Giving a hand up

Spreading the word: Anna Burley, Garry Lyford and Kim Wiesner are looking for ways to help to community members in need. Picture: Anne Keen
Spreading the word: Anna Burley, Garry Lyford and Kim Wiesner are looking for ways to help to community members in need. Picture: Anne Keen

When someone finds their cupboard bare, there is a way to get support.

The Bucketts Way Neighbourbood Group (BWNG) is the place in Gloucester to go to if you are in need of a helping hand.

With the assistance of Emergency Relief funding, the centre is able to stock the food pantry with nutritious food staples, nappies and toilet paper for anyone to access when they’re unable to buy the essentials.

It’s a small amount of funding used creatively to try to cover some of the need in the Gloucester region. A range of items are packed up into a bag, worth around $25, to be handed out when needed. The pantry stores enough for around 50 bags a month and sometimes it isn’t enough.

The amount of people who are working poor is unbelievable.

Anna Burley

BWNG Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Anna Burley said the centre sees a cross-section of the community come in for assistance.

“It’s a service to give people a hand up, not a hand out,” Ms Burley said.

She explained how there are a lot of people in the region with low income jobs, who are struggling with household stresses as they are unable to afford their rent or mortgage payments.

“The amount of people who are working poor is unbelievable,” she said.

There was a public meeting held on Thursday, March 16 at the Uniting Church that attracted around forty members of the community, to talk about the issue of homelessness in the Gloucester region. 

The meeting was hosted by the Barrington Tops Greens and addressed by Anna Burley, (BWNG) Emergency Relief Manager Neighbourhood Group, Kim Wiesner and Senior Constable from Gloucester Police, Scott Chester.

Barrington Tops Greens member, Garry Lyford said, “It was soon evident from their presentations that homelessness was just one piece in a complex picture of poverty, unemployment, family breakdown and mental illness.

“Gloucester has not been spared these issues that are increasingly evident in the big cities. As housing and rentals become more unaffordable in the cities there has been a drift of people to smaller towns and an increase in their need for support services.”

Ms Burley said the hardest step is for people to come through the door and ask for help.

“A lot of people are unaware the service is available,” she said.

The purpose of the meeting was to open up a dialogue with the community about the issue.

They are putting a call out for anyone interested in getting involved to contact Garry Lyford on garrylyford@hotmail.com or leave your name with the BWNG on 6558 2454.