Melbourne International Singers Festival is proud to present Fantastic Festival Concerts on Sunday June 11th

GALA Festival Concert #1

5.00pm – 6.30pm

Featuring the spectacular Divine Divas of Sunbury conducted by Adam Przewlocki, Musica (Queensland) conducted by Melissa Gill and Men Aloud! Conducted by Dr Jonathon Welch AM

GALA Festival Concert #2

8.00pm – 9.30pm

Featuring Co-cheol, award winning a cappella quartet with spine tingling harmonies taking you on a journey to the Celts and beyond, and THECHO!R one of Melbourne’s most exciting non-auditioned choirs, created and conducted by Dr Jonathon Welch AM

Tickets at

1 ticket: Standard $24.90 / Concession $21.90 / student or child $16.90
2 concert package: Standard $44.90
NB Transaction and booking fees may apply

Proceeds from the Festival support the School of Hard Knocks providing arts and cultural programs to the vulnerable and marginalised in our community. Please check our website for information about the Festival and the work of the School.

Enquiries Call 0419 337 283 or email

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Free to the Public Information & Support

Evenings for Family & Friends of Drug or Alcohol addicted loved ones


Support & Education Evening for Families and Friends Affected by Drug or Alcohol Addiction

The First Step Program is proud to announce a series of Information and Support evenings tailored towards families and friends of those affected by Drug and Alcohol Addiction.

These evenings will seek to provide a forum for families and friends to build support networks and to acquire insight and coping skills for dealing with those affected by Drugs and Alcohol.  Evenings will include the opportunity for group discussion and problem solving.

Thursday April 20th, 5-7pm:         What is addiction and what are the treatment options? Medical perspectives.  Presented by Dr Peter Wright.   Discussion facilitated by John Chellew, Social Worker

Thursday May 25th, 5-7pm:         Coping strategies.  Implementing boundaries, reducing conflict and improving communication.  Facilitated by John Chellew, Social Worker

Thursday June 22nd, 5-7pm:       Addiction and the Law.  Presented by First Step Legal Service Principle Lawyer, Tania Wolff.  Discussion facilitated by John Chellew, Social Worker       

Where:                                                 First Step Medical Clinic

                                                                42 Carlisle Street,

                                                                St. Kilda VIC 3182

Cost:                                                      FREE OF CHARGE

                                                                *note places strictly limited, if you are unable to attend please provide 48 hours notice so that your place may be allocated to someone else in need.

Bookings:                                            03) 9537 3177 or

Included:                                             Light refreshments

Places are strictly limited and will be assigned on a first-come-first-served basis.  

Run by The First Step Program. 

Supported by the City of Port Phillip Community Grants Program.

(insert First Step logo) (insert City of Port Phillip logo)

There’s cause for celebration and concern in how Australians are giving to charity

Roughly 60% of donors to Australian charities give on the spur of the moment

Some 80.8% of adult Australians – 14.9 million of us – contributed financially to charities and non-profit organisations in 2015-16. At A$12.5 billion, total giving was well up from $4.7 billion a decade ago. The average donation of $764.08 was up too in real terms, by $210.16.

However, the percentage of people donating dipped from 87% over the same period. Annual data on tax-deductible donations tells a similar story, underlining the concern about a flatlining future for Australian charities if fewer people donate.

Trends emerging from the Giving Australia 2016 study, previewed last December, are cause for both celebration and concern.

Volunteers giving more

Some Australians are doubly generous, giving their time and their dollars. This link between volunteering and donating was clear in the Giving Australia research.

Those who both gave and volunteered donated nearly twice as much on average as givers who did not volunteer ($1,017.11 compared to $536.69).

An estimated 43.7% of Australians volunteered an average of 2.5 hours a week, and a median of 55 hours over the year. This was up from 44 hours in 2005.

Virtual volunteering is on the rise. Approximately half of all charities had a volunteer program offering virtual opportunities – with nearly two-thirds of this via mobile phone.

