Introducing the new community care van

Following an appeal for donations in the April Aurora, the local community is set to benefit from not only a new Community Care Van, but also from expanded services which it will provide from October.

We always hear about the power of the written word, and now I am pleased to say we can prove it. Recently an Aurora article highlighted the CatholicCare Night Care Van, which had been out of action for some time and was in desperate need of an upgrade to continue to provide support to those who need it most in our community.

This appeal for help was swiftly answered as community members read this article and decided to take action by donating to get the van back on the road. This isn’t something that happens every day – we had what we thought was an almost insurmountable task ahead of us, and one which I am proud to say was only achieved with the help of our community donors and our volunteers who were ‘making do’ with interim measures while a new van was eagerly awaited. It’s the generosity of these people which makes our diocese really stand out as one fundamentally based on community. The call is made and, in time, is answered.

So what does this mean? From my perspective as the new leader of CatholicCare, this will see us continue to deliver on our role as the mission and outreach arm of the diocese. It means we can connect with those most vulnerable in our community and be there when they are in need, with a hot meal on a cold night, a chat over a tea or coffee or the opportunity to connect with us at community events.

But we’re not stopping there. Our new Community Care Van is not just a simple name change; it’s a new outreach service expanded to support all throughout the local community network. You’ll see the van now includes both the diocesan and CatholicCare logos, as this symbolises both organisations’ commitment to working with the community wherever and whenever we are needed. We hope to see the van used by schools, parishes and groups throughout the diocese for a range of initiatives – including school fundraising and open days, at parish events and as an outreach tool for CatholicCare. This presents a new range of possibilities for all within the diocese to really connect with our people, and the wider community.

I’m proud to see us ‘back on the road’ with an exciting new remit of possible services and activities to offer. This is an amazing opportunity for all of us throughout the diocese to put our hands up and dedicate some of our time to give back to those who may not be as fortunate as we are. I encourage anyone who is interested in volunteering or suggesting a use for the van to contact us and get involved – this is our van, and together we are responsible for its continued success.

To register your interest in volunteering for the new Community Care Van, P Brooke Robinson 4979 1111.

Helga Smit Image
Helga Smit

Helga Smit is the Director of CatholicCare Social Services Hunter-Manning. Helga is an authority on disability services, Indigenous issues and other social services.

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