Geelong Father of the Year 2018 Announced

A widowed father of three received an early Father’s Day gift, winning the 19th annual Geelong Father of the Year Award last Friday.

Justin Trotter, who was nominated by his youngest son Harvey, beat hundreds of other men from across the region to take out the top award.

Nine-year-old Harvey Trotter nominated his father Justin for the Geelong Father of the Year Award, believing that his dad was an obvious pick to take out the top prize. Inspired by his father’s resilience and the support he provided to him and his brothers (aged 13 and 16) following the tragic passing of their mother Tina in 2015, Harvey wrote that Justin is more than just a dad he is a “hero.”

The Grade 3 St Anthony’s Primary School Student wrote a touching nomination, lovingly describing his father as a caring, selfless and inspiring person reflecting the type of positive male role model this Award seeks to acknowledge.

Mr Trotter was announced as the overall winner at a breakfast event held at the Geelong Football Club which was attended by almost 300 business and community representatives.

As well as the announcement of the Award winner, guests were treated to appearances by former tennis champ, author and family violence awareness ambassador, Jelena Dokic, as guest speaker, and Ian Cover (of ABC’s Coodabeen Champions fame) as master of ceremonies.

The Geelong Father of the Year Award is a long-standing partnership between Bethany Community Support, the Rotary Club of Geelong and the Geelong Advertiser and celebrates the importance of positive male role models in families and the community, as seen through the eyes of children. In addition, it helps to raise awareness of Bethany’s services for men.

All primary school-aged children in Geelong and surrounding areas are encouraged to make a nomination by explaining why they think their special bloke deserves to be Geelong’s Father of the Year.

This year Bethany received hundreds of nominations from primary school students from Geelong and surrounding towns, including Ocean Grove, Lara, Batesford and Colac. Nominations are accepted for all types of male role models, including fathers, step-fathers, grandfathers, brothers and teachers.

Entries were scrutinised by a judging panel who narrowed the list down to four finalists.

Tickets on sale for The Bethany Ball!

Tickets are now on sale for the inaugural Bethany Ball!

Taking place on Friday 26 October 2018, 7pm at The Pier, Geelong, the event will be a celebration of our journey, evolution and bright future ahead.

We invite you to join us for the celebration, and be a part of our story.

Featuring a 3-course meal, drinks, great entertainment and auctions, it’s sure to be a fantastic night.

We are pleased to announce that celebrated journalist, columnist, radio broadcaster, TV host, author, playwright and comic performer, Wendy Harmer, will be the MC for this event.

Great sponsorship packages are also available – please contact us on (03) 5278 8122 if you would like to discuss opportunities.

Funds raised at this event will support children impacted by family violence.

To purchase tickets please click on link below:


New program to increase housing options

Bethany Community Support Inc has joined forces with Haven; Home, Safe (HHS) to create Housing Direct, a new program which will increase the supply of affordable housing options for people who are experiencing or at risk of homelessness.

Funded by the Department of Health and Human Services, Housing Direct will see HHS provide five homes across the Geelong area, with Bethany providing case management support to enable the clients to sustain their housing and create connections to their local community.

The program, planned to commence next month, aims to increase access to affordable housing for low-income Victorians by providing a range of supports, including a direct pathway to long-term housing, for people experiencing homelessness.

HHS Chief Operations Officer Trudi Ray said Housing Direct would help alleviate the bottleneck experienced by homelessness services in their emergency, refuge, short-term and transitional accommodation.

“People receiving support through the Housing Direct program will see an improvement in their financial stability, as well as their ability to focus on their health and connectedness to community, family and friends,” she said.

“Bethany is an extraordinary organisation, providing a responsive and flexible intake service which considers the complexity of clients’ needs and connects them to the most appropriate service, or services, from a broad range of programs,” Ms Ray said.

Grant Boyd, CEO of Bethany Community Support, said that he was delighted to be able to partner with HHS on this initiative.

“Access to affordable housing continues to be an area of major for many low-income Victorians, and we are proud to be involved with a program which provides practical and holistic support to vulnerable people,” Mr Boyd says.

The inaugural Bethany Ball – save the date!

To mark the momentous occasion of our 150th anniversary, Bethany is pleased to announce the date of our inaugural Bethany Ball.

Taking place on Friday 26 October 2018 at The Pier, Geelong, the event will be a celebration of our journey, evolution and bright future ahead.

