IT'S hard to understand the impact a program can have on people until a participant speaks openly about their struggles and how different their life is now.
The Bathurst Uniting Support Services (BUSS), a new program aiming to help disadvantaged people in the community, was launched at a special event last week.
As part of the launch, attendees heard from registered nurse Angela Thornhill, who runs the Substance Use in Pregnancy and Parenting (SUPPS) program, one of the programs BUSS will be involved in.
Ms Thornhill was joined by a participant in the program, Hayley Spice, who is a big advocate of the benefits of SUPPS.
The program helps women in a number of ways, but one key area is providing multivitamins, which have been shown to be extremely beneficial in the birth of healthy babies.
Unfortunately, SUPPS does not receive funding for the multivitamins, which cost $260 per mother.
BUSS hopes to raise money to help support the purchase of the vitamins.
"As a community, we want to show love and support to young mums whenever we can because their life is ahead of them and their health is important," Bathurst Uniting Church member Ellie Mowbray said.
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Ms Spice, who used to smoke marijuana, spoke about the incredible impact SUPPS has had on her life.
She said that Ms Thornhill was always reminding her about appointments and giving her support as she overcame her drug habit.
"Since having bub, she's still making sure that me and bub are still getting to our appointments," she said.
"... I don't have a huge support network and having just Ange is like having a huge support network in one; she does so many things."
Ms Spice encouraged other pregnant women and mothers who are struggling with addiction to reach out to SUPPS for help.
"I was always scared to be honest about my using, I was in denial because I was scared to trust ... but there are people you can talk to," she said, adding that her relationship with her children has also improved.
"I didn't realise with my children how it was affecting them, I didn't see it, because I didn't see myself how they saw me.
"I feel like I've gotten my kids back. We're so much closer now."
BUSS was born from the Uniting Safe Shelter initiative, which had to evolve after the start of the pandemic.
In addition to supporting SUPPS, the service will offer a series of programs to support individuals and families experiencing disadvantage.
They include weekly barbecue breakfasts at the Chifley Opioid Clinic, Fun with Food activities for families, the Bathurst Buddies Program, pastoral care and morning tea, and grocery vouchers and Christmas hampers.
The shelter cafe will also return to provide free hot lunches, showers, sleeping bags and clothing to people in need on Saturdays and Sundays, between 12pm and 2pm, in the Uniting Church Hall.
BUSS coordinator Julie Fry said there will be plenty of opportunities for community members to lend a hand with the programs.
"Check the Facebook page. It will have opportunities to volunteer, donate and many other wonderful things," she said.
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