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On International Womens Day (8th March) we celebrated 25 years of service to the community and launched our 2017 - 2019 Strategic Plan. This includes an updated Vision and Purpose. The plan is downloadable from here.
On January 16 we moved from our administration building at 29A Greeves St, St Kilda. Our new administration space is at St Kilda and Elsternwick Baptist, 9 Pakington Street, St Kilda - a short stroll away from our Drop In.
Due to the move we have significantly less storage space, so if you are wanting to make a donation please follow these instructions:
For Drop In Donations, these must be dropped off Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday after midday. Please call the office on 03 9534 2500 or email email@example.com to arrange a time to drop things off. Please do not leave things at the door. We have had a lot of problems with this and the sad thing is usually this means your donations are unusable due to weather. As you would know from our Facebook post in January some of the key items we require are deodorant, wet wipes and non-lipstick type makeup items. Donations of UHT milk and cordial are also gratefully accepted.
For Young Women’s Centre donations, please call the office on 03 9794 7366 to arrange a time for dropping off. As the Centre is a safe space for girls and young women at risk of or affected by sexual exploitation we are very careful about when we accept donations so please contact us to make a time.
For Greeves St. Recycled (The future Op shop), please call the office on 03 9534 2916 or email firstname.lastname@example.org to arrange a time and place for drop off or pick up. Please don’t take Greeves St. Recycled items to the Drop In Centre or Young Women’s Centre.
Thank you - as always - for your support!
St Kilda Gatehouse is seeking an experienced and creative manager to grow and strengthen the Young Women’s Project (YWP) based in Dandenong. YWP program plays a vital role in supporting girls and young women between 12 and 25 at risk of or affected by Commercial Sexual Exploitation. The YWP program is 18 months old and is an important part of St Kilda Gatehouse’s work.
St Kilda Gatehouse is a small not for profit Christian organization with 12 staff and between 50 to 70 volunteers. St Kilda Gatehouse began as a grassroots organization 25 years ago with a passion for some of the most marginalized women in Melbourne.
The role of YWP Manager is both external (stakeholder relationships) and internal (management of team) and reports directly to the CEO. We are looking for a leader with strong ethics and a passion for gender equity. Our model of work centers on a relational approach informed by community development and social justice.
Candidates must have managerial experience of small to medium sized teams. It is preferential that a candidate has experience working with Department of Health and Human Services. Youth Worker qualification is also desirable. All applicants must have a current Working with Children (Victoria) and National Police check. Car allowance and salary sacrificing available.
For more information please email the CEO, Penelope Smith: email@example.com
In the last month we are grateful to the Leader Newspapers in Port Phillip and Dandenong and the Dandenong Journal for three great articles on our work. You can read them here:
St Kilda Gatehouse Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Sally Tonkin, stepped down in July 2016 after almost 9 years with the organisation. Heading off to full-time motherhood, Sally said she was confident the St Kilda Gatehouse will continue to grow and thrive. “Gatehouse is on an upward trajectory – combatting commercial sexual exploitation is a clear community priority, and early intervention and intensive therapeutic support is the key”, Sally said. “The organisation is entering an exciting new chapter, and as long as sustainable funding can be found, the engagement, support, and sense of community our programs and centres provide can only increase”, she said.
Reflecting on her time at the helm, Sally says she’s most proud of the culture that has been fostered. “Maintaining the culture at Gatehouse is so important to the women we work with”, she said. “I’m so pleased our values and the integrity of our work has been kept intact as we’ve grown, developed and entered into new ventures”. “Inclusiveness, individual worth, hope, unconditional service, and social justice continue to be at the heart of all that we do”.
Sally will be succeeded by Penelope Smith, who joins St Kilda Gatehouse with experience at some of Australia’s leading universities (including Australian Catholic University and La Trobe University) and public health organisations.
A member of the Public Health Association of Australia and the Health Promotion Association of Australia, Penelope says the opportunity to be part of such an important organisation is humbling. “I’m passionate about enabling and empowering communities to improve their health, and the Gatehouse is crucial to the wellbeing of some of our most vulnerable women”, Penelope said. “I’m committed to providing equity, advocacy, and a sense of community and look forward to working with the Gatehouse team to further their reach and impact”, she said. St Kilda Gatehouse is a not for profit organisation that provides dignity and hope to those involved in street based sex work or affected by commercial sexual exploitation.
