Launceston’s St Vincent de Paul Society has opened a new community hub geared towards providing a one-stop service for those in need.
The hub will offer a number of services including financial literacy assistance, homelessness and support relating to domestic violence.
The hub can also provide application assistance for the No Interest Loan Scheme.
The centre is located on Boland Street next door to Centrelink – Vinnies Tasmania chief executive Lara Alexander said the building’s proximity to Centrelink was a key reason for the location choice.
“If people are accessing Centrelink services, we are here to help as well,” she said.
“There may well be something they don’t wish to talk to Centrelink about but they’re more comfortable talking to one of our volunteers and having that more human one-on-one engagement which is essential.”
The space is designed to be used by other charity services such as CatholicCare as well as a number of youth-oriented groups.
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Volunteer of 10 years and Northern regional president Vyvian Allchin said the hub was not only beneficial to the public, but for the volunteers to provide vital help in a comprehensive way.
“We sit with them as companions – a hand of friendship so that we can understand their needs and provide some relief and a hand-up to those people,” he said.
“If you can imagine getting enough strength together and coming through the door, then you have to go somewhere else to ask for help from someone else.
“What we’re hoping to provide here is a one-stop shop so people aren’t encumbered with the fact they need someone else to help with financial or mental health matters.”
Vinnies state president Mark Gaetani said COVID-19 had lead to the creation of the hub model, given the increase of people needing an array of services.
As well as assistance for temporary visa holders, Mr Gaetani said the charity had seen a rise in domestic violence-related cases being presented.
“As time goes by we’re seeing more families affected by mental illness … and also domestic violence,” Mr Gaetani said.
“There has certainly been an increase in the community in relation to domestic violence and you could probably track that back to COVID forcing families to stay in their homes.
“That puts on certain pressures and unfortunately we see the result of that is increased domestic violence.”
Ms Alexander said the charity planned to possibly open more hubs across the state in the near future.
- If this article raises concerns for you or anyone you know contact the 24-hour national sexual assault and family violence counselling service on 1800 737 732.