In this issue:

  • CEO Update
  • New MWP Care Board
  • Feeling lonely or sad this holiday season? Here’s how to take care of yourself
  • How to stay safe on the road at Christmas
  • Introducing Alex Kane
  • Service award presentation
  • In Memoriam: Richard Hughes

CEO Update – December 2020

As we approach the end of an eventful and challenging year, I’d like to thank each and every one of our clients and volunteers for your commitment to MWP Care and wish you a peaceful and relaxing Christmas and New Year’s break.

I am pleased to report that MWP Care has made significant progress in our ability to safely care for our clients since the outbreak of COVID-19 earlier in the year. We have enhanced our safety procedures to deal with COVID, examined our service program to evaluate which services could be restarted safely, rebuilt our team and have started resuming valuable services such as social outings. Our third Movie Day outing since we have been able to resume our social outings took place on Tuesday the 24th November. By all accounts the November Movie Day was a great success, providing a light-hearted and enjoyable occasion for our clients to leave their homes, connect with familiar faces and meet new friends. I am excited by the opportunities that are now in front of us to continue safely resuming more group outings and to introduce new client services and activities in the new year.

November was a time of regeneration for our team and for our Board. Following the Annual General Meeting held on 19th November, a new Board was confirmed, with three new Directors being formally appointed to the Board.
Our former President John Scutt and former Vice-President Sandra Burgess, have now both retired from the Board, leaving the way open for new leadership at the Board level. I’d like to thank both John and Sandra for their commitment and leadership to MWP Care during their time of service on the Board. I am now working closely with our new Board to ensure MWP Care’s mission of care grows and evolves even further in 2021.

I am delighted to announce the appointment of Alex Kane as our new Neighbour Aid Client Experience Manager. Alex started with MWP Care on 16th November and brings extensive experience in developing care programs from the disability sector, having worked for a large part of his career at Cerebral Palsy Alliance. One of Alex’s main responsibilities will be to redefine our client services program to ensure our services and activities are meeting the needs of our clients in the community. This will include re-evaluating and resuming some of our more popular services and activities in COVID-safe ways and also exploring new areas of innovation, identifying what new services MWP Care might introduce. I’m sure you will have the opportunity of meeting Alex soon.

We are making good progress in communicating our mission outwardly in the community and building awareness of our brand. Our new brand video now appears on the home page of our website. Please visit to view the video and let me know your thoughts! This is the first of several videos we intend to launch as a means of communicating our mission to more people in need. We live in an increasingly digital world and content such as videos are an important element in forming introductions and connecting with people. I look forward to keeping you posted on our progress in this area.

So to each of you, have a safe and relaxing break. We are privileged to support and be supported by such a wonderful group of clients and volunteers and I look forward to meeting you where possible in the new year and keeping you updated on our plans.

Best wishes for the season,

Grant Simpson

New MWP Care Board

A new Board was confirmed at our Annual General Meeting (AGM) held recently on 19th November.

Former President John Scutt and former Vice-President Sandra Burgess have now both retired from the Board. I wish to thank John and Sandra for their dedicated service to MWP Care as Board Directors. John had served as President since February 2015 and Sandra had been a Director for over 20 years. We extend our best wishes to John, Sandra and their families for the future.

We are delighted to announce that Director Bryan Fouche was reelected to the Board and Debra Fraser will continue on as a Board Director. We are also fortunate to have three new Directors now formally appointed to the Board following the AGM:

Gordon Wing-Lun – Gordon was previously the Chair of Yourside and he brings extensive aged care leadership and strategic planning experience to the Board. Gordon’s professional career was in the investment banking sector and he is an avid rock climber.


Matt Adderton – Matt has been a volunteer for MWP Care for 5 years now and runs his own successful marketing services agency. Matt brings a strong volunteer engagement and recruitment approach to the Board. Matt is of course very familiar with MWP Care’s volunteer program as a volunteer himself and will help MWP Care innovate and evolve it’s volunteer and client programs.

Jennifer Mitchell – Jennifer brings senior-level business experience in helping to transform complex operational processes for large companies using new technologies as a driver for change. Jennifer current works at Metcash, a leading food and hardware distributor and has led operational transformations in the banking and utilities sectors. Jennifer has a passion for improving work place culture and introducing new systems to improve productivity and customer satisfaction levels.

Gordon, Matt and Jennifer, together with Debra and Bryan all bring a high level of professional experience from their chosen fields and a diverse set of skills to MWP Care’s Board. We believe this level of experience and diversity will set MWP Care up well to meet the challenges of the aged care sector and the needs of our clients well into the future.