Larger businesses giving more

In 2015-16, businesses gave a total of $17.5 billion. This was made up of:

$7.7 billion in community business partnerships (80% from large businesses);

  • $6.2 billion in donations; and
  • $3.6 billion in (non-commercial) sponsorships.

Even though they make up just 0.2% of Australian businesses, larger businesses were more likely to give, and in greater amounts. They now commonly report seeing their contribution to their surrounding communities as an ethical obligation.

‘Planner donors’ giving more

Some people give on the spur of the moment. This applies to roughly 60% of donors.

Others consider, plan and deliberate about their giving. Some sign up to give in a sustained way month by month. Others might sit with their children and plan what donations they will make as a family in the year ahead.

On average, these “planner donors” donate six times as much in a year as the impulse donor.

Technology and social media bypassing some charities

Technology and social media are increasing in both penetration and influence when it comes to charities. Crowdfunding, where people and their networks give directly to individuals and causes, has gathered momentum. This is part of a broader wave of direct citizen action.

In many cases, this results in charities being cut out of the giving process.

Technologically, the charitable sector runs the risk of being left behind. Nearly one-quarter of charities (23%) still do not have a website. Data security was a sector concern, as was the age profile and tech-savviness of non-profit leadership.

Philanthropy – stable priorities but changing processes

Nearly three-quarters (72.5%) of respondents to the survey of philanthropic foundations and philanthropists that was part of the study had not changed their preferred areas of giving in the past decade. These remained focused on social services, education and research, health, culture and recreation, and development and housing.

What has changed since 2005 are the processes of giving. Philanthropists and foundations are making greater use of initial expressions of interest and online technologies for applications and their review.

They are also proactively searching for non-profit organisations to fund, and increasing initial checks on non-profit organisations’ capacity to deliver.

Collective giving momentum

Group giving in its various guises has grown – whether as a family, school, workplace, or as one of the newer collective giving structures.

Examples of the new structures are giving circles – groups of people who pool their donations and decide together how to disburse them – like Women and Change, Impact 100 Sydney North, Impact 100 Fremantle, or popular dragons-den-style events such as The Funding Network and 10 x 10.

Givers are interested in the chance to share common values and to bond with like-minded people that collective giving offers. They also like learning about different non-profit organisations and community needs, and being able to multiply the impact of their giving.

What’s next?

Giving comes in many forms. Australians have differing discretionary amounts of money, time and goods to donate, so people give according to their means.

The impact of giving is immense in more than dollar terms, both for the recipient and for the giver. But the decreasing giving participation rate is a concerning trend that needs to be monitored.

This article was co-written by:
Wendy Scaife
[Associate Professor and Director, Australian Centre for Philanthropy and Nonprofit Studies, Queensland University of Technology ]and
Christopher Baker
[Research Fellow, Asia-Pacific Centre for Social Investment and Philanthropy, Swinburne University of Technology]

Be inspired and make a real difference at Hand In Hand – a Celebration of Courage, Joy & Love!

Presented by School of Hard Knocks

Melbourne Town Hall, Saturday 10th December, 3pm

Do you long to listen to beautiful arias from your favourite operas, groove to gospel and swoon to classics that you know and love? Do you want to celebrate this Christmas just a little bit differently?

Hand In Hand, presented by the School of Hard Knocks seeks to raise funds for the School’s new women’s and men’s choral programs, No Excuses! and Men Aloud! singing out against family violence! “The School of Hard Knocks is so very excited and proud to offer these choir programs for such important causes and to help build positive physical and mental wellbeing through singing!” Dr Jonathon Welch, the Founding Artistic Director of the School of Hard Knocks said.

Gather your family, friends and colleagues together and come along. We would so very much welcome your support! Hand In Hand has a myriad of featured artists Liane Keegan, John Bolton Wood, XL ARTS, the Absolutely Everybody massed chorus, the award winning Footscray Yarraville City Band, THECHO!R, Hallelujah Gospel Chorus, Dr Kathleen McGuire and Dr Jonathon Welch AM.

A range of balcony and cabaret seating options, with or without refreshments are available. Tickets start at just $28 for adults and $23 for concession and under 18