Each week, we will feature a member of the HBNC team, giving you a chance to Meet the Neighbours. The goal is to highlight and celebrate the people at the heart of our organisation, who work tirelessly to make the Wide Bay Burnett community a stronger and more resilient one.

This week, we'd like you to meet Alana Boan, Intensive Family Support, Brokerage, and Community Visitors Scheme.

Tell us a bit about yourself

I’m just a girl from the biggest little town in Australia - Mullumbimby, just near Byron Bay. I grew up on the beach which I loved, moved to Hervey Bay when I was about 14 and left when I was 16. I went on to live in Brisbane and Melbourne and then eventually came back when I was about 20 to start a family. I now have three beautiful children who I adore. They are 11, 10 and nine years old. I enjoy music, good food and just having a good old laugh.

What is a quick summary of your professional background? 

I started out my work life as a car detailer at a hand car wash in Brisbane, then went on to do some work in the fast food industry, a few retail jobs in between, and also worked for a pest control company in Melbourne city.

What drew you to work with the Hervey Bay Neighbourhood Centre?

A traineeship for The Wandering Teapot. It was a job that was advertised to the community’s most disadvantaged. After experiencing financial hardship myself over several years and not having much confidence I thought, “This is my chance to really make something of myself”.

When I had come to HBNC over the years for emergency food relief there was always a really friendly and welcoming feeling throughout the centre, that gave you a wonderful sense of safety and support. I wanted to be an example for people who had maybe given up on life and show no matter where you come from, if you have the drive and ambition you can be whatever you want to be.

Through The Wandering Teapot traineeship, I now have leadership experience, improved customer service skills, experience in event planning and overall it gave me the confidence to pursue other passions throughout the centre.

How do you see your role making a difference in the lives of the community’s most vulnerable?

I now work for the Community Visitors Scheme (CVS) program part time in the Aged and Disability Department of HBNC, where we match up a volunteer visitor to our communities most elderly and lonely to provide support and friendship. This role is really rewarding, when you see the smiles and joy on our clients' faces to have someone to sit down and have a cuppa with, chat and make connections that really have an impact on their life.

I am also in the role of brokerage and am a support worker for the Intensive Family Support team, a role which I had always wanted to get into but never thought I would get the opportunity. We provide education, guidance and support around parenting skills and strategies. This role is hugely rewarding when you see the results of this program.

What’s one thing you hope to see happen or change for our community?

One thing I really want to see in our community is more facilities for our youth and more community events for families to enjoy.