Mark Fitzpatrick

Mark Fitzpatrick

Chief Executive Officer, St Vincent de Paul Society (WA) Inc.

Over a number of years I had been aware of the work that ECU does around the role of communication in our community.

As the CEO of the St Vincent de Paul Society in Western Australia I wanted to see how the role of communication can impact on the issue of families being caught in the intergenerational cycle of dependence of welfare. After a few initial discussions with Professor Lelia Green it was easy to see how our two organisations could work together to look at a complex issue through a different lens.

Professor Green and her team really tried to understand what we are trying to do at 'Vinnie's', particularly in attempting to address the reason why people are coming to us for help.

After a number of discussions, Professor Green approached us with an impactful way to integrate what we do every day with a research focus in breaking the cycle of disadvantage in Australia.

We then worked together on an ARC Linkage Grant, which we were successful with.

The work since then has been a true partnership, one based on mutual respect. Not being researchers ourselves it can be a hard area to navigate, but the team from ECU took all of these issues away while, at every step, were making sure we were confident with the approach and the information. They were very open to our approach and respectful of the areas that we held as important to us.

We are still in the early stages of our research partnership with ECU – one that we are very happy with and are looking forward to the outcome of.