SERVICE QUALITY & IMPACT
We believe everyone deserves to belong to a community where they can access friendship, care, and support.
The work of our Community Inclusion directorate brings people in from the margins of society to the centre, wrapping tailored support around them to help them thrive. We support the most vulnerable people in our communities through material and practical assistance, social connection programs, wellbeing initiatives, and educational opportunities.
SHANE’S COOKING JOURNEY LEADS BACK TO THE GARDEN
TWO YEARS AGO, ONE OF OUR FRIENDLY STAFF MEMBERS DEVELOPED A RAPPORT WITH SHANE AND CONNECTED HIM TO THE ONSITE COOKING PROGRAM.
Shane had been visiting our Ozanam Learning Centre in Woolloomooloo for nearly 10 years, playing pool but not actively engaging in social programs. Then, two years ago, one of our friendly staff members developed a rapport with Shane and connected him to the onsite cooking program.
He soon became a regular at Friday’s cooking class, developing confidence in skills that were once quite challenging for him, including working closely with others and trusting his own instincts and knowledge. Shane’s keen involvement with the cooking program led him to a partner program in gardening, through which he got to tend the rooftop garden at the Matthew Talbot Hostel and the nearby Bourke Street Community Garden.
It wasn’t long before Shane was visiting the Matthew Talbot Hostel in his own time, watering, weeding and harvesting vegetables. When that became impossible due to coronavirus restrictions, he joined the Bourke Street garden’s Sunday working bee, then took the next step to join the garden as an independent, fee-paying member.
Now he regularly lends a helping hand with both gardens, and even plans to enrol in an introductory horticulture course at TAFE. Learning to grow and cook his own produce, and tend to a beautiful garden, has given Shane a new outlook on life and a new career path.
The 2019/20 financial year has presented many challenges to our delivery of these services. The Black Summer bushfires caused widespread disruption and displacement, while the COVID-19 pandemic led even the most socially connected among us to feel the pain of isolation. Yet we saw the tireless dedication of our members, volunteers, and staff, who pressed through these emergencies to continue providing our services when they were needed most – often in innovative ways.
This year, we have introduced a wide range of online workshops, community groups and events to build people’s capacity and enhance their wellbeing, including educational activities such as guitar lessons and TAFE cafe skills; wellbeing activities such as meditation, yoga, dance and gambling counselling; social engagement activities such as remote games and mic-drop music sharing; living skills programs such as work development orders and rental support.
Our various community hubs are a focal point for the above capacity-building activities, as well as places to find financial, material, and emotional support. This year, the Hubs provided a range of services including:
- More than 6,000 meals to locals facing poverty and homelessness at the Illawarra Hub;
- Creative Space in Bowral which enables participants to develop confidence, the individual capacity to contribute to their local community, and a richer quality of life. In 2019/20 the Creative Space supported 110 people;
- Casework support services and counselling at the Nagle Centre. Over the 2019/20 financial year, the Nagle Centre provided ongoing support to 1,200 people and served 20,000 meals; and
- Local and mainstream services supporting vulnerable people at Pete’s Place in Coffs Harbour.
A SAFE SPACE AT PETE’S PLACE
Pete’s Place, one of our homeless drop-in services located in Coffs Harbour.
“I FEEL SAFE AT PETE’S PLACE AND I FEEL WELCOMED.” – MR C, ONE OF THE PEOPLE WE SUPPORTED THIS YEAR AT PETE’S PLACE
“I am not from here. I had only come down the coast not long ago and I don’t know where anything is. I usually live in the bush – it’s quiet there, less people, you get left alone.
I got really sick from tick bites. I was kind of disorientated, not sure where I was. I was in hospital for a couple of days and then they told me I needed to be discharged. I still felt really unwell and I told them I had nowhere to go.
I had an accident in my clothes when I was unwell. They were disgusting, I had defecated in them and I knew that they stunk. I also had no shoes so had been wandering around in bare feet. I was embarrassed; I just kept walking and walking. I didn’t want to go near people as I knew that I smelled.
I had heard of Pete’s Place. Eventually I found my way there and they were wonderful. I felt so vulnerable, but the people here took care of me. They offered me a shower, found some clean clothes for me, and gave me something to eat and drink. They even got me a haircut which made me feel like a human again and gave me back some dignity.
“I feel safe at Pete’s Place and I feel welcomed.”
– Mr C, one of the people we supported this year at Pete’s Place