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Social Service Centre

Page history last edited by Louise Segafredo 12 years, 6 months ago

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Social Service Centre opened [1]



Free Legal Aid Service provided at the Social Service Bureau one evening each week by senior law students, supervised by senior qualified members of the University of Melbourne Law School.  They give advice and assistance to people who cannot afford legal fees and who are not eligible for assistance from the Public Solicitor. [2]



Social Service Bureau continues to support individual and families in adversity, with people coming from all parts of Melbourne and the majority from the inner suburbs.  “It provides a service for people in need, and at the same time keeps a finger on the pulse of the community.  When the early symptoms of social ill health become apparent, the Brotherhood, in its historic role as an agency of social action, is ready with an informed and authoritative expression of opinion.  This latter role of the Brotherhood, although of necessity it springs directly from the individualised casework, may in the long run prove to be the more significant contribution to the community.[3]



Opening of new Social Service Centre, Fitzroy[4]


Third social worker appointed to the Social Service Bureau



A Social Worker from the Social Service Bureau commenced work in the West Heidelberg area, working in close cooperation with the clergy and other social welfare people in the area[5]



Instead of giving toy parcels at Christmas, the Social Service Bureau organised a sale of second-hand toys “based on the conviction that parents would enjoy buying for their own children if the anxiety about cost could be removed.  Accordingly charges were nominal and the toy sales planned to fall on days of Social Service payments or wages.  The follow-up study conducted by students in the agency indicated that parents appreciated the new system and it will be repeated” in 1962. [6]



Figures collected by the Social Service Bureau from March-August 1963 show that Fitzroy is the single suburb from which the largest group of clients come, but the BSL is also reaching many in the outer Eastern suburbs (eg Canterbury, Blackburn, Jordanville etc) and in the new northern housing areas (eg Preston, Reservoir)[7]


A record amount of financial aid and grocery orders was given out through the Social Service Bureau (£4,597), in part because “Victoria remains the only State that does not accept responsibility for helping people immediately their earnings cease and the Voluntary Agencies are expected to carry this burden.  Of 896 cases seen in the Bureau during the year, 213 were waiting Socia Service benefits”.[8]



Reassessment of the practice and thinking of the Social Service Bureau, given the departure of three social workers to interstate and overseas and the appointment of a Chaplain[9]



The need for emergency accommodation led the Brotherhood to rent a two-storey house in North Fitzroy which was fully occupied through the year, with many applications having to be refused.  “The project has demonstrated that emergency housing is an essential provision very much lacking in the welfare facilities of this State.  Financial aid to the extent of $13,000 was provided and the (Social Service) Bureau will have to continue meeting this need until more realistic statutory provision is made to meet emergency financial situations and social service benefits are more adequate for certain groups.” [10]



BSL Executive consists of “the Director, Associate Director, Secretary, Chaplain, Director of Research & Social Action and the Manager of St Laurence Park, Lara.  … The Social Service Bureau is not represented at (their meetings) except when matters of policy involving the Bureau are discussed.  The Senior Social Worker has her own ‘direct line’ to the Director.” [11]


Material relief provided through the BSL’s Social Service Bureau estimated to be $900-$1000 each month, in addition to large amounts of clothing and furniture given both to BSL clients and to other welfare organisations.



Social Service Bureau set up a branch in Broadmeadows[12]



Brotherhood’s Social Service Bureau staff in Broadmeadows work with other organisations in setting up a Broadmeadows Welfare Advisory Committee [13]



Social Service Bureau, Creative Leisure Centre and Youth Centre closed to make way for the radical Family Centre project



  1. Colin Holden & Richard Trembath Divine Discontent p.55
  2. BSL Annual Reports 1953 p.15, 1953-1954, 1955 p.21
  3. BSL Annual Report 1955 p.7 Emphasis is in the original text.
  4. BSL Annual Report 1957-1958 p.3
  5. BSL Annual Report 1959-1960 p.2
  6. BSL Annual Report 1961-1962 p.6
  7. BSL Annual Report 1962-1963
  8. BSL Annual Report 1962-1963 p.13. The record amount of £4,597 contrasts, for example, with the amount of £2,887 given in 1960-1961
  9. BSL Annual Report 1963-1964 pp.3-4
  10. BSL Annual Report 1966-1967 p.3
  11. Helen M. Hughes A Survey of Anglican Social Work Agencies, The Church of England Social Service Advisory Council 1967, Pt.1 p.5
  12. BSL Annual Report 1968-1969 p.5
  13. BSL Annual Report 1970 p.5

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