2nd October 2020


Neighbourhood Angels here to help struggling community members

IF YOU are struggling to find the support you need to access services or to find your way through confusing processes, the Neighbourhood Angels are here to help.

The Hervey Bay Neighbourhood Centre is proud to introduce the Neighbourhood Angels – volunteers ready to help community members connect with support services.

Three volunteers will be part of the pilot program, supporting HBNC’s Community Navigators. Over the past six months the Community Navigators, funded by the Department of Social Services, have supported more than 200 community members to access appropriate services. Due to COVID-19 and the increasing number of people in crisis the demand for the Community Navigators has doubled.

The Angels will provide initial and immediate support to ensure no one is left on a waiting list. They can support anyone in the community by connecting them with the relevant services such as homelessness services, directing them to partners for food relief or simply pointing them in the right direction. They can also help with filling out complicated forms and paperwork.

More complex cases will still be handled by the Community Navigators, who currently help people navigate Centrelink and the court system, among other services.

Lee Currant, who is one of the three Neighbourhood Angels, said she saw it as an opportunity to give back to her community.

“It’s a real eye-opener, hearing the stories about people in our area and how they need help,” Lee said.

“I just think it’s something everyone should think about. If we all give back, it makes it a better place.

“I worked in aged care for a very long time and found, it doesn’t matter if you’re young or old – everyone needs a helping hand. It’s nice to know there’s somewhere safe where they can find help.”

HBNC CEO, Tanya Stevenson, said the free service was needed now more than ever.

“Given the ongoing impacts of COVID-19 we have seen a significant increase in our services across the sector including a lot of community members who have never had to access support. We would like to encourage people to reach out as soon as they need support to avoid getting to a crisis point,” Tanya said.

 “We will be looking for more volunteers to be able to support our community to navigate the systems they need and get help as soon as possible.”

The Neighbourhood Angels will be available at Hervey Bay Community Centre, 22 Charles St Pialba, from today.

If you would like to get involved by volunteering, email [email protected] or phone 4194 3000.

For more information about volunteering opportunities, visit Volunteer for us

PHOTO CAPTION: Community Navigator Tara Deurkop with Neighbourhood Angels Lee Currant, Barb Bilney and Kim Ablett