Have you ever had to contact Centrelink? Then you know how hard it is to get onto them and the difficulty in getting all the information you need—being transferred from one person to another—in one visit or phone call.
Perhaps you are seeking help for an aged relative or a friend who has been badly treated by the authorities—surely there must be something that can be done? Well there is, if you know who to approach and what documentation you might need to provide.
St Paul's Anglican Church, Burwood came up with an answer to this dilemma. On Thursday 8th March, the Parish organised and hosted its Social Cohesion Hub. Providers from many different services; Housing NSW; Births, Deaths and Marriages: Centrelink; Legal Aid; Anglicare; Dressed for Success; Mates on the Move; Vinnies; the Ombudsman; the Police Local Area Command and other services came together in this one place. This gave people an opportunity to access all these services, and where necessary they could visit several different services all on the one day.
St Paul's was ably assisted by the team from Anglicare who put on a sausage sizzle for everyone, as well as non-stop morning tea. In addition there were gifts for everyone—men and women. Rosemary King, Lay Minister said:
We are very grateful that so many service providers gave up their time to come.
The Anglicare team, especially Narelle Hand and David Ip worked so hard behind the scenes and on the day to make sure that everything had been thought of. Natasha Williams, from Burwood Council gently encouraged providers (that I had been unable to access) to come. Jacqui Thorburn from Jodi McKay's office worked the whole morning supporting people with various needs, especially with the Ombudsman and Legal Aid. Vanessa Papastravos from our Federal member, Craig Laundy's office was also in attendance. He also spoke at length with the Rector, Fr James Collins about our next project—a mobile medical clinic.
All the providers plan to meet within a fortnight to decide the way forward from here. There is one thing fairly certain—this is just the first of many.
The hall was crowded and humming with activity. All clients left saying that they had had their needs met. There was enormous goodwill on the day.
Finally from the St Paul's Church organisers: 'Thank you to everyone who contributed in any way at all. It was much appreciated and went towards the success of the day. Thank you.'