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Breakfast and scones with the ‘Mayor of Windang’ The HopeStreet Warilla North Community Centre team is mourning the loss of one of their own. Long-time volunteer, Kevin Brislane, beloved Breakfast Club champion, expert scone maker and consummate MC of the ‘Born Again Boutique’ fashion parades, passed away on 27 April at the age of 79. Kevin was a larger than life character who used his friendly persona and larrikin heart to make a meaningful difference to the people of his beloved community. For over five years, Kevin volunteered at HopeStreet, before a decline in health made slowing down a necessity. During that time, he was a regular of the local Breakfast Club team, providing a hopestreet.org.au

nutritious start to the day for primary school children from disadvantaged backgrounds, who would otherwise go without a regular breakfast. “Kevin wanted to make a positive contribution and a difference to his community. He knew the area and its people well. He called himself the Mayor of Windang!” said Cinzia Burrell, Manager of HopeStreet Warilla North Community Centre. Kevin always championed the work of HopeStreet, making himself available and offering help wherever it was needed. When spirits needed lifting, Kevin would arrive with a delivery of his freshly baked scones, covered in jam and cream, and then serve them up with a hot cuppa to the Born Again Boutique and HopeStreet teams. “We couldn’t do what we do without our volunteers, and Kevin was truly special. He

brought smiles to the faces of everyone around him too. We miss him,” said Cinzia Farewell, Kevin. And thank you.

AFFORDABLE FOOD A donation to HopeStreet will keep programs like the Breakfast Club operating where they are needed most. ONE in FIVE CHILDREN in Australia has experienced food insecurity in the previous 12 months*. Of these, at least once a week:



go to school go to school without eating without a breakfast packed lunch or lunch money


go to bed without eating dinner

hopestreet.org.au/donate * Foodbank Hunger Report 2018 Winter 2019


Hope Narratives Earlier this year, HopeStreet Women’s Services launched ‘Hope Narratives’, an anthology of stories from the women experiencing stigma, demonstrating resilience and finding belonging. Jess Davidson, Women’s Services Manager, shares the journey of this stereotypeshattering publication.

headlines and I learned that stories are powerful. They challenge the stereotypes we hold, and change our understanding of people and their experiences. Instead of sympathy or judgement, stories allow us to empathise and see someone as our neighbour instead of the faceless and unknown ‘other’.

“It’s easy to see something in our society like homelessness, drug addiction or sex work without empathy: as a headline, or a statistic. I once held the same view.

We wanted to give women the opportunity to tell their own stories, without speaking for them. We could see how it would empower women and give them a platform to share their own voice. We wanted to tell stories that show the strength, resilience and potential our clients have.

Through working with Women’s Services, I got to know the stories behind the

Read more about the individual journeys of the women featured in ‘Hope Narratives’ and discover what inspires the staff at HopeStreet Women’s Services through their work. You can purchase your own copy for $20, visit hopestreet.org.au/donate and choose ‘Hope Narratives’ in the drop down list.



The result is ‘Hope Narratives’. Through the many voices who contributed to this publication, we hope that preconceptions might be challenged, so that readers may see the commonality of people with different experiences than their own. The women who contributed to this publication, generously shared their stories, poems and experiences and after many months, we had a magazine. With an army of volunteers (graphic designers, photographers, artists, make-up artists and hairdressers) women had the opportunity to have beautiful photos captured. True partners in the process, they decided what photos they wanted published and gave final sign off on the use and placement of images and content relating to their stories. Smiles beam as women share the magazine with their friends and family while celebrating the strength of others. As one woman reflected ’Reading the magazine made me realise I am not alone, others are ‘out there.’ It’s absolutely beautiful and incredibly inspiring’.”

Winter 2019



A leg up, not a hand out A few short years ago, Lisa was living with her parents as a single mum with a young daughter in tow. With a financial past that included bankruptcy, she felt trapped and anxious about the future.

“I have learnt my lesson with.”

When Lisa secured public housing, she knew she’d need to buy furnishings and a fridge for their new home.

Looking ahead, Lisa’s outlook for herself and her daughter has changed. “As a single mum, I’m never going to be able to afford a big loan as I can’t be working

“I heard about BaptistCare’s StepUp (low interest) and NILS (no interest) loans and met with our local Loans Coordinator. She went above and beyond to help me,” said Lisa. “Access to the loan has helped me make some big leaps. I’ve been able to move my daughter and me into our own little unit and furnish the place. I’ve been able to get myself back into work,” said Lisa. The past, while difficult, taught Lisa valuable lessons around finance and independence. “The bankruptcy was the result of me being too trusting with an ex-partner. He put me in debt and I couldn’t get myself out so I had to go bankrupt,” said Lisa.


