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Wahroonga craft bunnings mundaring rise

Bunnings helps Wahroonga get crafty

Guests at Wahroonga enjoyed decorating some beautiful pots last week, thanks to help from Bunnings.

Wahroonga is a social centre located in Mundaring. Guests enjoy activities including excursions, craft and more.

Community service

Hardware store Bunnings provide helpers to run craft activities with community groups.

Program Coordinator Jackie Quinn said the ladies came armed with pots, decorations and other materials. The activity was held on Tuesday 14 March.

We decorated a terracotta pot with gem stones and then planted some seedlings in the pot. You can see the concentration and enjoyment on the faces of the guests.

Jackie said the guests really enjoyed the activity, with men getting involved too.

One of the gentlemen was adamant at the beginning of the craft session that he would only sit and watch, but he joined in and had a wonderful time.

Wahroonga craft bunnings mundaring rise

Social centres

Wahroonga is one of three social centres operated by Rise. The centres in Koongamia and Mundaring adapt programs to suit guests. There is transport available to the centres. A healthy morning tea, lunch and dessert are served to guests. For more information click here.

Milperra widget the beagle Rise

Widget returns to Milperra after adventure

Widget the stuffed toy beagle has finally returned home after a lengthy adventure. Rise is trying to find his adopted family to thank them for his care and return.

Milperra Cottage in Mount Helena is an aged care respite facility. While there are chickens outside to feed and collect eggs, stuffed animals provide company inside.

Aged care coordinator Karen Wittcomb said the dog set off on his adventure in August 2016.

Widget was dropped on the verge outside Milperra Cottage. When staff went back to pick him up he’d gone. He was such a great dog, greeting everyone as they entered the cottage. In fact he was missed so much we decided to put out missing posters in the community for him.

Widget returns

Last week Widget made his way home after the loving carers saw the poster about Widget on the fence at Milperra. Karen said Rise staff and guests had never given up hope of his return.

A couple had seen Widget on the roadside and thought he was for verge collection so they had given him a home. He did have fun in his new home and became much loved by the new family. However, last week, on seeing the poster they very kindly brought him back to us. We are thrilled to have him back! He is now sitting in his favourite spot on the couch, ready to greet guests once more into respite.

Karen said in the excitement of seeing Widget once again, a support worker forgot to get the details of the family who returned Widget. Rise is searching to the family to formally thank them and show how much the dog’s return means to guest and staff.

If you have any information please contact Karen on Karen.Wittcomb@risenetwork.com.au

Aged Care Services

Rise Community Network provides numerous aged care services. This includes social centres, personal care and in-home support. For more information click here.

Justine colyer Rise CEO mergers

Rise shares experiences on mergers


Rise CEO Justine Colyer has shared her experience of mergers with the non-profit sector.

Justine was invited to be a guest speaker at a recent forum: The Future of Board Leadership Unconvention. Organised by Southcare, the event was held on Tuesday 14 March in the Perth CBD. Rise has been a long-term supporter of Southcare’s program to encourage younger people onto boards.

A number of mergers have occurred during Justine’s time as CEO at Rise. More mergers are planned to meet the organisation’s strategic goals.

In February 2016, Rise amalgamated with a disability organisation, We Can and in July of the same year it merged with Creative And Therapy Activities, now called Creative Arts by Rise. Work is also underway to merge with Home Help Local, a larger well-respected aged care provider based in Armadale.

Insight on mergers

Sharing her insight at the event, Justine was upfront about what worked, what hadn’t and what Rise was still learning. She acknowledged there was a lot of work and costs involved in getting things right and however much you plan, things will still not always go to plan.

Fellow CEO, Chris How, from Bethanie said it wasn’t whether you dropped the ball, but how well you managed to pick it up and keep going. Justine felt the best thing was to be willing to share lessons learned. Participants at the forum thanked her for her honesty and practical tips based on her experience.

The future of Rise

Rise has a Strategic Plan 2016-2020 which outlines four key areas. These are

  • Services
  • People
  • Foundations
  • Growth

To read more click here.

Codeswitch Aboriginal cultural awareness training

Rise undertakes Aboriginal cultural awareness training

Rise is currently undertaking Aboriginal Cultural Awareness training to increase cultural understanding across the organisation.

Cultural awareness

Ingrid Cumming from Codeswitch is working with Rise to deliver a number of workshops. The sessions are designed to help employees learn:

  • about Aboriginal culture
  • communication skills when working with Aboriginal Elders, families and their community
  • the importance of cultural protocols when working with Aboriginal communities
  • explore the perceptions, history, beliefs and identity related to Noongar culture and identity.

Diverse workplace

The organisation has a very diverse workplace. Of this Rise CEO Justine Colyer said

The range of experiences and views contribute to a well rounded and informed organisation. That’s why increasing our understanding of different cultures and perspectives is high on our list at Rise and we roll out regular training.

