[Sub ID 3890] Intensive weekly workshops for parents (Tiffiny Beamish)

Submission ID: 3890
Contact name: Ms Tiffiny Beamish
About me: Single Mother from Melbourne struggling with poverty and living on welfare. I would love to get off welfare but there are a number of obstacles.
State: VIC
Contact email: tiffiny.beamish@gmail.com

Which priority group of the Try, Test and Learn Fund does your idea support?
Young parents

What need or issue are you trying to address?
Whilst I am am older parent (I am 43) I can relate personally to the issues young parents have as I am struggling to get off welfare permanently too. It is not simply sending off your resume and getting a job. There are a number of obstacles that we need to overcome as parents, particularly single parents. Firstly, we are currently overwhelmed with parenting and household responsibilities with little time to ourselves. I have read a study which shows single parents are the most time poor people. Adding a 30-40 hour job on top of our already busy schedule will simply add more stress and exhaustion. Other obstacle, regarding generational welfare, is that my mother strongly encourages us to stay home with the children until they reach school age. I grew up as my mother being a homemaker and it is strongly discouraged and not within our family values to pay someone else to look after your children 5 days a week. Another obstacle is the lack of support that parents face and often have to manage everything on their own, e.g. preparing meals, paying bills, no partner or family to babysit. Another obstacle young parents face when they have been on welfare for a while is having their basic needs met. Daily struggles with transport, finding food, no clothes for interviews, access to a computer and internet prevent workforce participation. Mental health issues can play a role too

What is your idea?
These young parents need intensive, weekly workshops with other young parents lasting approx 6 months to a year. The first workshop will be an introduction with all young parents together, finding out about their needs, barriers and an opportunity to network and reduce social isolation. Then based on their needs, the young parents will continue smaller, individualised workshops based on 4 levels where they will have access to a wide range of resources.

Level 1 Workshops – “Basic Needs”. Being on welfare long-term means basic needs are often not met. Look into accessing internet, computer, food, clothing, transport. When these needs are met, the parents move to Level 2.

Level 2 Workshops – “Emotional Needs”. Being on welfare can take a toll on mental health and confidence. Being a single parent can be exhausting. Perhaps there is domestic violence. Resources such as retreats, respite, counselling and building confidence can be accessed.

Level 3 Workshops – “Dream, Think and Do”. A fun, range of workshops encouraging young parents to fulfil their lifelong ambitions. Motivational speakers, looking at job and study opportunities and setting small achievable goals. Each parent will be assigned a mentor. This mentor is someone, e.g. a successful single mother who has overcome adversity.

Level 4 Workshops – “Active Action”. Once the participants have gone through the previous 3 workshops, which could take anywhere from a few weeks to a few months, depending on the obstacles they have, the Level 4 involves active job hunting, applying for courses and networking. Leaders of the workshops and mentors will work one on one with participants to ensure motivation, they are applying for the right type of work (that is not the first job they see) and fits within their goals.