“Access to fair finance has helped my anxiety. The money I am paying back helps me to feel in control, but it’s not a lot. I am still able to afford to live. It’s a leg up, not just a hand out.”

full-time to pay off a house or anything.” “But eventually I will need a new car. Through the help of fair finance, I can purchase something reliable. It’s the little things like this that give me peace of mind about going into the future.” Through accessing safe and affordable finance, Lisa has been freed of the stress and anxiety of financial uncertainty.

Since 2008, BaptistCare HopeStreet has provided over $13 million in no interest and low interest loans to individuals and families like Lisa. Percentage split for loan type No Interest Loans (NILS)

51% 49%

StepUp (Low Interest Loans)

Average $ amount for each loan type





A donation to HopeStreet will ensure that our Loans Coordinators can continue to provide financial education and support to those in need of fair finance.


Winter 2019



My name is Naomi Growing up in West Africa, Naomi was only eight years old when civil war broke out forcing Naomi and her family into a life of refugee camps where she grew from a child to a woman. Despite the hardships, Naomi fell in love with a man living in the refugee camp. She had dreamed of a future away from her past and at the age of 30, Naomi came to Australia to marry and start a new life. Soon after, Naomi’s husband began to control her life. He decided who she should meet, where she would go and if she could work. When they had their first child, he condemned her for not giving him a son. When she gave him a son, he claimed it was not his. She did not see it at the time, but she was being controlled through verbal, emotional and social abuse. For years, Naomi was too ashamed to ask for help. She would spend her days pushing the pram walking the streets. At night, when the threats and the yelling became too much, hopestreet.org.au

she would hide behind their apartment building, holding her baby in her arms. Alone together in the dark.

children and I ran away.” After a short stay in a women’s refuge, Naomi and her two young children moved into BaptistCare Domestic Violence Accommodation Services. She has now finished an Aged Care course at TAFE, learned to drive and bought a car with a no interest NILS loan. When applying for Australian Citizenship, her DVAS case worker helped with the process.

It took genuine courage for Naomi to finally leave. She was alone in a country far from home, yet she knew that she was not free. “I remembered an important lesson from my childhood. Something my parents taught me. When home is not safe. You escape. You find refuge,” Naomi said. “Just like my parents did so many years before, I picked up my

“I am now a real Australian! My children and I are safe and we are building a future together,” Naomi shared.

DONATE TODAY TO SUPPORT WOMEN AND CHILDREN EXPERIENCING DOMESTIC VIOLENCE. Recent BaptistCare research explored the prevalence of domestic abuse amongst Australian women, their level of knowledge and ability to identify abuse, and whether they know where they can receive support. Of the 1,001 women surveyed aged between 18-65:


don’t know where to go if experiencing or fleeing domestic violence


unaware of the seven types of domestic violence


feel they have experienced domestic violence


Winter 2019



The long drive home Domestic violence continues to be the main cause of homelessness in Australia.**

The tragic loss of *Jan’s husband and the father of her children to suicide opened her up to be abused by another man, who robbed her of her worldly possessions and in fleeing from him, she found herself living in her car on the streets with her loyal old dog, Shy. “I thought I needed to be taken care of. I was weak and tended to be victimised,” said Jan. “He took everything.” In her fifties, tonight Jan will be forced to move from one roadside to another, often several times before dawn. She is in constant search for safety.

While her nights are filled with fear, Jan has found a silver lining in the form of the friendly faces at BaptistCare HopeStreet. “The world outside is scary, but you learn to cope. I move around a lot, but HopeStreet always feels like home,” said Jan. “The people here don’t discriminate. They give me constant help and support.” Jan has access to a cooked meal, a safe shower, laundry facilities, clothing and practical help. More often than not, that hot meal might be the only one she eats that day. HopeStreet Community Centre Manager Dianne says winter is the most challenging time. “I know Jan in particular gets really cold. Layering up

can be a challenge, she’s a petite woman, and we don’t always get those smaller sizes donated.” Despite her ongoing challenges, Jan feels she has grown in confidence since accessing support from BaptistCare HopeStreet. “I don’t need to rely on anyone else. I’ve got my independence back. I have a new awareness of my own happiness in being.” We know it’s a long journey home from homelessness – join us in standing by people like Jan experiencing homelessness this winter. *Name changed for confidentiality

**Domestic violence & Homelessness www.sbs. com.au/topics/life/culture/ article/2017/06/29/ tragicreality-domestic-violence-maincause-homelessness-australia

“The people here don’t discriminate. They give me constant help and support.” hopestreet.org.au

Winter 2019


Tonight she’ll be forced to move from one roadside to another, often several times before dawn.

Help people, like Jan, on the long journey home from homelessness PLEASE DONATE TODAY


Become a HopeStreet Share your time, gifts and talents to make a difference in the lives of others We have opportunities across all centres including:

Arts/Craft Helper

CafĂŠ Assistant / Community Barista Centre Helper

Shop Assistant

Warehouse Assistant

For more information contact volunteering@baptistcare.org.au or 0490 293 463

Profile for BaptistCare

Hope Newsletter Winter 2019  

Hope Newsletter Winter 2019