Companion Profile Doug Newman & Janice Ackland - South Coast

­­Doug Newman, Batemans Bay Pastor - Disaster Recovery Chaplaincy Network

Janice Ackland, Bushfire Recovery Pastoral Care Worker - Anglicare Moruya 

Doug and Janice both tell us in different conversations that they have very different styles when it comes to running groups – and how this worked well when they facilitated the Seasons for growth seminar together in Batemans Bay. Janice being creative, Doug describing himself as more instructive.

Janice Ackland, a Bushfire recovery pastoral care worker from Moruya and Doug Newman, a Pastor who’s role is part of the Disaster Recovery Chaplaincy Network are part of a ‘Community of practice’ on the NSW South Coast where adults can engage in Seasons for Growth an evidence based program – seminar or small group to explore the impact of change, loss and grief on them. 

13 people attended that first seminar and it ignited a passion for Janice to plan more sessions – small groups and seminars in neighbouring Moruya, and other local areas, partnering with other trained ‘Companions’

The 19/20 bushfires bought much change and loss and for individuals and communities, but as we well know people don’t experience natural disasters with a blank slate, very often there are stressful life events already occurring for individuals and families such as financial worries, relationship issues, homelessness, bereavement, and certainly following a natural disaster everyone is under even more pressure. Doug acknowledged ‘Life transitions can be stressful too – moving home, downsizing when a rural property gets too much’ Loss is something we all experience in individual and collective ways.

Having people such as Janice and Doug offering support, a safe place to share and someone to ‘walk alongside’, the acknowledgment that grief can be present in so many change and loss experiences is what ‘Seasons for growth’ is all about.

Janice and Doug saw the many benefits of providing the 3-hour seminar – including ‘people being really attentive’ as Janice shared ‘I think they learnt a lot about the grieving process, how valuable it is to name their grief, and the great value of shared experience - they are not alone’

The Seasons for Growth adult program training funded by NIB and CERA enabled 12 Chaplains and 15 community-based workers to take a the program out into the South Coast community.