Weaving a New Cloth:  Adapting the Weavers carer peer support model within multicultural communities

Dr Rosy Walia1

1Multicultural Care, Campsie, Australia


In this presentation, Dr Rosy Walia (CEO) will explore:

  • How Multicultural Care is adapting the Weavers carer peer support model for application within CALD communities using a co-design approach
  • How evaluation is building an evidence-base
  • What the initial findings tell us

The presentation will include (either in person or via video) the personal perspectives of a Weaver/s volunteer/s and a carer/s.

Multicultural Care (MC) is a well-established Sydney-based not-for-profit specialising in the support of older people and people with disability from culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) backgrounds.  In 2018, with NSW Carer Investment funding, Multicultural Care commenced a two-year partnership with The Australian Centre for Social Innovation (TACSI), to adapt, implement and evaluate TACSI’s carer peer support model, Weavers, within multicultural communities.

The Weavers model involves recruiting volunteers (Weavers) who use their personal caring experience as a resource to provide one-to-one peer support for other carers.  The lived experience of the volunteers, together with a rigorous strength-based practice framework, delivers a powerful person-centred approach.  Demonstrated carer outcomes include increased capacity to negotiate the service system, stronger community connections and improved emotional wellbeing.

Whilst the Weavers model has been successful in a variety of settings, it has not been widely applied within multicultural communities.  Whilst it is well-recognised that CALD carers experience multiple barriers in accessing support, there is no evidence-base to inform the development of effective strategies. This project aims to build an evidence-base to inform the future application of the Weavers model within CALD communities.

Value of the information to the delegates and how it relates to the ACSA summit

CALD clients are recognised as a “special needs” group in aged care due to the multiple barriers people from CALD backgrounds experience in accessing suitable care.  This new project sheds light on access barriers and explores strategies for improved engagement and support which will be of value to conference participants.

The Weavers peer support model will be of interest to other providers as it can be applied within other organisational and community settings.  Our project is aimed at building an evidence-base to support the future adaptation and scale/spread of the model within CALD communities and beyond.

The co-design approach is a model developed by TACSI aimed at finding workable solutions to complex issues, informed and shaped by those who are affected.  The co-design approach has broad application in the design and development of new services.

The project relates well to the conference themes (Purpose, People, Performance).

It links to Purpose in that evaluation (of performance as well as social outcomes) is built into the project design and we will share some of the initial findings.

It links to People in multiple ways.  The model is co-designed with the end-users.  It is a one-on-one strengths-based model.  It delivers a totally person-centred approach built on the relationship between carer and volunteer. It relates to improved engagement with people from CALD backgrounds. It also relates to new approaches to volunteer recruitment, training and support.

It links to Performance by exploring new approaches to service design and considering the broader implications of the project.

Any outcomes of projects / business development

Stage 1 and 2 of the Multicultural Weavers Implementation has now been conducted as the early

development phase of the two-year partnership between The Australian Centre for Social Innovation and Multicultural Care. The aim of this phase of implementation is to strengthen and develop the capacity for Weavers within the organisation and to establish the conditions for successful roll out of the program. This has involved recruitment and training of the Local Connector and first cohort of Weaver volunteers. We have also developed processes and tools that support delivery, monitoring and evaluation of the program. A couple of matches have been done. It will be followed by mid term review to tweak the model further to suit the needs of CALD communities.

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