It has taken a decade for Judy Mitchell’s vision to become a reality and along the way the compassionate coordinator of the Singleton Neighbourhood Centre (SNC) has endured many frustrating moments.
But today these bumps in the road were a distant memory as Judy and her dedicated president, Sue George, unveiled ‘TheOpenDoor@SNC’ – a unique facility with a dual purpose.
It will provide amenities such as showers (including disabled), a laundry and kitchen for people doing it tough as well as a valuable community space.
From their ongoing corporate sponsor Glencore to community groups like volunteers from the Men’s Shed who provided their expertise, they both expressed their deep gratitude to everyone who has supported the project.
Prior to the obligatory cutting of the red ribbon, Member for the Hunter Joel Fitzgibbon, Upper Hunter MP Michael Johnsen and Glencore's community relations manager Craig Strudwick were given a strict two minute deadline when it came to the official speeches.
Mr Fitzgibbon says it’s always wonderful to celebrate the achievements of those doing such great work in our local communities.
And, while it’s great to provide government financial assistance, the success of the SNC is more a result of the community’s support and the people behind it.
Lead by the SNC, The OpenDoor@SNC is housed in a building refurbished with funds raised predominantly from the local community with support from Glencore Australia, the Commonwealth Government’s Stronger Communities Program, the NSW Government’s Community Building Program, Glencore Ravensworth Operations as well as Singleton Diggers, Ashton Coal and a wide range of community groups and companies.
Sue who also took on the role of project manager says the final result is a credit to everyone who was involved.
“This project has been many years in the planning and fundraising stages and I am thrilled to see the vision of a lot of people has now become a reality,” she says.
“What we really hope is that people who use the facility will be able to interact with the broader community, and that we can help them in a wider variety of ways.
“The OpenDoor@SNC is staffed by fully trained volunteers who have completed courses in Accidental Counselling, Mental Health First Aid and Suicide Awareness. It is important that the volunteers have skills to be able to assist people in crisis in the most appropriate manner.”
The facility is open from 8.30 am until 11.00 am Monday to Thursday.
More about the SNC...
The Singleton Neighbourhood Centre has operated for 44 years in Singleton, providing assistance, referral and support to those in need.
The centre assists clients with food in conjunction with the Coles Second Bite Program, clothing, linen, hygiene packs and advocacy.
It can also help with power bills, telephone bills, work development orders and no interest loans.
A wide range of free services operate from the premises including financial counselling, mediation, gambling counselling, Women’s health nurse, legal aid, Upper Hunter homeless service, Alcoholics Anonymous, Compassionate Friends.
The SNC accepts donations of clothing, linen and non-perishable food.