Rise is planning to employ an Indigenous Employment Specialist in the near future. This will assist with meeting the needs of indigenous clients.

Rise services

Rise provides a number of services for aged care, people with disability, youth, mental health and housing. For more information click here.

Milperra fire emergencies

Milperra prepared for emergencies

As the warm weather continues in autumn, staff at Milperra Cottage remain alert for emergencies.

Milperra Cottage is an aged care respite facility in Mount Helena. Located in the Perth Hills, it is in a bush fire-prone area.

Prepared for emergencies

Bush fires are common in the Perth Hills. In January 2014, the Parkerville-Stoneville-Mt Helena Bushfire impacted thousands of local residents. Guest and staff at Milperra Cottage also had to evacuate. Thanks to being prepared, the evacuation all went smoothly.

Rise Community Network Aged Care Coordinator Karen Wittcomb said

Many of the staff live locally and are aware of the dangers during summer.

Emergency backpack

Milperra Cottage has a backpack ready for emergency situations. This contains essential items such as

  • Emergency evacuation procedure manual
  • Charged mobile phone
  • Digital radio – charged and set to 720ABC for fire updates
  • Torch

Every year, Milperra Cottage carries out two mandatory fire drills. Staff know the importance of these drills and carry out extra drills.

Aged Care Coordinator Karen Wittcomb said

We often practise during staff meetings. Staff role play with one staff member leading the evacuation and others taking the part of clients at the cottage. Sometimes we just talk through what we would do. Everyone feels confident about what to do in an emergency.

This is a great example of how staff go above and beyond to ensure everyone will be as safe as possible in a bush fire.

Aged Care Services

Rise Community Network provides numerous aged care services. This includes social centres, personal care and in-home support. For more information click here.

Greg Carstens Creative Arts by Rise

Greg Carstens proud of his footy artwork

Rise Community Network guest Greg Carstens has created some colourful artwork.

Greg attends Creative Arts by Rise several times a week.

He takes part in lots of activities including painting and stitching.

A stitch in time

Greg recently tried his hand at stitching in the craft room. He has created two artworks in his favourite football colours. Both the Fremantle Dockers and West Coast Eagles are his favourite teams.

The stitchings were framed for him to give to a friend as a gift.

Activity officer Lesley Lee said of Greg

He listened intently and worked very diligently. He only sought assistance when he needed such as for threading the needle. He is really happy with his work.

Next time we are going to challenge him to stitch a smaller pattern.

Creative Arts by Rise

Creative Arts by Rise is located in Warwick. Numerous activities are held here. These include

  • Painting
  • Woodwork
  • Knitting
  • Cross stitch
  • Excursions

Creative Arts by Rise was formally Creative And Therapy Activities (CATA). CATA merged with Rise Community Network in 2016. You can read more about the merger here.

Celebrating people Book launch at Rise Community Network

First Celebrating People Book launches

Rise Community Network has launched their beautiful Celebrating People Book 2015-16. The beautiful bound book contains stories and photos of staff, volunteers and clients.

Celebrating People

The organisation’s current vision is Celebrate People. The inaugural Celebrating People Book is a way to bring this vision to life. The book took many months to prepare. There are plans to release a new book every year to share more great stories.

Book Launch

The Celebrating People Book was launched with a small event on Thursday 23rd February. People featured in the book, along with Rise Community Network staff and board members attended.

The book was revealed for the first time, to the delight of those featured.

Rise Community Network CEO Justine Colyer thanked those who appeared in Celebrating People Book 2015-16.

We’re delighted to launch the book which represents Rise’s vision – Celebrate People. We hope this is just the start and there are many more stories in years to come.

Guests enjoyed lunch, before a special cake featuring the front photo on the book was cut.

Celebrating people book launch Rise Community Network


Rise Community Network

Rise Community Network provides services for aged care, people with disability, mental health and youth in the eastern region. Read more here.

Hyperfest 2017 Rise Youth Team

HyperFest stall a hit with youth

Rise Community Network had a stall at HyperFest on Saturday 18 February. The stall proved a hit with teenagers from across Perth.


Hyperfest is a concert run by volunteers. Each year it attracts thousands of teenagers. The line up of artists in 2017 included All Day, Hands Like Houses, Asta, Hockey Dad and Nicole Millar. The concert was held on Midland Oval.

Youth stall

Rise Youth Team and volunteers took it in shifts to man the stall. The stall had a photo booth, giveaways and information. The team dressed as doctors and nurses. Rise Community Network CEO Justine Colyer joined in the fun. They promoted the ‘Dr Love’ concept which is focused on healthy relationships.

Hyperfest 2017 Rise Youth Team

There were two large canvases asking youths to describe both healthy and unhealthy relationships. Rise Youth Program Manager Dawn McAleenan said it was fantastic to see the youths so involved.