We invite you to join us for the celebration, and be a part of our story.

Please visit the event page for more information, and be sure to follow us on Facebook and sign up for news to hear more details about the event as they are released.

We look forward to seeing you at the Bethany Ball!

Geelong Father of the Year Award 2018

Nominations for the 19th annual Geelong Father of the Year Award will open today, Monday 16 July until Monday 13 August, with local children encouraged to nominate a special man in their life who they believe is worthy of the title.

(Click here to download nomination forms or buy tickets to the Geelong Father of the Year Award breakfast.)

The Award is a long-standing partnership between Bethany Community Support Inc., the Rotary Club of Geelong and the Geelong Advertiser and celebrates male role models through the eyes of children. In addition, it acknowledges the important role men play in families and community, and raises awareness of Bethany’s work with men.

All primary school-aged children in Greater Geelong and surrounding areas are encouraged to make a nomination by explaining in 150 words or less why they think their father, or any special man in their life, deserves to be Geelong’s Father of the Year. Since its inception, Bethany has received tens of thousands of nominations, with dozens of local primary schools participating in the activity.

The winner of the Award will be announced at a breakfast event to be held on Friday 31 August at the Geelong Football Club in the presence of over 300 business and community representatives. Tickets for this event will be on sale soon (more information here).

There are great prizes on offer for the winner of the Award, including a family holiday to Queensland worth $2,500, donated by the Rotary Club of Geelong. Each school that participates goes in the draw to win one of three prizes donated by Maxwell Collins Real Estate.

Entry forms have been sent to all primary schools across Greater Geelong and surrounding areas. They will also be published in the Geelong Advertiser, and can be downloaded – along with information sheets and teacher resources – from our events page here.

Geelong Father of the Year Award is supported by Geelong Connected Communities.

Innovative response to family violence will lead to safer families, safer communities

The Hon. Gavin Jennings MLC, Special Minister of State, today officially launched the Bethany Men’s Family Violence Intervention Centre at a morning tea event attended by a number of dignitaries and community sector leaders.

The South Geelong centre provides a coordinated response to increase the accountability and visibility of men who choose to use violence in their relationships.

The innovative service is informed by cutting-edge research and emerging practice and provides a coordinated, cross-sector response to male perpetrators of family violence.

The service model for the Centre fills a current gap in the community’s response to family violence, in particular in services available for male perpetrators.

In planning for the services to be offered from the Centre, Bethany Community Support has addressed the complex array of factors that may re-enforce (not cause) men’s decision to use violence. In a response to this, the Centre will ultimately provide services including:

  • Individual assessment and treatment to male perpetrators of family violence
  • Men’s case management for male perpetrators of family violence
  • Men’s Behaviour Change programs
  • Fathering programs
  • Drug and alcohol counselling
  • Financial counselling
  • Housing and homelessness response

Additional treatment services will be provided as the model develops, including Primary Health Care, mental health assessment and treatment, and other counselling, thus providing a ‘wraparound’ service.

CEO of Bethany Community Support, Mr Grant Boyd, says that this comprehensive approach is core to the model.

“Bethany has been working with male perpetrators of family violence for many years, and we see first-hand the array of issues which can contribute to a man’s choice to use violence,” Mr Boyd said.

“In providing a range of specialist services to address these issues, including the use of violence, we are getting to the true crux of this pernicious social problem,” Mr Boyd says.

“Ultimately, Bethany Men’s Family Violence Intervention Centre will lead to perpetrators of family violence being more accountable and more visible,” Mr Boyd says. “This in turn will result in safer families and safer communities.”

This project is the first of its kind in Victoria and will provide ongoing benefits to the local community, beyond a response to family violence.

“This Centre has the capacity to bolster the reputation of the Geelong region as being a Centre for Excellence in perpetrator accountability work, and will become a beacon of innovation and community collaboration,” Mr Boyd says.

The service will complement and work in close partnership with other family violence services and resources offered in the region, including the Barwon Support & Safety Hub (due to open in Geelong soon).

The Centre also includes well-appointed training facility with the capacity to host 75 people, providing an incredible opportunity for local workers to build their capacity to work confidently with perpetrators of family violence.

Bethany received funding for the project from a capital grant received from Adroit Insurance Group (and administered by Geelong Community Foundation).

