Australia is one of the most ethnically diverse nations. Migrant communities are ageing at a significantly faster rate than the general population. Currently, around 30% of the aged population aged 65 years and over are from CaLD backgrounds. Despite this, people from ethnically diverse communities remain under-represented in aged care services and they struggle to find appropriate aged care services responsive to specific cultural needs.
For a long time, ethnically diverse community members advocated for grassroots, bottom-up solutions to the issues experienced in their communities. This unmet need gave rise to Umbrella Multicultural Community Care Services Inc in 2000. The original Umbrella HACC program was commenced on 1 July 2000, whilst the organisation was officially incorporated in April 2004.
The founders of Umbrella Inc. realised, mainstream services provided at the time were not suitable for vulnerable, resource-intensive seniors. They wanted inclusive communities and have everyone under one umbrella of quality care services.
Today Umbrella Inc. is a multi-award-winning, not for profit organisation. We deliver Commonwealth Home Support Program (CHSP), Home Care Packages (HCP) and Community Visitors Scheme (CVS) to over 800 clients from 67 different countries including seniors from LGBTI backgrounds. We are also part of the Aged Care System Navigator Trials.
Our services are provided by culturally trained, diversity aware and bilingual support staff who are also from culturally diverse backgrounds and speak over 40 different languages. We also has one of the largest multicultural volunteer teams consisting of over 100 people who speak over 27 different languages. One of the unique features of Umbrella Inc is clients are matched with a support worker based on the person’s language, cultural, religious or gender requirements. These matches are long lasting and build on trust and mutual respect between the person and the worker.
We employ people predominantly from migrant backgrounds and provide them with new career opportunities . Many of them going on to become managers and senior leaders at Umbrella Inc and other organisations. This has increased diversity in the aged care workforce with qualified and well-trained bilingual workers.
We have successfully delivered several community development projects to Culturally and Linguistically Diverse (CaLD) groups such as the Mobile Information and Support Van, drop in style computer sessions to increase seniors digital literally skills and seminars and workshops about My Aged Care in different languages.
We have representatives serving as experts on national and state advisory groups and have maintained an active profile in local community initiatives. Umbrella Inc. is committed to, and passionate about, improving care and services for people, particularly those who are disadvantaged or facing adversity.
We have serviced thousands of seniors from CaLD backgrounds in the last 20 years. As a result, the communities we work with have a much better understanding of the Australian aged care system and they access services in a timely manner.
Our knowledge and expertise is shared via the organisational representatives who sit on different committees and panels including Partners in Cultural Appropriate Care (PICAC), Federation of Ethnic Community Council (FECCA), Aged Care Services Australia (ACSA) and National Network of Multicultural Aged and Community Care Providers to support the development of many of the current diversity frameworks, language policies and actions plan around the country. Umbrella Inc was also invited to be part of a round table discussion for the Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety where we shared our experience and knowledge of culturally appropriate care delivery with the commissioners.
For many decades, seniors from CaLD backgrounds have been treated as footnote in policy development for aged care friendly policies, often seen as just as add on or side issue. Umbrella’s aim is to present best practices which demonstrates by placing the most vulnerable groups at the heart of every policy development and service provision, will benefit clients, but also can improve the system for all.
Umbrella’s innovation and commitment has been recognised through several major industry awards including the ACSA Aged Care Awards 2018 (Individual), ACSWA Aged Care Award 2016 (Small provider), two of the Cultural Diversity in Ageing Excellence Awards 2018 (Individual Distinction and Service Delivery), finalist for the HESTA Aged Care Award 2017 (Individual distinction), COTAWA Award 2016 (Organisation category), and ACSA Employee of the Year Award 2019.