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Kate Talks // 8 August 2020

Updated: Sep 2, 2020

Week One:

Dear friends,

I’m here to provide you with a new weekly update on all things Melba. My name is Kate and as a person of disability I receive Melba services - I am blind and my six-year-old rides a wheelchair. I’m also an award-winning journalist. So my job here is to chat to Melba management every week and bring information right to you about what Melba is doing during the global pandemic.

Firstly, I know that this is a really difficult and frustrating time for a lot of people out there. We’re being denied access to our communities by a global pandemic. I myself have had a lot of problems in getting any form of support workers in to help my family out. So each week, I will bring new  ideas about the kinds of things that Melba clients can ask for. Please just remember that with some of the ideas you do have to check for any additional restrictions in your area at the time, because the lockdown situations do change quite rapidly.

This week’s suggestion is fresh air. With the State of Disaster now declared, there isn’t a lot else to do. But with your masks on, you and a support worker can go for walks close to home for exercise. Just stay 1.5m apart where possible. Sometimes it’s not possible though and that can be worked around – you can have support workers come into your home to provide assistance to get ready to go for a walk, they can guide when required as in the case of a client with a vision impairment - they are able to provide you with close support  when required. Going for a walk, or getting some ‘fresh air’ as Premier Daniel Andrews talked about it, is a great idea because exercise, or fresh air, is one of the only reasons for which people are allowed out of their homes in locked-down areas.

Essential shopping is also allowed. A lot of people have supermarket deliveries – which support workers can also help organise if required – but, as with going for a walk, it can be a bit of a help to your mental health to go out and pick up some essential supplies. If you’re in metropolitan Melbourne, just make sure you’re home before the 8pm curfew.

Remember that if you want support in these ways, you just have to ask for it.

As always, reach out to your support co-ordinator, if you have one, for ideas and to help you to organise things. If not? Be your own best advocate. Your area manager is always available to chat if you’ve contacted your local office and you’re not getting the response you’re after. If you’re not getting what you need, make a noise – Melba really does encourage complaints as much as compliments. It’s how I ended up writing the client updates.

Also, please please please don’t be afraid to escalate your questions if you are not happy with the answer. If something is important to you then I promise you, Melba wants to hear about it. Don’t hesitate to fire off an email to the manager of your area below, I can tell you that Rachael has always replied to my emails and your GMO will do the same for you:

GMO Central Highlands & Wimmera, Rachael Jones (

GMO East, Aaron Fry (

GMO Gippsland, Kerrie White (

GMO South, Angela Quero (

And now, to the exciting news. Hayley Dean will be taking over from Glenn Foard as CEO. You can relax, because it won’t mean anything to clients day-to-day, because Hayley has been Glenn’s right-hand-woman for a while now, as Chief Outcomes Officer and stepping into his role whenever he is off sick. The most exciting part of this announcement is that Melba will have a female CEO. It makes me happy. It’s progressive, because out of the top 200 companies listed on the Australian Stock Exchange, just 12 of them have a female as CEO. It’s quite literally girl power. It's set to be a smooth transition that will not impact on clients in any way, so it's not really anything to properly update clients about… but even so, I’m proud.

The next update will be on Tuesday 11 August. In the meantime, you can visit, like us on Facebook and follow Melba on Twitter and Instagram using @melba_support

Thanks, stay safe and try to have fun,

Kate Taylor


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