Bridges cover photoStrategies for Professionals and Communities

Ever have clients who…

Have TV, stereo and video games but no money for rent, food and ‘basics’?
Don’t turn up for appointments and don’t know what they want?
Often treat you and your agency with disrespect, suspicion, and/or disdain?
Don’t seem to care about work, next week, or their long term future?
Appear to engage in decision making that ‘just doesn’t make any sense’?

Turn all this around! The ‘Bridges Out of Poverty’ Workshop can take a lot of stress out of managing your caseload and optimise outcomes for the people with whom you work. This training is designed for

  • practitioners, case managers and policy makers
  • community organisations
  • law enforcement
  • counsellors
  • employment agencies
  • health care professionals
  • church communities
  • social service providers
  • welfare agencies, and
  • community leaders

Change the way you see people!


An in-depth presentation includes:

  • why clients often behave the way they do
  • how economic class affects behaviours and mindsets: the hidden rules of generational poverty, middle class and wealth
  • how those differences affect opportunities for success
  • the eight resources that make a difference in success
  • strategies for optimising outcomes with individuals and families
  • improving retention rates of new employees from poverty
  • interventions that improve outcomes
  • the impact of language registers, discourse patterns and story structure on relationships and outcomes
  • strategies that make a difference to all of these issues

DAY 2: APPLYING BRIDGES CONCEPTS (NB: Day 1 is a pre-requisite)


  • the role of family structure in attitudes and behaviours
  • the skills of mediation
  • relationship building
  • mentoring
  • how to assist clients from poverty to learn quickly, explore options, and develop future stories
  • how to use mental models to communicate effectively
  • developing an action plan to improve services to clients

This workshop introduces strategies for changing program designs, policies, and procedures to improve outcomes. Participants will use case studies to identify principles of change and apply the material to their own practice.

Social Solutions is happy to tailor workshops to specific sectors such as Health, Business, Justice, Housing, Welfare, Employment, Early Childhood, Community Renewal, Churches or Local Government. Equally, we can deliver a training to address whole community needs, dealing with some of the challenges and issues that impact every sector.


Bridges out of Poverty has provided a new level of understanding for service providers in Bendigo who are working with clients who have experienced intergenerational poverty. I asked several of the disadvantaged people I work with to attend in order to assess the workshop from their perspective. They all affirmed that Bridges was “spot on” in identifying their experiences and culture. One employment consultant commented after she attended the workshop, “Now I understand why Sharron is not turning up to appointments”. A few months later, I asked her if the workshop had changed her work practices. She said that, because she had a better understanding of the differences in her and her client’s ways of thinking, they were communicating better and getting more positive results. I commend this training to anyone who is working with people from disadvantaged backgrounds.

FRED LANGENHORST, Employment & Learning Coordinator Bendigo Access & Employment, Victoria

I found the training very useful. It explained not only why some of my clients behave as they do, but also why I have such difficulty in accepting some of their behaviours. It taught me as much about myself as about them and I think that I will be able to use this information for a long time.

FIONA RYAN, Parent Resource Co-ordinator Parentzone, Victoria

The Bridges presentation by Nairn Walker was excellent. She managed to pack an enormous amount of information into an engaging presentation that used real life examples throughout. The workshop is incredibly helpful in the work we do, particularly with young people and their families, and I now regularly include what I learned that day in conversations, meetings, and training days to bring it to the attention of others so they too can share in this key information. I can highly recommend learning about this framework as the foundation for communicating with people on all levels.

MARY TRESIZE-BROWN, Manager Youth Transitions, Brotherhood of St Laurence, Victoria


BRIDGES OUT OF POVERTY – How the workshop was developed…

Bridges Out of Poverty: Strategies for Communities and Professionals is the collaborative result of Dr Ruby Payne, author of A Framework for Understanding Poverty, Terie Dreussi Smith, and Phil DeVol, an organisational consultant on poverty issues. Their work has been instrumental in transforming communities and redesigning programs which ensure sustainability and better serve people in poverty.

Their material provides profound insights and answers to community professionals, agency workers and allied health practitioners serving client bases challenged by financial and social disadvantage. It explores the notion of hidden rules that dictate how each of us operate within different social classes and contexts and the impact that our language base, resource set and family structure have on how we – usually unconsciously – view and interact with the world.

Another of Phil’s works, Getting Ahead in a Just-Gettin’-By World: Building Your Resources for a Better Life, is a powerful how-to manual based on the knowledge of people living in poverty. With a focus on knowledge transfer, this text provides people with powerful mental models in order to develop formal register language, knowledge of hidden rules and tools for creating their own future stories in order to be more successful, effectively access or develop resources and build capability and community sustainability for everyone.

Social Solutions is proud to offer both Bridges Out of Poverty Workshops for practitioners and community members and Getting Ahead in a Just Gettin’ By World Facilitation Training for individuals and organisations who would like to offer this powerful force for change to their communities.


To attend a Social Solutions ‘Bridges’ event or to find out about organising an event for your organisation or community please call us on 03 6328 1174 or send an email to [email protected]