and another woman saying it was the only gift she will receive for Christmas. (Photo: Our staff, with the handbags, ready to give out to clients).


A Royal Visit

royal visit

On Tuesday 10 November, the Bowden Redevelopment site was visited by His Royal Highness the Prince of Wales. The Prince's Foundation for Building Community is funding the construction of a new residential apartment building within the Bowden redevelopment and His Royal Highness was invited to turn the first sod on the site.

As a member of the Bowden Project Reference Group, UCWB was invited to attend the event, and be introduced to His Royal Highness.

UCWB Chairperson Louise Miller-Frost, UCWB Chief Executive Julian Sawicki and The Open Door volunteer Donna Jones were privileged to meet the Prince and provide him with a quick overview of our services. The Prince showed a great deal of interest in our work.

The Premier and Deputy Premier of South Australia were also in attendance giving our representatives another opportunity to highlight the great work we are doing here at UCWB.

Thanks go to the Renewal SA team for their invitation to attend, and organisation of the event.

SACOSS Anti-Poverty Week Statement Launch - Wednesday 14 October

Each year as a part of the activity that surrounds Anti-Poverty Week (October 11-17), SACOSS releases an APW Statement that profiles poverty in different areas of South Australia.  This year the Statement focuses on City of Charles Sturt, along with the LGAs of Onkaparinga and Port Augusta. It includes Department of Employment and ABS Community Profile Census data relating to education, employment, ethnicity, income and other economic resources for each area, as well as for South Australia as a whole.

SACOSS is launching the Statement on Wednesday 14 October here at UCWB and we'd love you to be there.

SACOSS Anti-Poverty Week Statement Launch
When: 10.30am, Wednesday 14 October
Where: UCWB, 77 Gibson St, Bowden
For further information and to RSVP: Please contact Dr Catherine Earl on 8305 4225 or This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

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