Neighbourhood Centre makes a real difference

San Remo Neighbourhood Centre.Kerry’s at the Food For Thought restaurant at San Remo Neighbourhood Centre.

Community workers are the quiet achievers and the backbone of our society, but they rarely get the recognition that they deserve, says San Remo Neighbourhood Centre Manager, Clr Jillian Hogan.

“They don’t stand out from the crowd, yet through the bushfires, the floods and now COVID-19, they have served their community, and these are the quiet achievers who need to be recognised,” she said.

“They stand alongside all essential workers and our community workers, youth workers and, importantly, our volunteers, assessors and drivers are our heroes who have continued to work and support people through a different place in time, uncovering deeper issues of poverty and desperation with commitment and selflessness,” Hogan said.

Councillor Jillian Hogan works at the San Remo Centre

“Let’s give a big shout out to community and youth workers, the quiet achievers who are essential and invaluable to the fabric of our community.

“They have lined up like everyone else to get their food and essentials at the supermarket.

“They lined up to purchase toilet paper for the elderly and sanitary items for young people.

“They may have a work shirt on with a logo that goes unnoticed.

“They normally work at Neighbourhood Centres supporting our most vulnerable people, those who have fallen on rough times.

“There are women experiencing family violence, homeless women with children in cars, elderly people abused by their children and families, people who are hungry and haven’t had a meal for days, children and young people who can’t go to school because they don’t have lunch or even a pen or backpack.

“There are people with mental health issues and people with a disability who struggle to understand NDIS and access government supports.

“Then there’s the unemployed and casual workers who need a shower and to wash their clothes.

“There’s also our young people who suffer with acute anxiety, our young people who are experiencing and living in a world of uncertainty and fear.

“Our young people are our future, but sadly, too many are homeless, unemployed, isolated and confused.

We have a health, economic and social crisis which our staff and volunteers have stepped up and worked harder and faster to meet demand from the initial fallout, and will continue to do so for a long time coming to help heal and recover.

“They support the mental health and social needs of all people, and importantly, they support the financial needs by putting food in people’s bellies, giving people a warm blanket or toys for the kids and genuinely showing compassion, understanding and care.”

Hogan shares Kerry’s story, one of the volunteers at San Remo Neighbourhood Centre, who before COVID-19 ran the community restaurant, Food For Thought.

“Kerry brought tears of laughter to hundreds of isolated people with her quirky themed days,” Hogan said.

“She now signs off as Kez the San Remo Neighbourhood Centre Uber driver. Kerry said she was grateful for the opportunity to be a part of the centre’s team.

“Chosen to be a delivery driver has been the most amazing experience that l have had.

“Meeting, greeting and delivering to so many different people who have been affected by COVID-19 has been amazing,” she said.

“Their stories and situations are sad, some are devastating, and just grab your heart.

“Homeless people, families, teenagers and pensioners, who without the help that has been given by our centre, who knows what would have happened to them.

“We try to make it easier for people by helping with vouchers for petrol, the supermarket, pharmacy, power and telephone.

“I have also helped with fresh food deliveries, clothing, bedding, games and actually anything that is asked of us, we do our best.

Meeting these amazing people face to face has taken me on a journey that l won’t ever forget.

“So, to the most amazing centre and all the wonderful workers, thank you for making a difference in people’s lives”.

Source: Media release, Jun 14 San Remo Neighbourhood Centre