Hazel Malone is the Active Living for Seniors (ALPS) Coordinator at Able Australia in Ipswich. The ALPS program aims to connect seniors with all the services that are available to them.
Hazel gives and insight into her journey in the community service sector, her motivations and what it's like to work across a large regional area.
My name is Hazel Malone and I'm with Able Australia - I'm the ALPS coordinator which is the active living program for seniors, so my role is to enable services to access seniors out there in the community. So I cover 13,000 square kilometers across four local government areas.
Back home in Scotland , if you haven't detected that, I actually worked in the first-ever community development project that took government services into the community, and that was an employment and training project. So once i qualified in my profession, I worked with long-term unemployed people supporting their journey back into employment.
My experience is that you can't do it alone, community service work is all about partnering and collaboration because there are so many aspects to projects and so many different ways of meeting the community needs, that no one organisation tends to be able to solve everything or deliver everything. So it's really important, particularly in those more isolated areas that you work together and you use the resources wisely that are out there.
The most rewarding thing is to engage with people from all backgrounds, I think, listening to their stories, enabling the stories to be told and then working with them to make the difference that those people feel that they want in their lives.
In the sector ,I think that's where I can make most difference, so that's why I continue to return to the community services sector. Try the non-government organisations - it's where you learn the tools of your trade really well, you learn to do so much on so little but you also are out there, grassroots, sleeves rolled up and working with community.