Feeling lonely or sad this holiday season? Here’s how to take care of yourself

Source: ABC Life

For many of us, the holiday season doesn’t look like the popular advertising imagery of a happy family packed around a lavish table.

One quarter of Australians say they’re lonely — and for those of us experiencing social isolation, mental illness or bereavement, the festive season can exacerbate that loneliness.

“If you don’t have family around you, or you might be struggling with a whole range of things in your life, sometimes that can be a trigger of loneliness around this time,” says Kerry McGrath, director of community programs at Australian Red Cross.

If you’re facing Christmas with a sense of loneliness or dread, here are some approaches to the season that may bring a little joy.

If you’re recently bereaved, manage expectations and honour your loved one’s memory

Feelings of loneliness and loss are unpleasant — and particularly if you’re recently bereaved, sometimes there’s nothing to do but to sit with those feelings, says Ms McGrath.

If you’ve recently lost a loved one, it’s fair to expect Christmas day to be a bit difficult.

“Try to see it as one of those things you need to get through,” says Ros Knight, president of the Australian Psychological Society.

“It’s about not having too many expectations, and not expecting Christmas to feel the same as it always used to feel.”

That said, it can help to find new ways to create a new tradition, which might mean having a gathering with neighbours or other friends, or parts of your family that you’re still connected to.

“It’s about trying to connect with those around you who can show some understanding for what you’re going through,” says Ms Knight.

“It can be other family members who are differently connected but can still relate to the loss of the person.”

You may find it helpful to include the memory of the person you’ve lost in Christmas somehow. You could include a special item of theirs in the proceedings or acknowledge them through a special toast, Ms Knight suggests.

Consider joining a community event

You might like to consider getting involved in a local community event, such as a festive lunch run by a charity, your neighbourhood’s carols by candlelight night, or a volunteer event on Christmas day.

“If you’re involved in the local religious or sporting community, find out what’s on and make it a priority” to get involved, says Dr Grant Blashki, lead clinical adviser at beyondblue.

“Be upfront that you’d like to be involved.

“Usually it’s a time of year where people are feeling quite welcoming, and you can get along and have quite a nice time and meet some people.”

Many people find that volunteering can help them feel connected to others over the festive season, says Ms McGrath. This can be either a formal volunteer position — such as packing Christmas parcels or working at a soup kitchen with a charity — or an informal role such as visiting elderly neighbours.

Volunteers find their work “gives meaning, it gives purpose, they’re learning new skills, they’re connecting with others,” Ms McGrath says.

“To give something back to your community is incredibly important.”

Check your social media use

Christmas is a time where many of us compare ourselves to others, says Ms McGrath.

At a time when Instagram, Facebook and other platforms are bound to be flooded with joyous family portraits and fun party snaps, it’s worth considering whether scrolling through social media may be making you feel worse.

“I don’t think it’s as simple as saying don’t do social media. It’s just about the purpose of your interactions that’s important,” says Ms McGrath.

Have a plan to spoil yourself

“For someone on their own, if they can make a proactive plan to make it a nice day, that’s going to serve them well,” says Dr Blashki.

Consider making yourself up a nice Christmas package, he suggests. That might include a nice bath soap, something fun to eat, and some great feel-good movies that you’re going to watch for the day. Making a great music playlist for the day can also help.

Avoid drowning your sorrows

Dr Blashki recommends resisting the urge to turn to alcohol for comfort.

“While it’s fun perhaps to have a little bit of alcohol, I’d say don’t overdo it,” he says.

“Generally if people are experiencing loneliness or even mental health issues, I find as a GP that there are a number of proactive positive things they can do which tend to make them feel better. And they include eating good food and getting some exercise,” he says.

“On the flipside, there are a bunch of really counter-productive things. And they include excessive drinking, gambling, violence, and ruminating on all the things they’re missing out on.”

How to stay safe on the road at Christmas


Are you hitting the road these holidays?

As one of the busiest and most dangerous periods for Australian drivers, it’s important to be aware and prepared for increased risks on the road.

Regardless of whether you’re a commercial driver, a shift worker or a family heading off on a holiday road trip, have a read of our top tips for staying safe on long journeys this Christmas and New Year.

Be realistic with your journey deadline

At this time of year, you’re going to be sharing the road with A LOT more vehicles than you might normally. And whether you like it or not, all this congestion will undoubtedly lead to longer journey times and often, frustration.

For instance, a trip that might usually take four hours could end up taking you six. As painful as it may be, planning for these delays will help avoid any stress and keep you driving safely throughout the whole trip.

