by Gerard Jose,

Chief Executive Officer,

Bendigo Community Health Services


Hi all,

So very proud to be CEO of an organisation with staff that strive to improve the quality of life of all members of the community and offer our hands to those seeking support.

Our vision for better health and wellbeing across generations is a powerful reminder for me of the reason many of us chose to work at BCHS.

The Bendigo Community Health Services mission is to work hand in hand with our community to achieve healthier lives and this is demonstrated daily with our compassion for others who may have challenges and trials.

This is a wonderful, friendly and multi-cultural community comprising people from all walks of life.

People from many lands have made our city and region what it is today, and whilst I delight in my own heritage and culture, I so enjoy and appreciate the rich mosaic of the many cultures that weave the fabric of our community.

From my experience and observations, it’s clear our organisation works with many others to address embedded disadvantage, warmly embraces newcomers and achieves great outcomes in supporting our communities to be more diverse, tolerant and inclusive.

With our traditional festive season fast approaching, my family and I would like to share our best wishes to all of you, your families and friends for a special, safe and joyous time.

Many people celebrate other than Christmas during the festive season here. With so many diverse cultures living together in harmony, it is certainly not surprising that many celebrations – religious, secular or cultural – are celebrated before, during and after Christmas.

Here is a snapshot:

Artist Haddon Sundblom created and fine tuned the image and story of Santa between 1931 and 1965.

Our festive season sees the end of one year and anticipates the commencement of a new one.

It is a time when we can reflect on the past and plan for the future.

Being aware that many members of our community are not attached to Christmas as a religious celebration, I wish to outline some slightly different aspects to the history of Christmas.

A common theme of all festive celebrations includes people sharing joy and love with people around them. It is also a time of tolerance and care when we often reach out to others, particularly those that are lonely, sad or facing pain and suffering in our communities or around the world.

I truly believe that we can hold onto the spirit of generosity and community care that the festive period brings and apply it for the whole year in building caring and more inclusive people, households, families, neighbourhoods and communities. 

My wish is we now need to maintain our strong advocacy for the disadvantaged and be courageous in our support for our diverse, tolerant and multicultural society.

On behalf of the Board of Directors, the Senior Leadership Team and all our wonderful staff, thank you for your enormous support over the past year and we wish you well for a safe conclusion to 2019 and a happy, healthy and safe 2020.


‘So many gods, so many creeds,

So many paths that wind and wind,

While just the art of being kind,

Is all this sad world needs’ 

Ella Wheeler Wilcox