Tweddle 100th AGM Reflects on Year of Resilience

Tweddle 100th AGM Reflects on Year of Resilience


The 100th Annual General Meeting of Tweddle Child and Family Health Service was held yesterday in Tweddle’s Footscray Conference Centre on the traditional lands of the Wurundjeri People of the Kulin Nation.

In a break from a century of tradition, the AGM was live-streamed. Tweddle Chair Ms Doris Whitmore, CEO Ms Jacquie O’Brien, Treasurer Jennifer Lang, Board members and staff gathered with online guests to reflect upon the 2019/20 year.

Nearly a year on from the day the Victorian Premier declared a state of emergency, CEO Jacquie O’Brien reminded guests of the incredible year that saw significant resilience, achievements and Pandemic interruptions.

At a time where staff continued to demonstrate the Tweddle values of Collaboration, Accountability, Respect and Engagement, management introduced a Tweddle Values Award in recognition of staff living these values and behaviours.  Early Parenting Professional Charlotte Bowen was announced as the recipient of this inaugural award.

Ms Whitmore acknowledged Minister Mikakos, Minster Donnellen, Minister Foley, local member for Footscray Ms Katie Hall MP and the (then) Department of Health & Human Services staff for ongoing funding and support. She also extended Tweddle’s gratitude to grant makers, donors and retired volunteer concierge Carol MacDonald. The documenting of Tweddle’s history with thanks to 1939 Tweddle baby Jim Hevey was acknowledged with gratitude.

More than ever, the year had been about relationships, resilience and facing challenges head on. Ms Whitmore reminded us that we see that courage every day at Tweddle, in our families and in our staff.

She shared a Brene Brown insight. “Vulnerability is not winning or losing; it’s having the courage to show up and be seen when we have no control over the outcome. Vulnerability is not weakness; it’s our greatest measure of courage.”

The 2019/2020 year brought a global pandemic to our families, staff and services. After a century of supporting families in challenging times, including the Great Depression and wartime, our trusted clinicians used telehealth to ensure families were emboldened to face parenting in a pandemic.

This took courage and we all continue to demonstrate this in our commitment to building relationships, supporting babies, toddlers, their families, communities and our staff every day.

Over four hours of filmed Childbirth Education has been seen over 500 times. Tweddle developed an online Parenting Hub offering dozens of resources for parents unable to leave home. The hub experienced thousands of visits and continues to provide a source of valuable parenting information.

Tweddle’s plans for growth progressed as part of the Andrews Labor Government’s $123 million early parenting centres expansion and upgrade project. With Tweddle’s new buildings and refurbishment, we were thrilled to be announced as the lead provider in a new EPC in Wyndham and work in partnership with new EPCs in Bendigo and Geelong.

Guest speaker and Tweddle Director of Clinical Services and Nursing Ms Kirsty Evans presented the State-wide Sleep and Settling Training project. Tweddle was honoured to lead the project in partnership with the Centre for Excellence in Child & Family Welfare. The MCH Workforce training is due to commence this week.

Tweddle highlights included a paper presented in October 2019 at the Australasian Marcé Society for Perinatal Mental Health. The title was ‘An Infant Led Approach to Innovative Practice’ and it described the positive outcomes of Tweddle’s Home Parenting Education Program.

Tweddle partnered with Associate Professor Rebecca Giallo from the Murdoch Children’s Research Institute and research team who were awarded a Commonwealth Government National Health and Medical Research Council grant.  This will deliver collaborative research into suicide prevention among new dads and a rigorous evaluation of Tweddle’s Working Out Dads program.

Tweddle participated in the state-wide Strengthening Hospital Responses to Family Violence Project and a research study with the Royal Melbourne Hospital. The on-site dads program ‘Working Out Parenting’ with thanks to the Collier Charitable Fund.

Tweddle was honoured to join the reconciliation movement with the launch of our Reflect – Reconciliation Action Plan or RAP which was endorsed by Reconciliation Australia as part of Reconciliation Week. Launching Tweddle’s RAP is an important marker in Tweddle’s commitment and to the process of reconciliation.

Sadly, in June 2020, Tweddle lost a very valued staff member, Barb Conroy, facilities coordinator, mentor and supporter to many.  Barb’s unexpected passing, has left a hole in our hearts and she is remembered frequently in our day to day work. Vale Barb Conroy.

2020 was to be the year to commemorate Tweddle’s Centenary. Plans included a Life Governors’ dinner, a Centenary event at Government House, a Gala Ball, a family day at the Melbourne Zoo and a reunion afternoon tea for past Tweddle staff.  We still hope to deliver these events in 2021.

The 100th AGM closed with the Chair acknowledging the work of the CEO and staff. She observed that the Tweddle Board was cognisant of the importance of its role in the stewardship of this organisation and that they would continue to work diligently to innovate, grow and enhance our partnerships as we face our second centenary

A recording of the AGM can be found here. We thank JT Productions for their support in delivering our 100th AGM.


Tweddle AGM 2020 - Melanie Doris Jennifer Jacquie
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