Win $10,000 in annual Neighbourhood Centre raffle


Victoria Stone-Meadows


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SELFLESS: Mandy White and Shona Barbour are some of the women making a big difference to the lives of people in the Douglas Shire. Image: Victoria Stone-Meadows.

The Port Douglas Neighbourhood Centre is drawing their annual fundraising raffle tomorrow on International Women’s Day.

The Neighbourhood Centre, which forms part of the Port Douglas Community Service Network, has been running the annual raffle for more than 20 years.

The money raised through the raffle is used to fund the provision of support and services to vulnerable people in the community.

Shona Barbour has volunteered at the Neighbourhood Centre for about six years and said the raffle is vital for the center to provide the services they do.

“We’ve been running this raffle for over 20 years and it’s always wonderful to have this support from the community,” she said.

“We look after vulnerable people in the community and support them with emergency relief and guide them through the process to connect with essential services.”

However, Ms Barbour said the Neighbourhood Centre is about more than just helping people get by when they have hit hard times. 

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“It’s great to be able to help other people when they are stressed but it’s also a good place to make friendships.

“It’s not a place that is just for people in need; it’s a social environment to come along to as well.” 

The Port Douglas Community Service Network encompasses the Neighbourhood Centre, the The Nicnak Shed, and the Child and Parent Support Hub.

Manager for the Community Service Network, Mandy White, said about 90 per cent of the volunteers across the three services are women.

“We have a lot of female volunteers; of the about 60 volunteers we have, probably five or so are men so it is mostly women,” she said.

“They are from all different age groups but mainly 65 plus retirees who have the energy and want to give back to the community and be involved in our programs.”

Social and learning activities at the Neighbourhood Centre range from Tai Chi to digital device instructions to financial literacy.

There are also parent support groups and playgroups for new parents, which a lot of younger mothers in the region attend.

While mostly women are involved with the centre, programs and groups are open to everyone and a men’s breakfast is hosted by volunteer Vinnie once a week to help vulnerable men in the community.

Ms White said the volunteers who work tirelessly to provide these services are the glue that hold the place together.

“We have really great engagement and want to make sure people feel like they can participate in life fully,” she said.

“We aim to support all people with where they are in life.” 

In a town of luxury accommodation and affluent visitors, it can be easy to overlook or not see the people in the community who are doing it tough.

Ms White said it’s often the small gestures and first steps that make the biggest difference for vulnerable people.

“We have people in our community who are really doing it tough and there are not a lot of support services available,” she said.

“Most people are not sure how to access them so we are often the first port of call.

“It’s the little things that make a tremendous difference and we can offer people so much here to help to take that step forward they have not been able to before.”

The raffle winner will be drawn at 3.00pm tomorrow with an award of $10,000 up for grabs.

To support the work of the Port Douglas Neighbourhood Centre and the Community Support Network, call Shona Barbour on 0407 674 135 to purchase a raffle ticket.



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