Jesuit Social Services’ Dropping off the Edge research into locational disadvantage, conducted over more than 20 years, finds that many communities in Western Sydney deal with multiple and complex forms of disadvantage.
We have worked in Western Sydney for more than a decade and understand its inherent strengths and robust sense of community. Through our ongoing work at the Willmot Community Hub, we continue to foster support and connection to help people and families reach their potential.
Western Sydney Projects Coordinator with Jesuit Social Services, Delander, says the team’s work is flexible and responsive to the needs of community. “If families need a resource, we will try to make it happen, in whatever way we can.”
The Hub continues to provide meal hampers to people who are isolating with COVID-19 and struggling to afford groceries under the rising cost of living. “We’ll get calls from people who are at home with their kids and can’t access anything. We will bridge that gap… And then we see some of those families come into the Hub and join our other programs.”
Alongside responding to the impact of crises such as COVID-19, Jesuit Social Services runs a range of programs in Western Sydney including community breakfasts, playgroups, after school and holiday programs for children, parenting classes, and a girls empowerment program.
“It takes a lot of courage for someone to come up and say, ‘Can you help me?’ and it’s an honour for us to help meet that need.”
Community breakfasts are a good example of the way the Hub works: building relationships and trust so that when people are having a tough time they know the Hub is there to help. “A lot of the time, community breakfasts are how we find out if someone’s in need,” Delander says.
Leon is a Community Development Officer. He says he learnt how to be a barista so he can serve coffees when the Hub runs events and programs, providing him with an opportunity to have conversations with community members. “It’s about listening to people, getting to know people’s stories and building upon their visions and dreams.”
“Quite often people will reach out to you because you’ve been part of the community for such a long time.”
Leon is grateful for the trust placed in him by community members. “Quite often people will reach out to you because you’ve been part of the community for such a long time.
“It takes a lot of courage for someone to come up and say, ‘Can you help me?’ and it’s an honour for us to help meet that need. We may not be able to give everything that they ask for, but we do our best to give them what we can.”