Managing Director of Adroit Insurance Group, Mr Andrew Locke, says he was thrilled to see the centre open its doors.

“Family violence is a prevalent issue in our community and one that needs to be addressed proactively, in conjunction with the continuation of ongoing support and rehabilitation to the victims,” Mr Locke says.

“Bethany identified a need to stop this destructive cycle through education and inclusion,” he says. “Addressing the underlying issues that lead to such negative behaviour will save lives.”

“Adroit were proud to be a part of this revolutionary approach and provide the funding through the Adroit Charity Golf Day Grant,” Mr Locke says.

Gail Rodgers, Chief Executive Officer of the Geelong Community Foundation, considers the new capital grant opportunity yet another demonstration of the strong leadership shown by Adroit in supporting our community.

“The proactive partnership between our organisations has delivered a great outcome that will provide significant benefits for our region,” Ms Rogers says.

“The $105,000 capital grant will add to the $6.8 million in grants that the Foundation has provided to community organisations since 2001,” she says.

Further funding for the service has been received from ex-Geelong Cats star Jimmy Bartel’s 2016 Face up to DV campaign, and a private bequest received by Bethany.

Ice Education for Families – free session at Bethany

Family members of people who use methamphetamine (ice) can feel isolated and uniformed. BreakThrough: Ice Education for Families is a free community education program for families who want to improve their relationships with drug-using loved ones.

The program covers key facts about ice, its effects on the brain and body, and strategies for discussing drug use with loved ones, responding to challenging situations and accessing support for the whole family.

Developed by Turning Point, Self-Help Addiction Resource Centre (SHARC) and the Bouverie Centre, BreakThrough is funded the Department of Health and Human Services.

With support from Bethany Community Support, Turning Point will present the BreakThrough: Ice Education for Families session on Wednesday 11 April, 6:00-9:00pm at Bethany Community Support, 16 Ballarat Rd, Hamlyn Heights.

The session is free, but bookings are essential. To register or find out more information, please visit:

Workers are more than welcome to attend also, and should RSVP directly to

A poster with details of the session can be downloaded here.

For alcohol and drug support, call 1800 ICE ADVICE – 1800 423 238 or Direct Line – 1800 888 236.

For mental health support, call LifeLine – 13 11 14.

Bethany Arthouse Film Festival News

After 20 successful years of running the Bethany Arthouse Film Festival in Geelong, we have decided to take a break from the Festival in 2018 to concentrate on activities to celebrate our 150th anniversary this year. This is a significant milestone and we look forward to marking the occasion with some special events and activities. (We will share more information about these events over the coming months.)

Over the years, the Bethany Arthouse Film Festival has enjoyed a loyal following of dedicated Bethany supporters and lovers of arthouse film. We truly value your support and thank you for your attendance at past Festivals.

As we take this opportunity to also assess the long-term viability of the Bethany Arthouse Film Festival in Geelong, we welcome your feedback or comment. Please get in touch by email to or call on (03) 5278 8122.

For our Warrnambool supporters, we’re pleased to announce the return of the Festival in 2018 for a 6th year.

The 2018 program – which will run from April to September at the Lighthouse Theatre, Warrnambool – features five contemporary and acclaimed films from around the globe, spanning diverse cultures, themes and genres.

For more information and to download the program, please visit the events page.

A Bright Future – programs for people impacted by gambling harm

Bethany’s Gambler’s Help team in Geelong runs confidential programs and information sessions for people impacted by gambling harm.

Programs are available for people who require support with their own problem gambling, as well as for people impacted by a family member’s problem gambling.

Learn about the meaning and impact of gambling, develop personal and financial strategies, and gain support in a friendly environment.

To find out more about our current sessions, please visit our Gambler’s help services page and click on the links to view information fliers.

Jobs boost for expert roles in family violence and child and family support

An information session will be held on Thursday 1 February at Bethany Community Support’s Hamlyn Heights office to provide information about new career opportunities which will become available at the Barwon Support and Safety Hub.

The Barwon area is one of five launch sites around the state for the establishment of new Support and Safety Hubs. The Hubs will deliver a fundamental change in the way services work with women, children and families, and men. Hub staff will work with women, children and young people experiencing family violence and families in need of support with the care, wellbeing and development of children and young people, to access coordinated responses from community, health and justice services. The Hubs will also focus on perpetrators of family violence, to keep them in view and play a role in holding them accountable for their actions and changing their behaviour.

