Lady Cilento Vigil

Victory in Ipswich for improved mental Health services 
On 15 February, over 200 locals packed a incredibly hot Ipswich City Uniting Church to achieve a real victory for better mental health services for Ipswich. The Queensland Government, the West Moreton Health and Hospital Service, the Primary Health network and a number of key mental health agencies agreed to work together to establish a Collective Impact Project around mental health in West Moreton.

The State Government encouraged a consortium to apply for Innovation funding, and the Primary Health Network agreed to work with us to ensure upcoming federal funding conforms to a collective impact approach.  
This came about because of the work of local Ipswich Alliance leaders, and the powerful first hand stories we heard of of desperately needed services not being available. Stories by people like Julz, who shared her own struggles to get help, for herself and her daughter, and the death of a friend after 42 unsuccessful calls to seek help. 

We also had an received in-principal support from Ipswich Mayor Paul Pisasale for ReActivate Ipswich, a scheme to fill the 50+ vacant shopfronts in Ipswich CBD with new startups. We've produced a video that highlights the outcome of this section of the night hereWe will keep the pressure up on Council until we get this commitment locked in, with a meeting with the Mayor at 6pm on Tuesday 26 April that it will be important to attend.
Baby Asha saved from Nauru, and hope for a more Welcoming Australia
Late last year, Alliance leaders came together on a strategy retreat, and realised we shared a common goal of working to be a community that welcomed everyone to share in what's great about our community.  

When the news broke on 12 February that the medical staff at Lady Cilento hospital were not going to discharge baby "Asha" into a harmful environment, a number of Alliance partners were part of organising an adhoc 24 hour vigil that began outside the Hospital. 

Over the next 10 days, the relationships that are at the heart of our Alliance helped allow something remarkable to occur. A 500+ union rally was organised in 48 hours, and 200 people attended a multi-faith liturgy, and hundreds kept the vigil going for 10 days, ultimately resulting in Asha and her family being released into community detention. 

This was a fast moving and fluid action, especially on the Saturday night when it appears the family were facing imminent removal. It could have easily been hijacked or descended into unseemly division, but it wasn't.  This was in part thanks to involvement of 100+ Alliance faith, union and community leaders. 

The next step in continuing the #letthemstay campaign is joining in non-violent action training to support St John's Anglican Cathedral in its commitment to offering Sanctuary on this Wednesday night, from 7pm-10pm. 

This will be public act declaring we will not cooperate with the deportation of innocent families. If hundreds attend, it will demonstrate that the tide is turning towards compassion and justice. Please come and make your pledge to oppose deportation of those seeking sanctuary. 

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  • David Copeman
    published this page in Archives 2017-01-12 16:04:59 +1000