OUR IMPACT 2020/21

COMMUNITY INCLUSION

Everyone deserves a safe space where they can experience belonging, care and assistance. 

Through the work of our Community Inclusion team, people who feel isolated and overlooked can access support during their times of struggle. With the services provided, including material and practical assistance, programs promoting social connection and wellbeing, and opportunities to further education, people can gain confidence and thrive in environments that recognise their individual needs. 

As was the case across the Society during the financial year, the disruption of the pandemic required our Community Inclusion team to change the way services were delivered to the people we assist. With many of our physical sites unable to operate in-person as a result of public health orders, services such as the Nagle Centre, Creative Space and Ozanam Learning Centre continued to meet needs online, by phone and through contactless drop-offs. 

During the 2020/21 financial year, the Society assisted 3,265 people through the Community Inclusion program. 

Our work in promoting community inclusion is grounded in providing a supportive environment that empowers the people we assist. Some of our major accomplishments throughout the financial year in this area include: 

  • Supporting more than 1,600 people in Campbelltown through the Nagle Centre, including the provision of 9,000 meals to vulnerable members of the community 
  • Providing a welcoming environment for people to express themselves creatively through art and improve mental wellbeing at Creative Space, Southern Highlands. Over 100 people accessed the service which produced and distributed contact-free creativity packs during the lockdown period. 
  • Training and education opportunities at Rosalie Rendu Outreach, Macquarie Fields and counselling services offered at Louise House, Gorokan. 
  • Welfare checks and programs conducted virtually at the Ozanam Learning Centre, Woolloomooloo.

THE CANVAS CREATING COMMUNITY INCLUSION

“IT’S EYE-CATCHING, TOO. SO, WHEN YOU FIRST WALK IN THROUGH THE RECEPTION, YOU JUST STARE. IT HITS YOU.”

People from all over Sydney, from all walks of life, come to the Ozanam Learning Centre (OLC) in Woolloomooloo to connect, create, learn, and access support.

Its community is a strong and diverse one and, collectively, they wanted to express the richness of the group through an eye-catching mural on the centre’s walls. 

With the mentoring of professional muralist, Sally Ann Conwell, a lot of paint and the creativity of the contributors, this was always going to be an achievable goal. 

The first step was to gather ideas from the community through questionnaires, group discussions, and working bees in the OLC art room. 

This led to brainstorming sessions and chalk drawings on the walls to plan the design. 

Some of the key themes chosen were nature, native flowers and animals, and the culture and stories of Woolloomooloo, as well as the activities held at the OLC. 

The mural presented a great opportunity for the community to share their stories on the centre’s walls. 

Now complete, the contributing artists are all justifiably proud of their work and that of the team that brought it all together. 

“The wall tells the story of the Woolloomooloo community. And it’s eye-catching, too. So, when you first walk in through the reception you just stare. It hits you,” Al said. 

Shane dedicated part of his contribution to Holly, a chicken he cared for at the Bourke St Community Garden. 

“Sadly, she passed away, two months ago. So, yeah, I did a painting of her – that’s her painting on Christmas Day. Bit emotional, but yeah, she’ll be there forever,” he said. 

“What I enjoyed most about the mural project was watching everyone else be included and that it was a real team effort. Lots of people contributed and it turned out to be a really great mural,” Hillary said. 

For artist and musician, Stephen, contributing to the mural was second nature. 

“I have to paint. Do art and music all the time. So, painting away gives me a serenity somewhat. But to see a lot of the people join in and do their best to put something good on the wall was something that was enjoyable as well. They sort of said, well if this dorky-looking guy can do this, I can bloody well give it a go!”