From this week, NCOSS staff will be doing monthly placements at the Vinnies Community Hub in Blacktown, Western Sydney. The Community Hub is the first of its kind, opening back in March 2017. With over 20 volunteers on the roster, the Hub provides assistance to around 200 people a month.
NCOSS CEO, Tracy McLeod Howe, said “This is a huge privilege for the NCOSS team and we count ourselves so lucky that people accessing The Hub gift us permission to hear their stories. The way we will honour their trust in us, is to ensure their lived experience comes through in our advocacy to government.
“Already, we have been educated about the real impact on communities of various government policies combined with the soaring cost of living. It’s hitting people hard. We are truly thankful that NCOSS member St Vincent de Paul Society NSW has facilitated this opportunity for our team,” said Ms Howe.
Our first staff member to begin her Vinnies placement is NCOSS Business Manager, Amy Carland (pictured below left, with Blacktown Hub Coordinator, Penny Wood).
Amy described her day as “one with a great deal of learning. The issues that people were experiencing were many and varied, from housing and homelessness, to family violence, to needing assistance with bills or fuel to view potential accommodation. Seeing the impact of the assistance that the Vinnies employees and volunteers were able to provide, and getting to hear to people’s stories, was a hugely rewarding experience.”
Hearing people’s stories, experiences, hardships and hopes makes our advocacy and policy stronger. It helps us pinpoint where service gaps exist and where policy changes are needed. These placements will help NCOSS staff continue to work with and for people experiencing poverty and disadvantage in NSW, and to make positive change in our communities.