A local organisation that provides a range of critical support services to those most in need in our community is at risk of folding.
The Tumut and District Neighbourhood Centre, which has been helping people for more than 30 years, is in desperate need of more volunteers to keep the service afloat.
The volunteer management committee has dropped to just three members following a number of recent resignations and there’s a need for more volunteers to enable the centre to continue offering its diverse range of services, which include referral to support agencies, and help in accessing financial assistance .
A crisis meeting will be held on June 11 where the Neighbourhood Centre committee hopes to attract enough people to keep the organisation running.
Neighbourhood Centre co-ordinator, Phillippa Martin, said without more volunteer members, the centre would struggle to continue functioning.
“The centre is currently undergoing a period of instability and there is a dire need for more community support in order to ensure we continue to support and serve the Tumut district,” Mrs Martin said.
“There was nothing in the federal budget for low-income earners and our services are going to be more important than ever.”
The neighbourhood centre acts as a one-stop shop for information, support and referral to both government and non-government services.
Accessing government funding, as well as tapping local resources, namely volunteers, the centre gives emergency relief for those with nowhere else to go, providing food and clothing, as well as facilitating access to state government programs like the Energy Accounts Payment Assistance, which can deliver up to $480 a year to people battling with their rising power bills.
The centre does much more than provide critical welfare assistance; there’s a community garden, seniors computer kiosk, tax help, financial counselling and a disability advocacy service, as well as the op-shop, which provides affordable clothing, books and household items..
The after school childcare and youth connection programs are run next door and facilitated by the Neighbourhood Centre Committee, while the centre can be used for meetings for community groups and organisations, and volunteers are there for those who just want to drop in have a chat or coffee.
“The centre’s main job is to know and understand the community and respond to the needs of the local people,” Mrs Martin said.”We work with people to provide support for them in meeting their needs and endeavours to empower them.”
The centre has been part of the community since opening in 1981 at its location of 173a Wynyard Street. It was initially bought and established specifically for the people of the Tumut Shire by the local council, to be run and utilised by the community.
“We’ve been connected to our community since 1980,” Mrs Martin said. “ In many ways it’s an archive of our town.
“It would be such a shame to lose it.”