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Hearing Australia launches new partnership with Project 614

NDIS and Government Services Minister Bill Shorten launches the Hearing Australia partnership with The Salvation Army in Melbourne.

A new partnership between The Salvation Army and Hearing Australia has launched at Project 614. Based out of the Salvos’ Magpie Nest Cafe in the Melbourne CBD, Hearing Australia will now provide hearing services to people who may be homeless, have drug and alcohol addiction or have mental health and general health issues.

“The work they have been doing in the cafe in recent times has been transformative for some of the most vulnerable people in our community,” said Major Brendan Nottle, Project 614 Corps Officer.

“Hearing Australia are conducting hearing tests in a very relaxed and informal environment and helping to provide the support people need to become reconnected with the community once again. We are really looking forward to a long and fruitful partnership with Hearing Australia, and we believe that some of the most vulnerable people in our community will benefit significantly from this partnership in the cafe.”

The Magpie Nest Cafe provides free meals, crisis intervention and support, and general and ongoing support to people in need, including people experiencing homelessness, people living in boarding and rooming houses, asylum seekers and international students. Now, it will also provide regular support services for listening and communication.

The Hearing Australia team at the launch.

“Hearing Australia is proud to partner with The Salvation Army to provide hearing services to their clients visiting the Magpie Nest Cafe,” said Kim Terrell, Hearing Australia Managing Director. “Just like the Salvation Army, we’re committed to improving the lives of others, regardless of their age, location or background. Our mission is to provide world-leading research and hearing services for the wellbeing of all Australians.”

Hearing loss impacts 3.6 million Australians, with more than 1.3 million people living with a hearing condition that could have been prevented and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children suffering from a higher rate of ear disease.

“This is an exciting new partnership and pilot initiative,” said Joseph Pinkard, The Salvation Army’s Disability Inclusion Lead. “It will help contribute to The Salvation Army’s strategic priority of ‘supporting those who need it most’ by increasing access to vital hearing services for some of the most vulnerable in our community.”

The Salvation Army’s Intercultural and Disability Inclusion Team inspires and equips people so that cultural diversity and disability inclusion is embedded in the organisation’s mission. 

The Salvos work to support young people with intellectual disabilities at services like Skills 4 Life and offer disability-specific services at Employment Plus.

The Salvation Army’s National Disability Inclusion Lead, Joseph Pinkard.

“Ensuring there is equitable access to hearing services for all not only benefits the individual but also our society,” explained Joseph. “The World Health Organisation estimates that unaddressed hearing loss poses an annual global cost of over AUD$1 trillion. This includes health sector costs, cost of educational support, loss of productivity, and societal costs (World Health Organisation 2023).”

The new services now offered at Project 614 include reviews of hearing and communication needs, selecting, fitting and helping people make good use of hearing devices and ongoing clinical care and device repair services.

“The Salvation Army Magpie Nest Cafe at Bourke Street sees over 500 people a day,” Brendan said. “We are extremely grateful to NDIS and Government Services Minister Bill Shorten for connecting us with Hearing Australia.”


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