Human Services collaborates with 26TEN to promote literacy

An innovative program promoting literacy awareness among Centrelink payment recipients will now be rolled out more widely across Tasmania following the success of a community trial in Bridgewater.

The Department of Human Services and the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology (RMIT) teamed up 2 years ago in Bridgewater to meet a growing need for literacy support in the local community.

Region Manager for the Department of Human Services Matthew Oliver said the collaboration has since been joined by adult literacy skills network 26TEN and Learning and Information Network Tasmania (LINC) to offer literacy assistance to local communities across the state.

“I am proud to announce that this partnership will now be expanded to other locations to empower more Tasmanians to navigate government services with confidence,” Mr Oliver said.

“One of the key aims of National Social Inclusion Week 2015 (21 – 29 November) is giving everyone the opportunity to participate fully in society, and this program certainly embodies this year’s theme of Collaborate, Connect and Celebrate.

“Staff at the Bridgewater Service Centre now regularly refer people to the local LINC for literacy support, and we are very pleased to join the 26TEN network given the important connection between literacy and accessing government payments and services.

“Literacy awareness training has improved our outcomes when helping people with reading and following instructions to access online services.

“Although the official partnership with LINC and 26TEN is quite recent, the feedback suggests people are already benefiting, personally and financially.

“We are committed to helping people learn and giving them ongoing support so they can have the confidence to help themselves and improve their situation.”

The Bridgewater LINC Manager Dee Scott said government correspondence can be difficult, even for those with good literacy levels.

“Literacy is more than just reading and writing, and for many people the various forms and letters sent from government organisations are difficult to comprehend,” Ms Scott said.

“Working with the Department of Human Services, which supports so many people in need at different times in their lives, means we can offer many more people support with their literacy and give them an insight into what services are available in their own community.”