History

Australia is one of the most ethnically diverse nations. Migrant communities are ageing at a significantly faster rate than the general population. According to the most recent census, roughly 30% of the aged population aged 65 years and over are from Culturally and Linguistically Diverse (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.

Italian Home@Home social support group on outing

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 commenced on the 1st of July 2000, whilst the organisation was officially incorporated in April 2004.

The founders of Umbrella Inc. realised mainstream services providers 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 who deliver Commonwealth Home Support Program (CHSP), Home Care Packages (HCP) and Community Visitors Scheme (CVS) to over 1000 clients including seniors from LGBTI+ backgrounds. We are also part of the Aged Care System Navigator Trials.

Umbrella staff with local members of the community

Our services are provided by support staff who speak more than 40 different languages, are culturally trained and are from different migrant backgrounds themselves. Umbrella is also home to one of the largest multicultural volunteer teams with 80 people who speak roughly 27 languages.

Between staff, volunteers and clients Umbrella speaks 57 languages and has representation from 67 different countries!

Unique to Umbrella, clients are matched with carers based on religious, lingual and cultural compatibility and gender requirements. These matches are long lasting because carers get the opportunity to consistently work with the same clients and build working relationships with them.

At Umbrella we love employing people from migrant backgrounds and providing them with career growth and opportunity. Many employees go on to become managers and senior leaders in their fields both within Umbrella and not. Our system has increased diversity and representation in the aged care workforce with qualified and experienced bilingual service-people.

We have successfully delivered several community development projects to 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.

Umbrella has serviced thousands of seniors from CaLD backgrounds in the past 20 years. As a result, the communities we work with have a much better understanding of the Australian aged care system and access to 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 the best practices, demonstrated by placing the most vulnerable groups at the heart of developing every policy and service provision. Our policy design will benefit clients and improve the system for everyone.

Umbrella Board Members

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.

History

Hon Julie Bishop MP opens Umbrella Inc