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Our Team - Open Place

OUR TEAM



The name, Open Place, reflects the intent of the service which is to be place-based, accessible and welcoming. We are open to new ideas and to learning from our service users about what works and what doesn’t.

Michelle McDonald joined Open Place in November 2017 as the Senior Manager. She brings many years of experience working within the human services field in senior management and service delivery roles, predominantly working in the area of Child, Youth and Family. Michelle also managed Berry Street’s Heritage Service for people who spent time in any of its former homes or institutions as children for approximately 4 years.

 Tracey Anderson is the manager of administration at Open Place and co-ordinates the administrative processes attached to the requests for assistance with counselling, support funding, social and support group activities and the travel and family reunion funds. Tracey also manages the administrative processes for the building and for reception. Tracey has worked for Berry Street for over three years and previously held administrative and personal assistant positions in a number of large community and private sector organisations.

Lydia Wasilenko is an Administrative Officer at Open Place who works closely with the counselling team to help organise counselling for Forgotten Australians. Lydia works alongside Tracey, Megan, Sam and Kaylee in the administration team.

Megan Gallagher works in Administration at Open Place and started in June 2018. Megan assists service users with health funding requests and has previously worked in various youth welfare and community organisations.

Kaylee Ison is an Administration Officer at Open Place who works closely with all Service Users and team members. Kaylee supervises our demanding Front Desk service along with many other tasks associated with the position.

Samantha Martin is an Administrative Officer at Open Place who is covering Claire’s position while she is on maternity leave. Sam works in the Admin team and assists service users with Health Brokerage Requests, and works alongside Tracey, Lydia, Megan, and Kaylee in the Administration team.

Eithne Donlon is the Manager of the Records, Coordinated Support and Regional Outreach teams at Open Place. Eithne joined Open Place in March 2017. Previously she worked at Anglicare Victoria and helped to establish and manage the agency’s Heritage Service for people who spent time in any of its former homes or institutions as children. Eithne has also held volunteer positions at a women’s helpline, breakfast program for people experiencing homelessness and teaching at a child care centre in Tanzania.

Lesley Jones is the Senior Coordinator for the Coordinated Support Team, joining the team in May 2017. Previously Lesley worked as a case manager and counsellor with Forgotten Australians and Former Child Migrants at Elm Place in Adelaide as well as having a long career in regional, rural and remote SA as a counsellor, mediator, critical incident stress management facilitator and community educator.

Munni Alves is a Coordinated Support Worker who started in her position in January 2018 at Open Place. Munni worked in the adult mental health field for the past 5 years and in the NDIS space for the last year and a half. Prior to that she worked in the youth homelessness sector for 3 years.

Raymond Clancy started in the Coordinated Support Team in June 2018 working with Lesley and Munni. Raymond has had many years’ experience in the welfare sector predominately working in the housing and youth sector.

Sharon Guy is the Senior Coordinator of Regional Outreach. Sharon joined Open Place in August 2016. Sharon assists Forgotten Australians to access records from their time in ‘care’ and facilitates a number of regional Social Support groups. Sharon works closely with Annie providing outreach support to Forgotten Australians in Western and South Western Victoria. Sharon has 15 years’ experience working with Forgotten Australians from her previous role as the Heritage Coordinator at CAFS in Ballarat.

Annie Fell is the Regional Outreach & Support Worker who started working at Open Place in February, 2018. Annie’s role is primarily to assist service users with access to mainstream and specialist services, and facilitation of the Bendigo, Geelong and Warrnambool Social Support Groups. Annie has 13 years’ experience working in regional and country Victoria in the welfare sector, predominantly working in homelessness, supporting families and Forgotten Australians. Annie also has a 30 years dental nurse experience in the public and private dental health services and continues to have a keen interest in oral health.

Anne Kidd started at Open Place in November 2012 and is a part of the Records, Find and Connect team and works alongside Diane, Charlotte and Siobhan (currently on mat leave) who assist Forgotten Australians to search for their own and their known family members’ records of time in care and past history. Anne has worked in the community welfare sector for the past 26 years including child protection, adoption services, home based care, a crisis accommodation service for homeless young people and an adult homeless service.

Diane Jacobson started with Open Place in November 2015 and is a part of the Records, Find and Connect team and works alongside Anne and Charlotte who assist Forgotten Australians to search for their own and their known family members’ records and past history. Diane previously worked at VANISH from 2002 and has known a number of our Forgotten Australians from that time.

Charlotte Rigoni is part of the Records, Find and Connect team, and joined Open Place in March 2018. She has a background in social work, and particular experience working with refugee and migrant communities at the Asylum Seeker Resource Centre and VICSEG. Charlotte has also worked in the union movement, having a keen interest in social change and community empowerment.

Caroline Carroll OAM is the Community Education Coordinator. Caroline works to help educate other service providers about Forgotten Australians and the ways that the community can work with them. Caroline is the president of the Alliance for Forgotten Australians [AFA]. Caroline is herself a Forgotten Australian and comes to Open Place with a background in providing services and advocacy to Forgotten Australians through her previous role at VANISH and the Interim Service for Forgotten Australians.

Lyn Langanke works alongside Caroline as a Community Educator. She also plays an important role in the Richmond, and Geelong social and support groups. Lyn is herself a Forgotten Australian as is her Brother. Lyn was also married to a Forgotten Australian, who sadly passed away 2 years ago. Lyn has qualifications in community welfare. Lyn has worked at Open Place since it opened in 2010.

David Hartmann is the manager for the Counselling and National Redress Scheme Support services at Open Place. David is a family therapist (Master of Clinical Family Therapy) and joined the Open Place team in April 2010. David’s professional background (outside of family therapy) was primarily in drug and alcohol recovery support services.

Ruth Adams is the Senior Counsellor in our Counselling team. Ruth began working at Open Place in April of 2014. Ruth liaises with external counsellors who provide support to Forgotten Australians through Open Place funding, provides direct counselling to Forgotten Australians and their families, and facilitates the Frankston Social Support Group. Ruth is a professional counsellor with training in psychology, family therapy, and narrative therapy.

Michelle Wald is on the counselling team and has been working at Open Place since 2016. She provides direct counselling and assists Forgotten Australians and their family members to access external counselling services. Michelle has extensive experience in providing counselling to people who have experienced trauma across their lifespan.

Virginia Carey works on the Counselling and National Redress Scheme teams. Virginia worked as a part of our Royal Commission Support team from 2013 until the completion of the Royal Commission’s inquiry in December 2017. Prior to working at Open Place Virginia worked for 7 years with people experiencing homelessness.

Liz Saunderson works on the Counselling and National Redress Scheme teams. Liz commenced working at Open Place in 2014 and is qualified in Mental Health and Alcohol and Other Drugs. Prior to Open Place Liz worked in the health sector.