(Photo credit: Port Phillip Leader, Chris Eastman)
Sally has led the organisation through a sustained period of growth for nearly nine year. For individuals involved in street sex work the Drop-In Centre in St Kilda has grown in opening hours, services, support and opportunities. Sally oversaw the opening of a second Centre in Dandenong for girls and young women affected by commercial sexual exploitation. Through advocacy and networking Gatehouse has seen growth in awareness of the human side of street sex work, and the need to invest in a young woman’s life beyond her experiences of childhood trauma and exploitation.
“Being part of the Gatehouse story and the incredible work it does has been the most rewarding experience of my life. I have met and worked with the very best people over the last nine years. I could never have anticipated the challenges nor prepared myself for the confronting issues we see women tackle each day. In contrast the privilege of working at Gatehouse has exposed me to the very best in humankind. I have seen incredible generosity, kindness, humour, innovation and resilience expressed by those who we work alongside, our volunteers, the tireless team, the vast amount of donors and supporters I have met and worked with, local government, other agencies, business owners and employees, Church and community groups, residents, family members, journalists, artists, our Patron, Ambassadors and our wonderful Board members. People have continued to stagger and humble me with their willingness to contribute in the best way they can. As a community there is much to do to bring about change particularly in the area of gendered violence. My time at Gatehouse has given me great hope in what a community can achieve together. I have been very fortunate and blessed to see first hand what a real impact an organisation like Gatehouse (powered by it’s supporters) makes.” - Sally
Sally will be leaving her role at Gatehouse at the end of June, as she takes on the role of full-time mother. We are very excited for the new chapter in Sally’s life and are grateful for the time she has spent with Gatehouse.
Late last year Gatehouse was approached by Tedx St Kilda. They invited Gatehouse staff to share on the Tedx stage stories from women who work on the streets. Over the Christmas break we thought about it more deeply and decided it didn't feel right to share the women's stories on that sort of platform. They were the women's stories to share. We declined the invitation. The organisers at Tedx St Kilda then suggested we share our own stories. Sally Tonkin, our CEO, did just that. In late March she shared how the values of Gatehouse and the women who we have the privilege of working with have shaped her understanding.
We are excited to have Robynne Jeisman join the team as the Project Manager for Young Women's Project. Robynne brings a rich background of experience, networks and knowledge particular in the youth sector. We look forward to the leadership and direction Robynne will provide to the Young Women's Project in Dandenong.
Our dedicated volunteer Robbyn Macdonald has recently completed a 900km pilgrimage across northern Spain, along the Camino de Santiago. She has almost raised $10,000 in aid of St Kilda Gatehouse and we wish to thank Robbyn for her courage and determination.
If you would like to raise funds for us too, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org, or call 03 9534 2916.
With our growing team and programs we have moved our office into a space directly across the road from the Drop-In Centre. One huge benefit of this additional space is our capacity to store donated goods. We can now hold furniture, bedding, etc – ready for when a need arises. The Hilton recently gave us two truckloads of new king single beds. We shared the distribution of these beds with other partner agencies. Twenty-four people facing challenging situations now have beautiful beds including:
All were delighted and incredibly grateful.
Cooking (and eating) at Gatehouse has become so popular, Feed Melbourne gave $15,000 to help us do it better. A big thank you to Feed Melbourne and all supporters of the campaign, from everyone at Gatehouse.
The Hilton Melbourne South Wharf have formed a partnership with St Kilda Gatehouse. Staff at the Hilton have put aside a box for donated items. Recently the Hilton donated eight near new king size single beds. These were distributed to homes that needed them. The new owners of the beds couldn't be more grateful or well rested.
For the month of July, St Kilda Gatehouse featured on the Local Matters donation jar at the Grill’d Healthy Burgers in St Kilda. And we won!
Thank you to Grill'd and those who dined and voted.
