M A C S
Mentoring, Advocacy, Counselling and Support
MACS was created by our founder and CEO, Doreen Jones, who as a professional counsellor in private practice identified there were people needing counselling support but unable to fund sessions themselves, or were facing long wait times for free services.
As a trainer also, Doreen had trained many counsellors who, although proficient with their skills, were unable to secure employment in the field due to lack of experience or needing a higher qualification.
Following a call out for people willing to donate their services to provide a fee-free service, MACS was orginally designed to connect people wanting to engage in counselling with qualified practitioners.
This concept worked well and yet people experiencing homelessness needed different support, and thus the mentoring concept was born. Our mentors connect with people doing it tough, building rapport and trust so that when a person is ready to make changes, they will reach out to someone they trust, and feel safe with.
All MACS volunteers complete a 30 hour volunteer training to ensure everyone practices from a person-centred, strengths based approach.
The MACS concept provides our community with a win-win situation. Qualified counsellors gain valuable experience needed to secure paid employment, whilst providing timely and affordable counselling services to those otherwise limited by finances and long wait times.
We do have other services in our local area, however all have long wait lists, in addition to those psychologists who bulk bill. Many people are unable to afford to pay for counselling, or paying for counselling is often at the bottom of their list of priorities.
We describe ourselves as a FEE FREE SERVICE. This means that if you can make a donation, we gratefully accept it, however it is not compulsory.
Our counsellors hold a minimum of Diploma qualification, and are registered with the Australian Counselling Association. They are supported in their work through independent clinical supervision, group supervision, and ongoing professional development. Counsellors new to the service are mentored until they are competent to work independently.
Clients may self-refer, or are otherwise referred from the MACS mentor team, Night Carers, one of the many local agencies or businesses, or by word-of-mouth.
This daytime outreach service is provided free to people who are experiencing homelessness, or at risk of homelessness, in the form of mentoring. Mentors will meet with those clients of the Peel Community Kitchen, or wander the foreshore and local parks to identify people who may need a friendly chat. Our mentee clients frequently acknowledge the value in having someone to talk to as they often feel socially isolated.
A mentoring partnership commences by identifying changes the mentee wishes to make in their life. The mentor's role is to walk alongside the mentee, working with them to achieve their stated goals, role modelling a healthy lifestyle and the capacity to change.
Our mentors always work in pairs and wear a duress alarm to ensure their safety. They will distribute supplies that hopefully make life a little more comfortable.
Additionally we will provide help to complete forms, connect a phone service, accompaniment and transport to medical appointments, secure a place at a rehabilitation facility, and many other things.