Allen treads a new path
By EMMA CORNFORD
GRAFTON'S Jane Allen has trod a few different career paths since she trained as a nurse in Sydney.
Her latest appointment is to the Council of Social Service of New South Wales (NCOSS) board ? the state's peak body for the social and community services sector.
The election to the board is a prestigious step for Ms Allen, who has been employed by Clarence Valley Community Programs since 1992. But given her past experience, it should come as no surprise.
Ms Allen has been on numerous boards, including Families Australia, and has been president of the Association of Services Supporting Australian Families.
Not only that, Ms Allen is passionate about getting services into parts of the community where they will make a difference.
"I think I can give NCOSS a regional perspective because it's a very different process with services in rural areas than in the city," she said.
"It's very important that the rural voice is heard."
Ms Allen said she was looking forward to the opportunities being on the NCOSS board would present.
"It will be good to be able to lend a voice in informing the government about the different needs in our community ... and capturing the diverse needs of the community," she said.
"I just feel privileged that the constituents of NCOSS felt I had something to offer on the board."
Although taking the step from nursing to welfare may seem more like a leap, Ms Allen pointed out there were numerous similarities between the two.
"On one level yes, they are quite different, but a lot of what you're doing in nursing is looking at the whole person so in that sense it's quite similar," she said.
NCOSS plays a coordination, advocacy, policy development, leadership and information role for the social and community services sector.
Although Ms Allen's interest is in family services, the organisation convenes sector-wide forums and advocacy groups in areas including aged care and children's services.
It also helps to shape the public policy agenda by responding to government proposals and initiating projects which take up the concerns of the community sector.