Those at Gatehouse often talked about bringing life and colour to the outside wall. Visiting artist, Gemma-Rose Turnbull, took on those ideas and made it happen. Morgan from Gatehouse drew a sketch of life at Gatehouse. With direction and guidance from Sean Curlis, from Translucent Art, the mural took shape. The result is a beautiful piece of art. It could not have been possible without the support of City of Port Phillip, The AndyInc Foundation and tile suppliers National Tiles and Axess Glass.
Flash flooding in February caused wide spread damage across Melbourne and Victoria. St Kilda Gatehouse was filled with over 30cm of water. We have discovered that 30cm can do a lot of damage! Our entire building has been cleared of rotted furniture, workspaces, kitchen cupboards, electrical goods, computer hard drives and phone lines. The good news is we have received flood grants from Churches of Christ and St Kilda Baptist to help us to continue operating while our insurance claim is processed.
There is a small group of women who meet once a month. Some know each other from high school, others are new friends. One is a lawyer. Another is a project manager. Another works in human resources. They call their little group “Women Helping Women”. Each month they brainstorm ways they can practically help another woman in need. It may be someone they know or someone they have heard of.
Recently this group of women gathered together, donned frilly aprons, divvied up tasks and cooked several batches of cupcakes. The following day they each took twenty cupcakes to work. Next to the cupcakes they put a little note explaining they were $2 each and what the money would go towards. The money that was raised well and truly covered the costs to print a batch of business cards for a woman who is striving to leave poverty and street sex work by starting her own business. When the business cards arrived at St Kilda Gatehouse there was much excitement. The woman who has a creative and clever small business idea, was beyond delighted. She held the cards and examined them with pride and amazement.
Support comes to St Kilda Gatehouse in many forms. We have for a long time been able to do the work we do through the generosity of loyal supporters. Supporters who don’t always get to see face to face the impact of their giving or the appreciation with which is it received. It is often at this time of year we reflect on the true act of giving: giving without expecting reward or recognition. We wish all our supporters a meaningful and joyous Christmas.
The mosaic art piece currently underway at St Kilda Gatehouse recently featured in the local Leader Newspaper
The Gatehouse netball team is nearing the end of its first season. The team is made up of women involved in street sex work, staff, volunteers and friends. If the benefits we’ve experienced could be shown on the scorecard, we’d be straight through to the grand final. But unfortunately not!
What isn't on the scorecard:
Creating a space to develop positive and safe relationships
It has been wonderful to see the team members bond, support and champion each other. Women from all walks of life, on one team. Rather than being a street sex worker or a staff member, an individual is a Wing Attack or a Goal Shooter. Stories, laughter and encouragement are shared both on and off the court.
Engaging in the ‘straight’ world
Though experts in street rules, women involved in street sex work can find the “straight” world daunting and intimidating. Years of negative experiences cannot be undone by a game of netball - but we have certainly seen the women involved grow in confidence as they learn and follow a new set of rules: turning up on time, controlling frustration, following the umpires, not stepping with the ball, etc.
Doing it for themselves
Women engaged in street sex work can have very low self worth and feel a lack of control over their lifestyle. Engaging in a positive, healthy activity provides individuals with a sense of accomplishment and pride in knowing they are making a positive, small step that is good for their health and well-being.
St Kilda Gatehouse has been very fortunate to receive a $10,000 grant as part of the Feed Melbourne campaign. The grant will mean a much needed upgrade to our kitchen. More storage, a stove and oven and greater capacity to freeze food. This means we can serve more hot meals as well as involve the Gatehouse community in cooking and preparing food. We would like to especially thank FareShare, Do Something and Leader Community Newspaper. To find out more about the Feed Melbourne campaign click here
Port Phillip Leader, 8th December 2009
It is always difficult to close the doors at Gatehouse, particularly in winter. Many who spend time with us during the day sleep it rough during the night. One day we looked around the room and counted how many mattresses we could fit. And the plans began…
Towards the end of August we held our first Winter Sleep-In. It was a night that we will all remember for a long time and one we plan to repeat again.
There was a stronger sense of belonging and equality. We came from different life experiences, but that night we were all sleeping under the same roof. Mattresses and doonas covered the floor. Homemade scones were layered with jam and whipped cream. Popcorn churned out of a loaned popcorn machine. Conversations delved deeper. Everyone chose a pair of new pyjamas. And then finally we heard loud snores.
