UnitingCare making differences in regional communities
During May, Peter Worland Interim Executive Director UnitingCare NSW.ACT visited with a small group of dedicated staff running a range of specialised support services that are making a significant difference to the lives of many individuals and families in parts of western New South Wales.
“I was so impressed with the work being undertaken in Dubbo by the team and the other organisations it partners with,” said Mr Worland.
“The services are meeting a great need and are really helping the UnitingChurch fulfil its social justice charter in these communities,” he explains.
The following two UnitingCare Burnside services highlight the work of some of these services and the positive impacts they are having on local residents and communities.
UnitingCare Burnside Child and Family Team
This team of 22 staff runs seven programs (three of which are Aboriginal identified) covering case management, counselling, parent education and therapeutic groups, child and young people groups, and community activities.
The team was recently invited to join a partnership of Dubbo organisations and government services to discuss and implement a strategy in response to an escalation of violent and anti-social behaviour occurring in a public housing area.
The ‘Dubbo Activity Partnership Group’ organised to deliver a range of activities to appeal to all ages in one location. The aim is for services to form relationships with residents in this community and to provide age and socially appropriate activities to promote a sense of the community being unified in supporting their children.
More than 260 people attended on the first day and participated in activities such as craft, face painting and touch football. Ambulance and fire brigade vehicles were on show and a barbecue lunch was provided.
The DOORWAYS Program
DOORWAYS is a service for people aged 16 – 23 who are homeless or at risk of becoming homeless. It has been operating for 13 years. While it’s based in Dubbo, the service is available to young people throughout the wider region.
Recently, a young expectant couple (both aged 17) came to DOORWAYS following a breakdown in relationships with their immediate families.
DOORWAYS staff helped them find short-term accommodation in a caravan park and register for Centrelink payments, and also helped them apply for rental accommodation.
Some basic household items such as a kettle, toaster and cookware were also provided by DOORWAYS, who put the couple in touch with other services that provided help with food packages.
The couple obtained a rental property and although they suffered a setback with the young man being jailed for a criminal offence, the assistance offered by DOORWAYS has made a significant difference.
The young woman is now in safe and secure accommodation and is ready for the birth of her child.