Perth Hills is one of the remaining areas to transition to Neighbourhood Teams. Team Facilitator Sarina, Coordinator Vickie and Mentor Sandra talk candidly about their journey.


Sarina: I’ve been with Avivo for 10 years now, the first nine as a support worker and I’ve been in the TF role for a year or so. As a support worker, I used to feel really isolated. I wasn’t connected to others and didn’t really know who to go to for help. This has all changed as we are getting into teams and it’s been really good for so many reasons! There’s so much more connection. We really feel like we have each other’s backs. We communicate more and are also feeling comfortable to have open and honest conversations with each other. We can “call it” when we need to but are respectful with each other. We all feel more accountable and there’s much more trust.

The Team Development Program has really helped our team too. That feels much different to the old Phocus meetings and formal supervision we used to have. This is more immediate and useful and we really get to know each other. There’s also more structure – we know what we’re doing and keep each other updated. We also know who we can connect with to get help, like the Mentors or Coordinators or other TFs. Each Friday we have hired a community hall for a few hours and everyone is welcome to pop in – to get things they need, chat with each other, or ask questions of the Mentor, SCs, TFs and Service or Admin Support. It’s been really useful.

I’d say to newly forming teams, to be patient and trust the process. It’s all worth it in the end!


Vickie:  I’ve been around for a while – 13 years this month! – and I’ve seen lots of changes at Avivo. People have come and gone, and we’ve got through most of these changes intact. To be honest, I initially found the most recent changes to be quite stressful and overwhelming. As the longest standing member of the team, (and the oldest one there!) I felt the need to have all the answers and fix everything. I felt like I was constantly on the go just to make sure the wheels didn’t fall off. I’m not Superwoman, but I was sure trying to be!

I’ve never been one to ask for help and found it difficult to delegate. Working alongside Sandra and Christine has really helped me to think about how I work and I’ve felt a huge (and positive) shift in how I am now. I had to step out of my comfort zone a little bit and just try something new. I feel more relaxed, safer and more confident now. I also feel supported and like I can respectfully speak my mind and be heard.

I’ve also got to say that watching that video about how the virus could spread amongst our customers and employees really blew my mind. Suddenly, I got it! Moving into Neighbourhood Teams makes even more sense to me now.


Sandra: It’s been an absolute delight to work alongside the Perth Hills team. Having each Friday to catch up with team members within the Perth Hills community has been really beneficial. It’s a great chance to connect, undertake learning opportunities and seek guidance and support. It’s also lovely to see people face to face! The development program has been progressing well and the recent workshop about Transitioning and Strengthening Neighbourhood Teams was a great opportunity to meet with Support Workers whilst also providing them with an opportunity to ask questions and provide feedback too. Overall, the response has been positive and it’s fab to see everyone willing to move forward. As a team we are looking forward to building and strengthening our connections with relevant stakeholders and the Perth Hills community.