Thank you to our supporters particularly the group of young people from the Vetamorphus City Retreat who brought in breakfast on Saturday morning (juice, croissants, muffins and coco pops!)
St Kilda Gatehouse has entered a Service Agreement with Family and Children Services at City of Port Phillip. The agreement acknowledges the unique relationship Gatehouse has with marginalised women, who often don’t engage through mainstream means.
Many women who work on the street are also responsible for bearing and raising children. These mothers tend to feel anxious for their own and their children's safety and are often separated from their children when their children are removed from their care. These separations tend to result in great psychological stress and trauma, leading to increased drug use and street sex work.
The funding from the Service Agreement is will be used to provide intensive support to pregnant women and mothers - assisting with setting up housing, transitional care for those who have ceased drug use and sex work, and peer support with other mothers. Practical support is also being provided during access visits such as food parcels, toys and books.
Mark in your diaries!!! Our fundraiser dinner “Beyond the Street Corner” cannot be missed. Performing for us will be Paul Kelly, one of the most significant singer/songwriters in the country. Also on the ticket is Tim Costello - a leading campaigner on social justice issues. Tickets are $50. Start rounding up friends and family. Details on how to purchase tickets will be posted soon.
Our popular fortnightly event, has gone weekly. We were pleased to again receive a Community Grant from City of Port Phillip. This year with the support of FareShare and a donation from a generous donor, the BBQs are now held each Monday night. The Community BBQs are also supported by a team of dedicated volunteers, the occasional musician and Nandos in St Kilda.
This year we acknowledged Mother’s Day at Gatehouse. Due to homelessness and addiction many of the women who come to Gatehouse are separated from their children. Whilst being sensitive to the pain Mother’s Day can bring, we gave a flower and a small gift to each mother, acknowledging that they have brought precious children into this world. We also gave out $5 phone cards to assist mothers contact their children. This acknowledgement and support was received really well and brought many smiles.
St Kilda Gatehouse welcomes a new member to its team: Louisa Tew. We are very excited to have Louisa on board and by what she will bring to St Kilda Gatehouse. Look out for a full introduction to Louisa soon.
[Louisa's shares some thoughts here]
A big thank you to Ali Smith, Emily Hanscamp, The Tealeaves and Tarryn Attkinson who's performances, and artwork, at The Wesley Anne on March 7th raised $900 for St Kilda Gatehouse. For those of you who hadn't already left the city to start your long weekend - we hope you were able to make it and enjoy the night. If you have any photos we'd love to see them: email@example.com
This article tells a story very familiar to many of women known to St Kilda Gatehouse.
Reseachers from the Department of Managment and Marketing at the University of Melbourne have approached St Kilda Gatehouse for assistance in conducting a research project. They are seeking to better understand the risks, hazards and common situations of street sex workers. The project is titled, 'The influence of occupational identity on the stress levels of sex workers'. Surveys are currently being completed by street sex workers at St Kilda Gatehouse. For further information, please contact Ms. Dani Salinger, Project Manager: 0412 334 808.
The Christmas break-up was a fun day. We used the occasion to send off Faye and acknowledge Jim’s 10 years at Gatehouse. Those who’ve known Jim and Faye for some time, through coming to Gatehouse, made moving speeches. We were able to give out over 50 gift packages. Leisa and Faye did an incredible job pulling together the packages from donations made throughout the year. A big thank you to Grace Community Church, who always provide a bundle of goodies, Nandos for their usual supply of salads and River Capital and Hillview church who made a generous contribution allowing us to put on a large spread of ham, salads, and lots of homemade treats. It was declared many times during the day as the “best Christmas party yet”.
St Kilda Gatehouse 2017 - 2019 Strategic Plan
FEBRUARY NEWS UPDATE: WHAT TO DO ABOUT DONATIONS IN 2017- On January 16 we moved from our administration building at 29A Greeves St, St Kilda. Our new administration space is at Read more...
WE ARE HIRING! YOUNG WOMEN'S PROJECT MANAGER (FULL TIME - SCHCDS 7)- St Kilda Gatehouse is seeking an experienced and creative manager to grow and strengthen the Young Women’s Project ( Read more...