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Drive down Anderson Street, and you will pass The MaraWay Community Hub. It’s the lime green and orange building opposite Brothers and it’s a shining beacon of help for those that reside in the surrounding suburbs.

Walk through their new playground and in the door and you’ll be surprised at the extent of assistance they can provide. Put simply, they provide help. Real help for real people to get on with their real lives. No appointments, referrals or criteria to meet. Help comes in many forms and with no two days the same, it’s always a hive of activity.

What does help look like? Hub Manager Reggie Jackson describes some of the types of help he provided last Monday.

• Helping an elderly man with an application to Meals on Wheels so that he can have daily access to nutritious meals. He is currently living in crisis accommodation with no kitchen facilities.

• Assisting a young mother with applying for a child care rebate through Centrelink. He had previously helped her into a training course and now she has been accepted into university to study this year.

• Helping two young children access stationery supplies and shoes so that they can have a successful re-start to their school year. Putting them in touch with a school in their catchment to complete enrolment paperwork.

• Assisting a mother and her four children to complete a bond loan and private rental application. They have moved up to Cairns to escape a domestic violence situation and have been sleeping in their car.

It’s a little bit different…and it’s working.

• Provide an emergency relief food package to a young family and then working with them to develop a realistic budget. One of the parents was made redundant late last year and bills have got on top of them.

• Helping a teenager with an application for a birth certificate and then a tax file number. He will use these to complete the application for his part-time job and join a sporting club.

• Assisting a young person with a plan for online study for his learner’s license. Unfortunately, without a drivers license, the opportunities for employment are limited.

• Helping an elderly couple with an application to access their superannuation and teaching them about the internet and emails. The MaraWay is a little bit different in the services they provide and in the way they fund these services. They operate independently of government funding. Running the Community Hub through profits from their own private enterprises, shareholdings and partnerships in the business community. This refreshing approach gives The MaraWay the opportunity to work with all members of the community. They treat each person as an individual and give them the help they need when they need it most. It’s a distinct tough love approach though.

The MaraWay will provide the help that is needed immediately, then encourage clients to take their own supported steps forward. This builds resilience in themselves and the wider community as they begin to make improvements in their lives.

The front door is always open to all, even if it’s just for a coffee and a chat. Everyone is welcome to come on into The MaraWay Community Hub and meet the team.

Written by Jules Steer