Category Archives: General

Disability Action Week Thursday Island

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Disability Action Week

Monday 11th of September, ‘Breaking Down Barriers’.

The challenge is to participate in a Accessibility Walk through town.  We were required to use a wheelchair, wear glasses to stimulate vision impairment or ear plugs.  It started at 9.30am at the council office in town and ended in the park.  We had to attempt to access common areas, local businesses, community agencies and Deptments.  This ended in the park in a celebration of diversity with entertainment, speeches and a sausage sizzle.

10th National Conference of Greek Welfare Centres in Cairns

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St John’s Community Care recently hosted the 10th National Conference of Greek Welfare Centres in Cairns. The conference commenced on October 8th with a Divine Liturgy conducted by His Grace Bishop Seraphim, representing His Eminence Archbishop Stylianos. The service was followed by a luncheon provided by the local Philoptochos ladies and volunteers.

The conference theme was ‘The Environment of Opportunity’ and aimed to look at the current changes in the welfare sector and determine the opportunities they present, rather than focusing on the challenges they cause.

Conference deliberations started on Monday morning, where Bishop Seraphim conducted an Agiasmos service. Delegates from across the country were then welcomed to the region by Cairns Regional Council Deputy Mayor, Cr. Terry James.

Representatives from Welfare and Aged Care centres were in attendance, with organisations from South Australia, Tasmania, Victoria, Western Australia, New South Wales and Queensland all providing reports on their programs and innovative projects during the two days of the conference.

St John’s then premiered their new promotional video, recently commissioned, which showcases the services they provide across Queensland, featuring clients and Care Workers telling their stories and experiences.

Peak aged care body LASA provided speakers, Troy Spiers and Sharyn McIlwain, principle advisors within LASA, who discussed the recently released Tune review and the implications it may have on servicing in the sector. Diversicare Advisory Service discussed supporting elderly clients from CALD backgrounds and a St John’s Community Care client living in Supported Accommodation described what care is like from a client perspective. Olive Tau-Davis, a well-known local community advocate spoke about migration and the experience that people from many cultures have when they come to Australia, and the opportu

nities and challenges they face.

The conference program featured speakers from a number of government agencies who discussed topics including the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS), Aged Care reform and compliance from both a financial and program perspective. The Australian Aged Care Quality Agency was represented by the Qld Assistant Director, Susan Turner, who co-presented with Carina Wilson, Director of Qld Aged Care Regulation. Arna Brosnan, Regional Executive Director of the Queensland Department of Communities, Child Safety and Disability Services and Des Lee, Northern Queensland Regional Manager of NDIA both discussed the NDIS and the opportunities it presented to both clients and services.

Conference sponsors BDO and NAB provided those assembled with advice and regarding their ability to assist organisations navigate regulatory compliance and make the most of opportunities.  Tom Hogbin, Senior Manager from BDO presented a case study, outlining efficiencies and benefits from restructuring and redefining financial systems; whilst Anna Lazanyi, an Associate Director with NAB outlined the benefits of banking with NAB who are able to tailor banking to the needs of those under the auspice of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese.

During the conference delegates were treated to performances by the internationally renowned Tjapukai Aboriginal da

ncers and the ARC Beats drumming troupe featuring drummers and dancers from a local disability service provider.

Day two offered delegates the chance to showcase their own seized opportunities. GWC Community Services NSW presented a

moving project which told the stories of elderly Greek clients who had migrated to Australia; St John’s presented their Mobile Time and Attendance – a phone based app used to keep client records up to date and to maintain Care Worker safety; and Greek Welfare South Australia described their project which supports clients to understand their rights when dealing with government agencies.

The final session of the conference focused on the environment of opportunity and how organisations and activities under the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of Australia could work more collaboratively for common outcomes. The workshops developed a number of ideas which will be further discussed in meetings to take place in the coming months.

The conference was a great chance for networking and has seen a number of small and large opportunities for sharing and collaboration discussed. The 11th conference will be held in 2019, and all are looking forward to seeing how opportunities have been taken forward and used to better the lives of our clients and those in our communities.

Cairns Regional Council – Citizen of the Year

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Cairns Regional Council – Citizen of the Year

It is with great pride and honor that our Chairperson accepted the award (Citizen of the Year) on behalf of all of our valued and dedicated staff, clients, volunteers, board members and supporters.

Congratulations to each and everyone of you for the continued contribution to the wonderful organisation that is St Johns community Care.

Message from Cairns Regional Council e-news – Volume 33, 25 January 2018

The driving force behind St John’s Community Care since its establishment more than 20 years ago, Theo Bacalakis has led the growth of the organisation. Having started as a daycare centre in 1996, St John’s Community Care now also offers aged care, respite, disability support, multicultural support, housing assistance and transport services. The organisation’s reach has expanded into the Torres Strait, Townsville and Brisbane, employing more than 370 staff. But at the heart of this now large not-for-profit organisation is Theo’s original objective to simply help those in our community who are in need of assistance. Theo has readily given his time and energy to ensuring the ongoing success of the service.

