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Inside TaskForce with Lisa Abbott

Executive Manager Social Impact and Growth


You joined TaskForce just over a year ago. What changes have you seen in that time?
In December 2021 we were just coming out of Covid lockdowns and many restrictions were still in place so the first few months were about working out what the new normal looked like.

It has been so positive to see staff across the organisation embrace the new ways of working that developed over Covid. These changes have enhanced the flexibility in how we engage with our stakeholders and consumers.

We also had our Cranbourne, Frankston and Rosebud sites opened over Covid so over the past 14 months we have seen these sites become hives of activity, with the Frankston office now busting at the seams with co-located services and our own programs, enhancing our capacity to deliver our wrap-around model of care.

What do you do as Executive Manager Social Impact and Growth?
I have the most fabulous job of identifying unmet needs in the community, forming collaborative relationships across stakeholders and coming together to build innovative and impactful models of care as a response.

This also generates growth for TaskForce while meeting community need.

It is also my responsibility to ensure our programs are delivered in a manner that creates sustainable outcomes for the clients and the community, and work with the leaders and our staff to improve the ways we deliver these services.

How many programs does TaskForce run?
About 30 in the NFP sector.

TaskForce is very people-focused and our staff have the experience and training to be able to clarify, assist and support clients across many facets of their lives.

What about in other sectors?
We also run a range of other programs that have been tailored to the needs of government and business organisations, such as workplace training around how to handle aggressive behaviours, and assist people who present with suicidal thoughts or are suffering family violence.

How does TaskForce help people improve their lives?
TaskForce staff go above and beyond to support their clients and loves ones to overcome barriers and reach their potential. As an organisation we are continuously developing our wrap-around model of care, acknowledging that people often require multiple supports to address multiple barriers and that the best outcomes are achieved when the support is coordinated.

What more could be done to help TaskForce help more people?
Funding would be number one, however we also know that it is always so much more than just receiving funding.

Connecting us with communities who are in need, connecting us with other organisations who have a similar goal, and connecting us with decision-makers who will really listen to our advocacy efforts around program and policy reform.

And building awareness across different sectors/industries around our unique training and development programs will not only create greater skills and awareness in the workforce, but also lead to a social return through generating income to be directed into more program delivery – it’s a win-win.

What attracted you to working with TaskForce?
I had worked alongside TaskForce for nearly 20 years, more closely over the eight years before I joined TaskForce. They have always been an authentic and genuine organisation that fosters an inclusive and supportive work culture.

TaskForce also has the capacity to be nimble and respond to emerging needs in the community, all within a very robust structure of governance. These factors were the perfect recipe for someone like me who is passionate about impact and social change for our most marginalised.

What would you say to a minister or bureaucrat to convince them that TaskForce should be given more support?
I would invite them to meet our staff and hear directly from the people we are supporting. The feedback would be enough to convince them of the real difference we are making in the community.

If they needed more, then I would showcase the diversity and strength of our collaborative partnerships across sectors.

Within the current environment, there has never been more urgency to provide holistic and coordinated responses. Enhancing our capacity will allow us to drive more collaborative place-based responses, across more sectors and impact more of the community.

What lies ahead for TaskForce in the coming year?
We are working on some interesting new initiatives that will broaden and deepen our capabilities to support community members across all our services, from alcohol and other drugs, to jobs, to mental health and managing workplace issues and aggression.

We have also been forming new relationships with representatives from diverse industries where there is a capacity to connect with people who may be struggling but do not necessarily reach out for support.

The coming year will see the development of some unique interventions that will connect people with the right support, at the earliest possible time.

The coming year will also see programs with new partnerships roll out across Melbourne’s south to support many of our community members who may face barriers to service in mainstream settings.

We are excited to see what these new partnerships bring and the impact that will be felt through building our own capacity to better respond and provide tailored services to our community.

What excites you the most about the coming 12 months?
TaskForce has committed to the newly created role of the Lived Experience Advocate.

We have some amazing peers at TaskForce and this role takes the voices of our peers, consumers and community and finds pathways to promote their voices.

This will only be strengthened through the development of our consumer participation framework and hopefully in taking a team of young people to Youth Parliament.


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