TDHS Social Worker Hayley Weel September 2020 web

Hayley Weel realises community’s vision for a Social Worker

The community’s vision for a social worker at Timboon and District Healthcare Service (TDHS) has come to fruition with the appointment of Hayley Weel.

Ms Weel was born at TDHS and went to school “across the road”. She clocked on for her first shift last Thursday and is now employed in Timboon three days a week.

The position was one of the priorities communicated via the Community Survey and Conversation Caravan project conducted in 2018.

Ms Weel has experience as an acute and palliative care social worker. She has delivered assessment services for vulnerable children and families and provided counselling at a youth health hub.

“I’ve had a lot of opportunities through my work and Deakin University and now I’m really happy to be back in a rural setting and working in rural healthcare,” she said.

“I think it has been about seven years since there has been a social worker here at Timboon. I’m looking forward to meeting community members and other service providers, making connections and building a service here that reflects what the community wants.

“It’s an amazing opportunity to come here, look at the needs with fresh eyes and build the social worker service offering that the community asked for.”

Ms Weel grew up on a dairy farm in Cooriemungle and enjoyed a gap year working on a farm after Year 12 before completing her Bachelor of Social Work at Deakin University in Geelong.

“I was interested in social work…it probably came from family experiences in Melbourne hospitals and seeing what social workers did there and how supportive they were when rural families had to relocate and things like that,” she said.

“I don’t have a textbook definition of what my role here in Timboon is yet because it will be so varied, but I’ll certainly provide support, advocacy and help community members with their social and emotional wellbeing – and help them navigate the services system.

“We should all acknowledge COVID-19 at the moment and what a difficult time it has been for everybody. There are stresses with parents, children, employers, employees and it’s important we look after ourselves and be kind to ourselves. I’m here to help everyone.”

TDHS chief executive officer Rebecca Van Wollingen said the organisation was pleased and excited to deliver on another community priority from the 2018 engagement project.

“We are really excited to welcome Hayley and add social work to our suite of Allied Health services. This appointment has been driven by the community, for the community in recognition of the importance of mental health,” she said.

“A social worker here in Timboon will benefit many people now and into the future and I once again congratulate the community for sharing its vision for TDHS and providing clear direction to the organisation.”

Community members can self-refer to Ms Weel by calling reception on 5558 6000 or access her services via referral from their own GP.

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