Making a Difference

By: Michael Lynch - Creative Communications, Tobin Brothers Funerals
Tuesday, August 19, 2014

“We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give.”
(Winston Churchill)

During the past two years through our work at Tobin Brothers – Creative Communication, my colleague, Matt Weedon and I have met many people whose lives have been immeasurably enriched by individuals and not-for-profit organisations, dedicated to making the world a better place for their fellow men and women.

In many cases, these are people who want so little but give so much; take for example Father Christian Fini of Rosie’s Oblate Mission. On Flinders Street each Wednesday and Friday nights, he and a team of 18-30 year old volunteers dispense from a van, free hot drinks to economically disadvantaged people. These are Rosie’s Friends on the Street, many of whom are there simply to enjoy the company and fellowship of others. Upon receiving a small grant from the Tobin Brothers Foundation earlier this year towards the cost of a new ‘coffee bus’, Father Fini was over the moon. “I’ve never been so excited about getting something new in my life,” he said. “Our existing vehicle was donated to us but it’s very old and costing a lot to keep on the road”

That same level of gratitude can be found amongst the many people from a mix of cultures who sit down to a community lunch at The Wellington Centre in Collingwood every fortnight – meals cooked and provided free of charge by St Vincent’s Hospital and often served by its Director of Nursing.

During the filming of a documentary we made there, Matt and I learned so much about the Wellington Centre volunteers, described by CEO Bobbi Cheetham, as “loving, giving, and very warm people” Each week, these chiropractic and acupuncture professionals provide their time and treatment programs free of charge to people who in some cases must take three forms of transport to get to the Centre but who would otherwise be unable to afford such services. Others have joined the knitting group who not only benefit from the contact with other people, but take great pride in the fact that proceeds from the sale of the garments they knit go to charity.

The Wellington Centre was the creation of Father Ernie Smith OAM who years ago, founded St Kilda’s Sacred Heart Mission. Fr Ernie says it was the result of his growing awareness of the loneliness and isolation of those living in Melbourne’s high rise Housing Commission flats with nowhere to go, no one to talk to or to have a meal with, that the Wellington Centre was born

The Centre’s chairman is former Australian Governor-General and one-time Anglican Archbishop of Brisbane, The Rt Rev. The Hon Dr Peter Hollingworth AO who believes The Wellington Centre provides a listening ear to a diverse range of people in a non-judgemental environment. “After ten years, we’re making slow, steady progress” he told us “and we’re doing some really worthwhile things”

Peter Hollingworth AO has also been a staunch supporter of Bryan Lipman, CEO and founder in 1989 of the Wintringham organisation. Wintringham currently provides 236 aged care residential facility beds over five sites in Melbourne and delivers a wide range of community based aged care services to homeless or at risk men and women.

Because some of these aged and homeless people have no regular contact or support from family and friends Wintringham provides guardianship support or administrative and financial support. Amongst these residents there is high prevalence of issues relating to gambling, alcohol addiction and abuse, and higher rates of illness, drug dependency and injury than the general population.

In recent years, as a civil celebrant I have frequently led Memorial Services at the Wintringham residential care sites at Dandenong, Williamstown, Avondale Heights, Port Melbourne and Flemington and I have never ceased to be amazed by the depth of concern and commitment of staff and carers for the residents at these campuses. In so many cases, these dedicated men and women have become the ‘family’ the residents never had, or from whom, for one reason or another, they have become estranged.

A significant number of these folk are in the autumn of their lives, but there are hundreds of infants and children who are only on the threshold of theirs but who are spending long periods in hospital recuperating from surgery or in some cases undergoing treatment for life threatening illness.

It’s around hospital wards across Australia that the Humour Foundation’s Clown Doctors can be found, parodying the hospital system to bring laughter into what for young children can be a fairly unfriendly and even frightening environment. Nursing staff, doctors, cleaners and parents all play along to the antics of the Clown Doctors which on any given day have hospital corridors ringing to the sound of children’s laughter.

While the Clown Doctors, Rosies Oblate Mission, the wonderful volunteers at the Wellington Centre and dedicated staff at Wintringham each plays a different and important role, common to them all are their people – the wonderful men and women who have committed themselves to making a real difference.

 

Written by Michael Lynch - Creative Communications, Tobin Brothers Funerals

 

Leave a comment
Name*:
Email:
Comment*:
Please enter the letters you see in the image.

Comments

Please wait

Previous Posts

It’s your funeral, an investigation of death care in the Funeral Industry in Australia Comment

  As Managing Director of Tobin Brothers I’d like to make the following comments on a recently released paper “It’s your funeral, an investigation of death care in the Funeral Industry...

From Daily Mass To The City Of Churches

The name Basil Gary Amott is as synonymous with dignity, service and care as Tobin Brothers Funerals is with excellence in funeral service. During his 42 year career, Gary served the needs of more...

How Would You Like To Be Celebrated?

In recent months Tobin Brothers Funerals, with the assistance of Creative Director Robin Geradts-Gill from RGG Creative, produced four new TV ads that posed the question ‘How would you like to be c...

A Fundraiser to Remember…

The 2015 Tobin Brothers Foundation Dinner certainly did put the FUN in fundraiser. Billed as ‘The Greatest Night on Earth’, Friday 7th August saw the Tobin Brothers Foundation celebrate a carnival ...

Unlimited Tenure

The era in which fathers told their sons to go out and get a good secure job for life is well and truly over. Today, the average Australian worker rarely stays with one employer for more than three...

It’s Not Easy Being Green…Or Perhaps It Is

With the environment moving to the front of society’s conscience, many people are now planning their funerals with future generations in mind and looking for more environmentally friendly options. ...

Embalmers’ Conference

Senior Tobin Brothers Funerals Embalmer Jennifer Burge recently attended the annual AIE (Australian Institute of Embalming) Conference, in Adelaide. Jennifer tells us that in attendance were embal...

A Night At The Museum

Just as Ben Stiller described his experience in the 2006 film Night at the Museum as "freakin’ awesome", so too was the official opening of the Tobin Brothers Funerals Museum on Thursday 9th Octobe...

The Tobin Brothers Funerals Team

We receive consistent feedback from our clients that our staff are professional, caring and empathetic. We’re often asked where we find these wonderful people and told to “hang onto” them. “Wonder...

Notes on my Nan

We all knew the time was nearing. One Saturday morning I was summonsed to visit my grandmother whom I called Nan. I had had a similar call on numerous occasions over the past three years but when I...