Collaboration is a process described by Taylor et al (2021) through which organisations who have different perspectives about an issue, or who can address different aspects of it, can constructively search for solutions together. The solutions will go beyond one partner’s own limited vision of what is possible and intervene more than their own scope of practice.

As a podiatry charity with finite resources, Footscape recognises the importance of collaboration in our strategic plan.

Collaboration with over 50 like-minded health and welfare organisations has allowed Footscape the opportunity to reach and assist thousands of people experiencing disadvantage across Australia who encounter foot pathology.

During the brutal 2022 winter, demand for podiatry material aid by such affiliates reached record highs. I’m therefore proud to report that during this vulnerable period Footscape distributed an astonishing 12,000 items of footwear, socks, ‘Foot Care Kits’ and orthotics for an overall tally that now surpasses 60,000 items.

Recipient affiliate organisations and beneficiaries of this material aid included:

  • Cohealth and Star Health in their delivery of podiatry clinical services for homeless persons.
  • St Kilda Mums and Big Group Hug in providing material aid for young children of vulnerable families.
  • Wellington Local Aboriginal Land Council and Wuchopperen Health Service in their offering of diabetic foot services for First Nation persons.
  • Fitted for Work and Ready, Set in providing footwear and clothing for disadvantaged persons seeking employment.
  • Women’s Housing and YWCA in their delivery of care and services for vulnerable women.

As Baum (2016) articulates – if public health is to be effective in the future, an essential skill for practitioners is to be able to collaborate with people, organisations and sectors. The skills needed to manage the challenges we are likely to be faced with appear to be: flexibility, willingness to question current practice, an entrepreneurial approach to problem-solving and a willingness to take risks and step around bureaucratic blocks. Accordingly, I’m delighted to announce that Briggate Medical Company recently agreed to serve as a platinum sponsor of Footscape and contribute towards this vital material aid project work. Over the next twelve months Briggate will provide Footscape with materials to produce five hundred foot care kits.

 

Since 2016 Footscape has been assembling and distributing ‘foot care kits’ through project affiliate organisations. The purpose is to empower people experiencing homelessness, First Nation persons and asylum seekers through daily self-care practices and improved foot health. Such individuals with complex health needs may have difficulty prioritising their foot health despite the risk of problems, including diabetes complications.

 

Footscape has equally been aware that fallout from the Covid-19 pandemic has resulted in limited clinical services being provided by public podiatry services. Therefore, the ability of affiliate organisations and their podiatrists to distribute ‘foot care kits’ and maintain continuity of care has been well received by all concerned.

I thank Mark Dannals and the team at Briggate Medical Company for helping Footscape manage this heightened material aid demand and promote foot health amongst disadvantaged persons.

 

Footscape encourages other reputable businesses to support our project work by becoming official sponsors of our charity. Available packages are outlined here. Please note, as Footscape is registered with the Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission financial contributions are deemed tax deductible.

© Copyright 2021 The Australian Podiatry Association

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