THE St Vincent de Paul Society’s Care and Support team in Bathurst is changing the way it assists people to make sure those in need receive a hand up and not just a hand out.
Community members are now being asked to make an appointment to see a Care and Support volunteer, and not just call in at the cottage in Keppel Street.
“The St Therese Conference has been operating a drop-in service for the community for many years. We decided to change the way we do things because we believe we can offer a better, more comprehensive service this way,” St Therese Conference president Bernadette Mullaney said.
“Instead of dropping in, they will have a scheduled appointment with trained volunteers who can spend the time exploring their situation in more depth and planning a way forward together.
“This could mean making referrals to other services or linking in with other support organisations.
“We believe this is a more proactive and collaborative way of supporting people.”
The Bathurst Care and Support team has assisted approximately 500 clients in the past year, providing 450 interview hours as volunteers.
Team members helped people with approximately $55,000 in food parcels and $9800 in food vouchers.
They provided assistance with medical expenses totalling $3400 and transport assistance worth $3900 and also distributed Energy Accounts Assistance Program (EAPA) vouchers worth more than $51,000.
“The number of people facing disadvantage is growing in Bathurst. We hope that by moving to a more formal appointment-only model and working closely with other organisations, we can provide a better service and deliver improved outcomes for everyone we assist,” Mrs Mullaney said.
The phone number to call for appointments is 6331 4094.