The establishment of the Support and Safety Hubs was a key recommendation of the Royal Commission into Family Violence and is part of a long term plan to end family violence in Victoria and help better support and protect vulnerable children.

The Barwon Support and Safety Hub will be based in Geelong and cover the Barwon area. The Hub will include specialist family violence services for women and children, and child and family services staff. It will also provide a first point of contact (via phone) for men who use violence, with further contact occurring at a separate location. By bringing together a range of expert practitioners from different workforces and practices, the Hub will create an integrated team and a consolidated access point to create a new way of supporting local people. The Victorian Government’s investment in the Support and Safety Hubs will see the creation of new employment opportunities for the area.

The Barwon Centre Against Sexual Assault/Minerva and Bethany Community Support are jointly facilitating a recruitment information session to provide information about the career opportunities available in the new Barwon Support and Safety Hub.

If you enjoy working collaboratively and share our vision to create a future where all our community can enjoy safe and respectful personal and family relationships, please come along to our information session to learn more about the new roles available in the Hub.

The recruitment information session will be held on Thursday 1 February at 6pm at Bethany Community Support, 1 Gibbs Street, Hamlyn Heights.

Changes to the Bethany Board of Management

Five new Directors were elected to the Bethany Community Support Board of Management at our November AGM, with retiring Board members and new Life Members also acknowledged at the event.

Tara Paatsch, Frederick Clarke, Lynne Kidman, Chris Bowly and Dr Karen Lane were elected to the Board for their first term.

Geoff Caddy (outgoing Chair) and Sean Mackay retired from the Board, having reached their maximum tenure.

In recognition of their leadership and service to the organisation, Life Memberships were awarded to Fiona Williams, Dr Sandra Lea-Wood, Geoff Caddy and Sean Mackay.

Find out more about the Bethany Board of Management here.

Bethany to receive inaugural Adroit Golf Day Capital Grant

Bethany Community Support is delighted to have been announced as the beneficiary of a major capital grant from Adroit Insurance Group and the Geelong Community Foundation. The $100,000 grant will be derived from proceeds from the Adroit Golf Day, to be held on 23 November at 13th Beach Golf Club in Barwon Heads.

Adroit received 21 applications for the grant and, ably supported by the Geelong Community Foundation’s Grants Committee, undertook a robust grant review and interview process resulting in the grant being awarded to Bethany Community Support. The grant will be used to enhance Bethany’s family violence services with the development of a Men’s Centre.

The development of the Men’s Centre in Geelong will play an important role in addressing the issue of family violence in the local community, and will fill a current gap in the community response to family violence, in particular in services available for men who perpetrate violence or who are at risk of perpetrating violence.

The Men’s Centre will provide a multi-disciplinary response to the issue, by providing a suite of services for local men – both in the prevention and response to – family violence. Bethany has a bold vision for a service informed by cutting-edge research, which will provide men the opportunity to access services ranging from Men’s Behaviour Change programs to counselling, GP services, fathering programs and mental health assessment and treatment.

It is known that men who use violence often present with a complex array of factors which enforce (not cause) their decision to use violence. The Men’s Centre will provide men the opportunity to receive a tailored response to address his decision to use violence as well as to address any re-enforcing factors, such as alcohol and drug use, poor mental health, housing instability or homelessness, unemployment, disability, problem gambling, and so forth.

This is a highly innovative project which aims to provide ongoing benefits to the local community including employment and training opportunities, as well as contributing to a reduction in incidences of family violence. The Centre will be the first of its kind in Victoria.

The development of plans for the Centre are now underway, and are being strongly informed by current and emerging research and successful practice. An appropriate site for the Centre is currently being investigated, with an announcement is expected to be made later this year.

Bethany Community Support is extremely grateful to Adroit and Geelong Community Foundation for their support of this innovative project, and look forward to working with both organisations.

Welcome to our new look website!

Welcome to the new Bethany Community Support website! Whether you are a current client, someone looking for information about the type of services we provide, a job-seeker or just curious – we hope you find the new site easy to navigate and informative. We would love to hear from you if you have any feedback about the website, or about the refreshed Bethany logo (visit the Contact page to find out how to get in touch). You may also like to visit the new Bethany Kindergarten Services website, too.