Be extra alert

With people travelling long distances and at all hours of the day, holiday drivers are more likely to be driving tired, forcing them to lose concentration or become distracted.

With this in mind, the best way to stay safe on the roads during these busy times is to utilise defensive driving techniques. Some of these techniques include being aware of your surroundings, paying extra attention to what others are doing and keeping four seconds distance between you and other drivers.

It’s also a good idea to position your vehicle where you have the best view of others and where they have the best view of you. This helps to minimise the risk of a collision and allows you the best chance of getting out of the way should you need to.

Drive to the conditions

Just because the speed limit is 100 km/h doesn’t necessarily mean that going this speed is safe.

Particularly in holiday traffic, it’s important to read the road and weather conditions and adjust your driving behaviours accordingly. For instance, if you’re being forced to stop frequently, reduce your speed and increase the distance between you and the vehicle in front.

Similarly, those driving on country roads should use extra caution, particularly when overtaking other vehicles. Higher speed limits combined with the potential for wildlife, potholes and farming machinery on the roads add an extra element of risk – so make sure you’re aware and prepared to take action if needed.

Take breaks more often

While you might be in a hurry to get where you’re going, it’s actually more important than normal to take regular breaks from driving during the holiday season. Why? Because it’s impossible to remain alert to road conditions when you’re tired and you need to assume that other drivers aren’t operating at their peak.

To ensure you’re able to function safely, aim to take a break after every two hours of driving and make sure to allow time to get a decent sleep at a similar time every night.

Double-check loads are secure

Whether you’re working or travelling, the Christmas period tends to be a little stressful on the roads. Everyone’s hurrying to get where they’re going and it’s easy to rush over important safety checks – like securing your load.

To make sure your luggage or cargo doesn’t come flying off into oncoming traffic, pay extra attention when securing your load and check over it once you’re done. It’s also a good idea to check once more before you hit the road and get someone else to take a look, too, on the off chance that they pick up something you might have missed.

Stay safe!

If you take nothing else out of this article, just remember to take extra care and stay safe on the road. Don’t take any unnecessary risks with drink driving or mobile phones and keep in mind that arriving late is better than not arriving at all. Learn more about staying safe on the road with our driver fatigue monitoring system.

Introducing Alex Kane

I am really excited to have joined the team at MWP Care as the Client Experience Manager for Neighbour Aid. In my short time here I have been impressed with the wonderful spirit and history of MWP and how that helps shape our services to our valued clients.

Most of my professional career has been within the disability sector – much of that with Cerebral Palsy Alliance. I was blessed to develop valuable skills and experience which I am looking forward to utilising as my role here at MWP Care. More than anything I have learned that organisations like ours need to really understand their clients and other stakeholders. As such I will be reaching out to as many of our wonderful clients and volunteers as I can. If there’s anything you want to share with me please feel free to contact me – I’d love to hear from you.

One thing I do know is that Covid has been a significant challenge for all of us, particularly those clients who have missed the wonderful engagement opportunities afforded by our planned outings. As the risks of Covid appear to be easing we are now looking to re-commence some of these events (albeit with an increased focus on safety). We will also look at trialling different ways of connecting with people and you can expect to hear more on this as we progress.

Alex Kane
Client Experience Manager

Service award presentation

Every year we present our Service Awards for 5, 10, 15, 20 & 25 years dedicated service at our Christmas Party. As we cannot hold the party this year we have organized a luncheon event to present the awards.
I would like to congratulate the following volunteers on their awards!!

5 Year Service Award

Matt Adderton
Jen Bramble
Denny Brogan
David Hickey
Judy Longworth
Alan McCorquodale
Jacinta O’Connor
Paul Robbins
Ken Bain
Ann Kenner
Larissa Kulaweic
Betty Staniland

10 Year Service Award

Margaret Lovett
Martin Maynard
Cheryl Nunn
Sue Sneddon

15 Year Service Award

Barbi Finley- Golder
Barbara Wines
Carolyn Abercrombie

20 Year Service Award

Tina Seaton

25 Year Service Award

Sandra Burgess
Angela Loom

In Memoriam: Richard Hughes

Late of Narrabeen and formerly of Mosman. Aged 87.

Died peacefully on 19th November surrounded by his loving family.
Beloved husband of Kathy for 58 devoted years. Much loved father of Cherye, Bradley, Michael (deceased), David and Michelle. Loving grandfather of Sarah, Thomas, Sophie, Nicole and Lachlan. Adored great grandfather of Mia and Ruby.

Richard volunteered with MWP Care as a driver from 1992 – 2014.  He was a very popular volunteer with the clients and the office team.