Newsletter June 2021


This year, a number of things have happened that have forced a few changes. 

  • COVID 19:  Infection Control
    • Now we have to be able to deep clean any furniture and anything that can’t be Deep Cleaned has to be disposed of.
    • QR codes and registers the same as the parishes.
  • Health, Safety and Environment:
    • Closure of the old kitchen. The corner of the old school building near the old kitchen has major cracks in it and has had to be closed for safety reasons.  This has required us to make a few changes to the away we run the programs.
    • All chairs must be rated to take 130kg.
  • The introduction of the new Auditing standards from the Australian Catholic Bishops Council (ACBC) which has led to a new filing system, accountability measures and risk management planning.  This has created new challenges we have to meet.
  • The Archdiocese is moving to stop the overlap of services which has meant a new collaboration between Identitywa and Emmanuel Centre for the running of the house at 27 Windsor St.  Identity WA has been great in stepping outside their normal practices so the philosophy of how the house is run is consistent with Emmanuel’s philosophy.
  • We have done a review of the numbers the Emmanuel Centre is serving and have realised we need to bring some younger people into the fold.  In the next few weeks, you will see the following…
  • Advertising for expressions of interest for a Parents group for those with disabled children. Many years ago, these were called Mothers Groups. In 2021 there are a lot of Dads who are the primary carers for their kids so today they are called Parent Groups.

A lot of the changes we have had no control over.  We just have to do it.  The ACBC changes are significant, and I am not sure exactly what they yet mean.  The Diocese is also working to make the system more effective and transparent because of the Royal Commission a couple of years ago.


In May, our new Chaplain will come. Currently he is relieving in a parish in the far North West.  Every Chaplain brings their own gifts and talents, and I am looking forward to the new Chaplain bringing his gifts to the table.

On Friday the 9th of April we were joined by good friends (both Deaf and Hearing) for a time of sharing and fellowship here at the Emmanuel Centre for our Pizza Night. A huge thanks to Anne Page for her generous provision of drinks and deserts (I think she knew that we were at risk of missing out if it was just left to us males to organize), which we all thoroughly enjoyed. Not only did we get to discuss what has been happening here at the Centre, we also got the chance to practice our Auslan in a real conversational environment – which was both encouraging and a reminder of just how far we have to go in our journey towards fluency. The night was opened in prayer by Joe O’Brien, before we unpacked a few boxes of Dominoes’ finest and a little bit about how each of us came to be involved with The Emmanuel Centre. And most importantly, we were able to discuss the current needs facing the community and how we can best position the Agency to assist. We also shared the new vision and mandate that the Centre has been given by Archbishop Timothy Costelloe SDB, now that the introduction of the NDIS has so dramatically changed the disability services’ landscape. Most of all, it was just great to have an opportunity to engage with our community in a meaningful way after being so busy with other, foundational aspects of the transformation.


Since its inception, attendees at the Emmanuel Centre’s Monday and Tuesday programs have their lunch provided, all for the amazing price of $2! Being able to access a nutritious meal as part of the program is incredibly important to our guests’ wellbeing, as is learning food preparation skills and the social engagement that occurs during a shared meal.

To support this more effectively, the Emmanuel Centre will be increasing the lunch fee from $2 to $4 – to reflect the increases in the price of food that have occurred over the last 40 years and give the team greater flexibility in preparing options for lunch.


It was a moment that we had all been waiting for with anticipation, the big day when Debbie and Toto were finally able to start moving into the new accommodation at 29 Windsor Street, Perth. The new house was completed earlier this year, with delays in the move occurring due to administrative processes – as the best operating model for the future was established between The Emmanuel Centre and Identity WA, the Archdiocese’s largest disability services agency and an acknowledged leader in the provision of specialised accommodation within Western Australia.

We are very grateful to all those who have made the project possible: the people on the steering committee, the volunteers, Tim Lanigan (the architect), Damian and Marcel Bianchini (the builders) and the many workers and tradespeople who have been part of the project.

The house has been constructed in accordance with the highest, ‘platinum’ standard for disability accommodation services and it was thrilling to see residents moving in and starting to make the house into a home.

And no one was more excited than Debbie, who had been preparing for this moment for months. She has claimed her favorite bedroom as her own and has started decorating, personalizing her rooms with artwork to make it feel like home. Debbie really likes the high ceilings and roof mounted windows in her private ensuite.


Judith Wirawan is the Administration Officer here at The Emmanuel Centre….

My name is Judith and I’m the admin person here at Emmanuel Centre. That means I do admin and paperwork such as database, bills, receipts, etc… but as we’re a small team here at Emmanuel Centre, we all do our bits when there is a job that needs lots of hands, such as cleaning, preparing for events, moving office, and others. I started here at Emmanuel Centre as a volunteer about seven years ago now, mainly helping with the newsletter preparation. After a year or two, I started working part time in an administration role, and I am still here now! I love the idea of working for a Church agency, in an organisation that is trying to do good things. And when I come to work and see the happy faces of our regular participants such as Debbie, Veena, and Alan, I feel like my choice is confirmed. And it doesn’t hurt that I have kind colleagues who all also want to do good things for people around us. I always feel the friendship and support from them in whatever we do here.

  Rachel Felix is the Project Officer here at the Centre…

My name is Rachel Felix.  I started my journey at the Emmanuel Centre 5 years ago, volunteering to assist in certain projects.  My task has been++ to get the members attending this centre as well as a group of deaf people, involved in meaningful activities such as growing and juicing of wheatgrass, growing of fresh herbs and vegetables in our vege-pod, upholstery etc.  I have also been involved in the compilation of the religious sign language document. The deaf have always been a big part of the Emmanuel Centre and hence learning of sign language has been crucial to our communication with them.  Learning of this language is very much a ‘work in progress’ for all of us here at the Emmanuel Centre. I am excited about the new plans and projects our Centre is planning for the future.

Shannon is the Activities Coordinator here at The Emmanuel Centre…

Hi, my name is Shannon and I run the activities sessions on a Monday and Tuesday each week at the Emmanuel Centre. We have a great group of people who regularly attend, having fun creating things, making foods, having a cuppa and socialising. On Mondays we run a craft session in the morning. This year we’ve made some great things like travel neck pillows, personal heat packs and our own Red Poppy brooches to wear on Anzac Day. We also have our wonderful volunteer Judy who comes in and shows us how to do spinning of wool into yarn and weaving on looms. On Tuesday mornings I assist our deaf artist, Geoff Scott with the painting session. Each day we create a meal and eat together, while our afternoons are revolved around a rotation of activities such as playing Skittles, scrapbooking, cards and board games etc.

Eric is the Pastoral Worker here at the Centre…

Hi, I’m the newest member of the team, having started at the beginning of this year in the role of Pastoral Worker, three days a week. I am also employed as a journalist with the Communications Office of the Archdiocese of Perth, where I am blessed to come into contact with a wide range of people and activities that support The Emmanuel Centre. My background is in communications, management and marketing – where the skills used in running teams and training, transfer readily to supporting good mental health and wellbeing. My sister (a long-term resident with Identitywa) has both a physical and intellectual disability, and our journey as a family through the many unique challenges that came with her situation, has given me a passion for supporting people in this area. Similarly, my young son is on the Spectrum and as we embark on our NDIS journey with him, I firmly believe that this process can only add to the knowledge and approach that I bring to the Centre.

Out of His infinite glory, may He give you the power through His Spirit for your hidden self to grow strong. Ephesians 3:16