A partnership between Homelessness NSW,
Domestic Violence NSW and Yfoundations

Lara Samway from Community Restorative Centre

Leading Practitioner Award

Lara Samway from Community Restorative Centre

Please give your reasons for nominating this person.

Lara is employed by CRC as a transition worker but her role is very much working as the criminal justice specialist within the Newtown Neighbourhood Centre Boarding House Outreach Service. A unique position requiring her to work closely with 2 separate organisations within the SHS funded program with a very challenging cohort of clients.
Lara is extremely passionate about her work and committed to her clients. People coming out of prison into homelessness in NSW are faced with an extremely challenging set of circumstances. Lara ensures that her clients have access to as many options in housing as possible. Lara has strong advocacy skills and is creative in enabling clients to access boarding houses as quickly as possible to avoid prolonged periods in T.A. She devotes huge amounts of time and energy to assisting to find housing solutions for this most marginalised group through persistency and determination. The support she provides enables clients to access the housing register for social housing extremely quickly. This combined with her case management skills means that her clients are provided with optimal opportunities in their transition back to the community.
However, not only does Lara provide an exemplary service to clients within the capacity of her role, she is amazingly committed to supporting colleagues as well as the aims and objectives of both services. Lara is incredibly enthusiastic and is always first to volunteer to take on additional responsibilities. She recently provided a workshop to all transition staff at CRC on how to successfully navigate different housing options providing valuable resources and passing on skill and knowledge. Lara took on many tasks in CRC’s NAIDOC day celebration, and even offered to take up a potential temporary role (that would have meant a great deal of personal disruption) in Broken Hill to support CRC staff in that region. Lara deserves this nomination for her sheer hard work, dedication and results in reducing homelessness.

What outcomes were delivered as a result of this person?

The evaluation of Lara's contribution is included within the CIMS reports produced by the Boarding House Outreach Service

Reference statement:

Michelle Bryant

Lara Samway is an extraordinarily dedicated and passionate worker who always goes the extra mile to support and advocate for her clients.  She is full of energy and enthusiasm and always approaches her work with a very high degree of professionalism.  Lara has developed a very strong industry specific knowledge base and initiates and develops creative ideas and capacity building initiatives which are of great benefit to her co-workers and the wider organisation.  Her dedication to her role is quite remarkable.  She always has her clients’ best interests at heart and at the same time is very mindful of working well in a complex team environment, always being very supportive of co-workers and colleagues.
Lara really enjoys networking and making strong connections with other organisations to help provide additional supports for her clients.
I also worked with Lara as her manager once removed when she was a case worker at The Salvation Army’s Oasis Youth Support Network.  There she was a passionate worker who thrived in a crisis environment, often handling extremely difficult situations which she managed with both skill and compassion.  In her role at Oasis she also developed some great initiatives to engage clients in very creative ways and always took great pride in her work.
Lara has achieved so many great outcomes over the years for many clients.  She is a very quiet achiever with a lovely warmth and ability to connect with people.  Working with a diverse range of clients with extremely complex needs, Lara consistently demonstrates an exceptional ability to provide a very broad range of support services with a kind, compassionate and very non-judgemental approach.  I whole heartedly support this nomination for Lara and believe she should be recognised for her outstanding achievements in her work.