Central West NSW Special Project

Supporting Frontline Responders in Community Organisations

HELPING YOU LOOK AFTER YOU, YOUR TEAM & VOLUNTEERS IN 2024.

A special project to support not-for-profits, charities and community organisations in flood impacted regions of Central and West NSW.

Professional development about managing employee/volunteer wellbeing and trauma to support frontline, and 'accidental' frontline responders. 

Funded by the Department of Communities and Justice, NSW Government and the Australian Government.

Photograph courtesy of The Australian newspaper

Program overview

About the Program

Not-for-profit and charity boards, committees of management, staff and volunteers across the flood-impacted areas of Central and West NSW can access free mental health and trauma training and resources from The Community Well – a Social Sector Wellbeing and Resilience Hub, run by Benefolk Foundation. 

The program is based on a successful program delivered in Northern Rivers NSW in 2023, where 257 individuals from 130 organisations were trained and upskilled. It achieved a significant shift in confidence in maintaining psychological safety for employees and volunteers.

The training and resources are free, thanks to funding is from the ‘NGO Flood Grant Program’, an initiative of the Department of Communities and Justice (NSW Government), specifically to support recovery from devastating floods and build resilience for the future. Read more here.

Training and Resources Available

The ‘Supporting Frontline Responders in Central West NSW’ program will deliver in person and online training and services free of charge to all not-for-profit, community organisations and charities across Central and West NSW, including the regions of Murrumbidgee, New England, and Western NSW.

Each organisation will receive access to the following training and support (at no charge):

  • Resilient Responders & Empowering Conversations (in person trainings) - One Day In-Person Training: For staff and volunteers working on the frontline with traumatised individuals, teaching them strategies to prevent and overcome workplace PTSD (vicarious trauma) and burnout as well as how to facilitate brief conversational interventions to help prevent and resolve trauma in their clients.

    These will be held in:
    Wagga Wagga on 3 May 2024
    Dubbo on 24 May 2024
    Bathurst on 14 June 2024 
    Griffith on 28 June 2024
    Glen Innes on 2 August 2024

  • Workplace Wellbeing online webinars: All Benefolk webinars/masterclasses in 2024 will be available to Central West organisations at no charge. They include masterclasses on:

    - Pyscho-Social Hazards and Legal Obligations
    - Building a Workplace Wellbeing Strategy
    - Understanding and Preventing trauma

    Central West organisations use the code 'Sponsored100'. All webinars can be accessed at our Events & Webinar page here, and our Humanitix page here.

All organisations will also receive free access to:

  • The Community Well - Social Sector Wellbeing & Resilience Hub which comprises 100+ resources including an Organiational Health Check, Workplace Wellbeing Strategy toolkit, Risk Assessments and much more. Access the hub here.
  • Online self-paced learning modules on the topic areas above to support those who miss the live training, and/or want to upskill their teams and volunteers throughout 2024. A code to access the modules will be issued to all Central West organisations, and can also be accessed by emailing our team at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. 
  • Free videos in the Foundation’s Social Sector Video Library, which includes a section on Wellbeing/People/Culture. 

All services are mapped to the Hub’s trauma-informed mental health and resilience framework.

The Community Well - Social Sector Wellbeing and Resilience Hub

The Community Well has a range of resources organised around a six-pillar framework of Prevent, Protect, Educate, Enhance, Crisis and Recovery. It provides a broad scope from prevention to proactive and crisis, with off-the-shelf resources and 1:1 support.

In its purpose and scope, the Hub is designed to respond to the changing needs of the community by being bespoke to social sector organisations. 

It is a tool for prevention, to proactively help not-for-profits and charities be ready to face potential future challenges and access crisis support.

Access The Community Well here.

Project Team and Trainers

The Benefolk Foundation's team brings together specialists from around Australia, with deep expertise in social and community sector leadership, mental health, wellbeing and people/culture.

OUR MAIN TRAINERS

Leanne Hart and Adam Blanch bring 20 years’ experience in trauma-informed training, facilitation and consulting, and are part of the Content Advisory and Content Development teams for the Hub.

  • Leanne is a trauma-informed facilitator with a people and culture background. She has designed and delivered workplace training and workshops across Australia and globally for corporate, privately-owned and NFP organisations.
  • Adam has delivered training to staff and volunteers from hundreds of non profit and community organisations. He is a trauma psychologist with a clinical practice in Byron Bay, and experienced the 2022 flood events first hand, as well as supporting clients and community organisations during this time. 

The Need

Research tells us that 20% of frontline responders go on to experience PTSD as a result of being exposed to the trauma of their client.

Not-for-profit and charity leaders in regional and rural NSW have told us over recent months that their teams are exhausted, and many have outlined the impacts this is having on service delivery.

Many organisation leaders have also told us they feel ill-equipped to prevent the impacts of trauma in their organisations, with many staff and volunteers not trained to respond effectively to the level of trauma experienced as a result of the flood events of 2022. 

Organisation leaders are also looking for services that are fit-for-purpose services that:

  • Understand small non profits and those in rural/regional communities.
  • Are not generic in workplace mental health, but focussed on frontline responders dealing with traumatised clients and communities.
  • Are free or low cost services, as organisations do not have the budgets for mainstream providers.
  • Can be accessed locally (not needing to drive to major cities).

Our RESET 2020 National Impact + Need Research Study into the impacts of COVID 19 pandemic on social sector organisations, also showed that: 

  • 80% believed that existing sector constraints exacerbate the impacts on mental health/wellbeing.
  • 45% were feeling stressed/anxious often/always (up from 13% pre-pandemic).
  • 41% were exhausted/frustrated (up from 9% pre-pandemic).
  • 40% were not taking care of themselves often/always (up from 18% pre-pandemic).
  • 69% of organisations rated the overall impact on their leadership team as negative.
  • 48% rated the overall impacts on their Boards as negative.

We know anecdotally, and through our partners, that the conditions for social sector professionals and volunteers have worsened since September 2020. 

Project and Media Inquiries

For all inquiries, please contact us here.

Frequently Asked Questions

How many trainings can our organisation register for? 

There are three different types of trainings available:

  • One-day in-person trainings in Wagga Wagga, Dubbo, Bathurst, Griffith and Glen Inness. These are the same training content, just in different locations.
  • One-hour online webinars
  • Self paced online learning, designed to enable more people in your organisation attend the training, including new employees or volunteers.

You are welcome to register for both. 

How many staff can we bring to the trainings?

  • In person trainings - We have based the program on maximum three people from each organisation. But if you have more than three people wishing to attend, please let us know and we will do our best to accommodate you. 
  • Online trainings - Unlimited 
  • Self paced program - This will be available to your whole organisation to utilise.

When are the trainings going to be held? 

The training runs from March to August 2024. The self paced learning modules will be made available from June 2024. Webinars and online sessions begin in March, with more being added throughout the year.

When can I access The Community Well?

You are welcome to access The Community Well at any stage. It is available now and free of charge.

What if we need support outside of the training or dates available? 

The program above is funded by NSW Government. If you would like a tailored training, or additional trainings in your region, please reach out to our team. 

How can I find out more, or ask questions?

We have Information Sessions scheduled for late February 2024 to explain the program. Book here. 

If you have any questions, please contact our team here at any time. 

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