Annual Report Night 2017

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St John’s Community Care Annual Report Night 2017



St John’s Community Care held its annual reporting night on Wednesday 8th November 2017 in the Parish Hall at Redlynch.

A huge thanks to all those who attended. Staff, clients, managers, directors, board members and friends of St John’s Community Care.

2017 was a busy year for St John’s Community Care with many great outcomes for our clients.


The chairperson acknowledged the commitment and dedication of all our staff and volunteers and thanked our clients and funding bodies for their trust in the delivery of services.


The Board of St John’s Community Care takes great pleasure in honouring the following staff members for having completed 15 years or more of continuous employment.

Maria Starr

The Board of St John’s Community Care takes great pleasure in honouring the following staff members for having completed 10 years or more of continuous employment.

Teresa Brcko

Jemaly Decle

Sheryl Agli

Marlene Matthews

Congratulations on achieving this milestone and for helping make St John’s Community Care the highly regarded organisation that it is. The Board of St John’s Community Care takes great pleasure in honouring all of our volunteers for their service.




“High Tea” Art Show

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Mareeba Art Show

On Wednesday 25/10/2017, Mareeba Long Day Respite and Young Centre Base Care Clients celebrated with The Annual “High Tea” Art Show, showcasing the art that they have been creating over the past year.

There were many themes, including Rodeo, Flower and animal paintings, String art, decorated masks and frames, bottle top art and button art.

All clients were given the opportunity to have their art on display for all to see.

Father Menelaos from St John’s in Redlynch attended on behalf of The Board and St John’s Community Care to have an opportunity to see the wonderful works of art and enjoy the atmosphere.

The centre had been decorated with a high tea theme and all staff had contributed cooking for the occasion. There were plenty of lovely cakes, slices and sandwiches for everyone.

Families, health professionals, Carol and Marilyn from ACAT and care workers from other organisations attended and enjoyed an afternoon celebrating the clients’ artistic talents.

A Makeover for Respite!

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A Makeover for Respite!

The Respite space at our Redlynch Centre has had a make-over and it looks fantastic!

Working with a local interior designer, Paulene Benko, the space has been redesigned to make the most of our activities, with both large social and smaller cosy areas for clients to enjoy.

St John’s respite aims to give clients a feeling of a home away from home, and with the new comfy chairs, bright colours and interesting activities on offer, the centre will be even more popular than it was before.

If you would like to find out about respite and centre-based care options for someone in your family, please give us a call on 4039 9700.

Senior Citizens Celebrate!

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Senior Citizens Celebrate!

Senior citizens celebrated Senior’s Week in style at St John’s Community Care with a delicious lunch, guest speakers, entertainment and wonderful prizes donated by generous local sponsors.
The lunch had been organised by St John’s and was attended by over 100 senior citizens who had travelled from Dimbulah, Mareeba, Innisfail, Gordonvale and Cairns to join in the festivities. Rod Peckam and Student Tia Hart from Redlynch College did an acknowledgement to country.

State MP Rob Pyne took time out from his busy schedule to address the group and he encouraged them to not to be afraid to investigate options they have to use to make their life easier. He demonstrated some of the new features of his wheel chair and commented on how it had improved the quality of his life.

State Member for Barron River, Craig Crawford also addressed the group stressing the importance of senior citizens to our society. Nina from Aged Care Assessment team spoke as did various service providers that had information stalls at the event. Seniors could have a free hearing check, talk about dental care with Cairn’s dental boutique and explore the information provided by Complete Mobility, Ozcare, Commonwealth Respite, Carer Qld, Diversicare and relevant information for seniors from the Cairns City Council.
Entertainment was provided by Bec Dollinger who sang during lunch as well as the stirring sing a long conducted by Vic Shaw and Greg Bridgeman. Participants were also entertained by the local children from the Redlynch Day Care who enthusiastically sang a song about school life. The entertainment finished with a lively demonstration of rock and roll dancing from the Cairn’s Rock and Rollers.
Lucky door prizes and raffles were drawn throughout the lunch as people eagerly scanned their tickets. St John’s was delighted with the generous response of our sponsors. These included local business’s The Red Beret, Piccones Super IGA and Discount Drug Stores at Pease St, Cairns Golf Centre, Paronella Park, Tjapukai, Mamu Tropical skywalk, Cazaly’s, Brother’s, Cairns Coconut Holiday Resort Cota and the Cairn’s Regional Council. Prizes were also donated by individuals.