The event was brilliant, our stall was jammed with hundreds of young people, having their photos taken, writing on the boards and seeing the doctor for information about relationships – it was a huge success!

Family and Domestic Violence is a real issue amongst our young people, with many of them suffering in silence with no idea where to go or who to talk to. Our friendly stall enabled us to reach out to these young people in a fun way but also to pass on vital information enabling young people to identify abuse and know what help is out there.

Rise Youth

Rise Community Network provides a number of services for youth. This includes a youth centre, safe house, transitional centre and helping teenagers to get their driver’s licence. Read more here.

Rise Community Network client John Pearce Milperra

John Pearce beats the odds to walk again

Rise Community Network client John Pearce is a man who doesn’t give up. And he certainly doesn’t take no for an answer.

Following six months of small turns and tests, John (70) suffered a stroke in June 2014. He was initially told by doctors that he would be bedridden for life.

Following rehabilitation and support from Rise Community Network, John has a sunny outlook on life. He is determined to keep pushing the boundaries. 

Initial prognosis

John spent several months in Shenton Park Rehabilitation Centre before being moved to Fiona Stanley Hospital. He took part in lots of physiotherapy and was determined to meet his goals.

They drained the blood out of my brain. I was on thirty tablets a day and a drip too. My whole left side was affected – my leg, arm, vision and neck. I had to do vision tests and learn to read properly. My voice has come back now. Before this I’d never had an illness in my life.

John said he had a clear goal from the onset.

Therapists always asked what I wanted to achieve and I said it was to get out of my chair and walk. They kept telling me my chances were slim. I said don’t tell me I can’t walk.

Set backs

Several modifications were made at John’s family home in Stratton. Railing was installed throughout the home and the bathroom was renovated. This allows John more independence.

Despite John powering through his daily exercises, he suffered some setbacks. He had a nasty fall while walking. This left him with a fractured bone in his left shoulder. Another time he got an infection which also delayed his recovery.


As well as individual therapy, John also attended group therapy sessions, which he found beneficial. Now, he still has more goals to achieve.

I’m down to three tablets a day. I can get my hand straight and it doesn’t hurt. I’m up to 100m of walking with the aid of a stick. I’m standing much straighter, I used to stoop and my son called me a turtle.

I can just about touch my toes. I’m determined to get my shoes on so I can walk by myself. My favourite saying is ‘if you don’t use it you lose it’.

Help from Rise Community Network

John began attending Centenary House around 18 months ago. The social centre in Koongamia provides activities and socialisation. He attends each Friday and enjoys the social activities. The staff have also seen a vast improvement in his walking. In December 2015 he was unable to walk to collect a present from Santa. In 2016, he did the same walk unaided.

From there he started coming to Milperra. This is a respite home run by Rise Community Network in Mount Helena. He attends every few months and made many friends with other guests.

I love it here, it is like a holiday home. All the staff are very friendly and there is a only small number of guests. I’ve made friends with Rosemary and Ron. It also gives my wife a break.

Rise Community Network Aged Care Coordinator Karen Wittcomb said John was an inspiration to many.

John is so positive and determined. He’s come a long way since we first met him and all the staff at Milperra are proud of what he has accomplished.

Aged Care Services

Rise Community Network runs a number of programs to assist with aged care. This includes social centres, respite and home care. For more information click here.

Justin O'Meara Smith

Rise Community Network farewell’s Justin O’Meara Smith

Last week Rise Community Network bid farewell to Justin O’Meara Smith. Justin was Divisional Manager for People with Disability. Justin will be moving on to become CEO of Interchange WA.

Goodbye Justin

Staff had the chance to say goodbye to Justin during a morning tea. Justin said his time at Rise Community network has been amazing.

I am so blessed to have had the chance to work at Rise and receive so much support.

This has helped me to grow both in my professional career and in my understanding of how we as a support organisation help people to achieve their goals and live a great life.

Great support comes from vision, values and AMAZING staff…and truly you are all amazing.

Justin O'Meara Smith

Next chapter

Justin told staff he was excited about the next chapter of his career.

I am so excited about the next chapter in my career knowing a goal has been reached – being a CEO of a values and service based organisation.  Interchange WA is a great organisation and I am very proud to be joining their team.

People with Disability division

CEO Justine Colyer said Justin would be missed:

Justin is greater than the sum of his parts; he was so much more than just the Divisional Manager for People with Disability – he was just about the best kind of colleague to have.

People with Disability Manager Supported Accomodation Karan Cinquina said Justin was a big personality.

You always knew at the end of a meeting if he said ‘just one more thing’ that you were bound to be there for another hour!

Divisional Manager Aged Care Helen Dymond will be overseeing the People with Disability division in the immediate future.