Member Spotlight: Frontier Services
Frontier Services provides community support and recovery, volunteering and pastoral support to people in remote Australia. This includes:
- Short-term volunteers to assist families in need, with Outback Links
- Patrol Ministry and pastoral support
Frontier Services is a charity and national agency of the Uniting Church in Australia that grew out of the pioneering work begun in 1912 by the rev John Flynn (“Flynn of the Inland”). As the successor in the Uniting Church to the Australian Inland Mission, Frontier Services has supported the people of remote Australia for more than 100 years. Frontier services aims to work with and empower communities to overcome the disadvantages of living in remote locations such as Aboriginal communities, on isolated properties or mining sites.
Outback Links has 1400 volunteers registered and works with around 500 families, mostly farmers, across remote Australia. For the last 10 years, the Outback Links volunteer program has been supporting farmers through drought, by connecting volunteers to help at their property. Throughout the year, Outback Links volunteers provide short term assistance such as when a farmer is sick and needs to go for medical treatment, or around the birth of a new baby, or when the muster is on and the farmers need an extra pair of hands. Recently, Outback Links has also coordinated ‘tradie trips’, groups of around 30 qualified tradespeople to work for a week on drought stricken properties in NSW and QLD.
Kate Parson is currently running the Outback Links Volunter programs and has a Certificate IV in Volunteer Management from the School of Volunteer Management. Kate grew up spending school holidays working with her uncle as a veterinary assistant around Coonabarabran in North West NSW and has toured country Australia, the Riverina and West NSW with a band raising money and farmers’ spirits after floods and bushfires. Kate is passionate about volunteering and country Australia and the role with Frontier Services was an ideal way to combine her two loves.
Outback Links relies heavily on partnerships to make it work. They regulalry attend the Centre for Volunteering’s professional development networks and find these invaluable. Through their partnerships with NRMA, SALT (Supporting and Linking Tradeswomen), the National Electrical and Communication Association (NECA) they are able to connect with skilled tradespeople and apprentices to bring young people into the program as volunteers via ‘tradie’ trips we run several times a year. They also connect with others in remote and rural support, such as rural financial counsellors and drought relief coordinators.