Mossman Support Services: the village you need

COMMUNITY SUPPORT

Jeremy Lebeuf

Feature Writer

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The support staff at Mossman Support Services: Jenny Bill, Reanna Wickenton, Erica Mast, Nicola Falstein, Heather Taylor, Leiona Latu. Image: Karlie Brady.
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“It takes a village…”

This is a well-known proverb, but what does it really mean? And where do we find this ‘village’, - why it is so important?

Today a ‘village’ can be more elusive than ever – with recommended social distancing, people being too busy to notice those in need, your next-door neighbours (if you’re lucky enough to have them) can seem like strangers – in a time where we are wildly connected to the world, for some people in our community there is a loneliness, a disconnect, a need for personal interaction.

Mossman Support Services is that ‘village’ we seek. It’s a place in our community where anyone can visit when times are tough - find some connection, some support when someone needs it, the people there care.

That’s why it’s crucial if you have any ‘letting go’ moments don’t let it linger, they are here for you.

Heather Taylor, Manager at Mossman Support Services, compassionately reinforces to the community that they have a number of services there to help, not only for if you are in need but also if you would like to join a program or volunteer and be part of the team.

“A lot of the work done at Mossman Support Services is ‘invisible’ as due to dignity and respect of our clients and the nature of the work for staff, we tend to quietly and efficiently support the wide and varied needs of the community without fanfare and photos,” she said.

The support services play the role of anchor in the community delivering much-needed help when it comes to providing emergency housing, food relief, counselling, health clinics, child care services, aged care, and other services that all affect the community’s most vulnerable.

In the face of uncertainty to traditional business in the region with job cuts and amendments to the JobKeeper scheme, all mounting in the shadow of slacking economics. Australia is in a recession as proud citizens also deal with the anxiety of health with no concrete plan for the future.

The importance of village mentality with the programs of the Mossman Support Services are more vital than ever. Basic human needs and rights are what everyone is entitled to, that is what Heather and her team aim to provide - compassionate individuals laying it all on the line for so many disenfranchised people.

Heather was just starting as Manager when the effects of COVID-19 impact us all.

The need in the community remained high and Mossman Support Services continued to provide all of their current support services including Emergency Relief, Community Connect, Youth Support, Intensive Family Support and Disability Support - though they all looked a little different to normal.

“Having only started a week and a half beforehand, I wasn’t yet clear on what running normally looked like, which may have been an advantage in adapting.

“Staff-created ongoing communication via phone, skype and zoom throughout lockdown to provide consistent ongoing information and support systems. Regular food and essential parcel drops to individual homes were carried out using physical distancing and hygiene strategies,” she said.

There was still a real need for in-person interaction and connecting as well as essential helping hands that could not be done in another way than in person.

“Services face to face were met outside by appointment using the same strategies as during food drops.

“Face to face meetings were required for things such as assisting people getting required ID organized to register to Centrelink for the first time, support and referral for domestic and mental health issues and many other concerns that people were needing assistance with, a lot for the first time facing such issues and challenges themselves,” she said.

Since the relaxation of restrictions in the region, they have been able to re-open some of their worthwhile community programs including The Men’s Shed, Art Group and the Garden Project.

Most of us take it for granted that we have a bed at night to call our own. To help those in our community that are facing homelessness and social isolation, the Mossman Support Services offers ‘The Hub’ open 9:00am – 3:30pm on weekdays – a soft entry point providing the opportunity to relax in a non-judgmental setting while people can catch up on the news, cook a hot meal, have a warm shower and regain a sense of dignity during a difficult time.

Services like those offered through the Mossman Support team are filled with undeniable hope for the future. However, they require a lot of help to village. If you’d like to make a difference in the betterment in the community, they are welcoming everyone to come along to their AGM 3:00pm Thursday 22 October 2020.


“We are lucky to have a diverse and knowledgeable staff, volunteers and Board of Directors dedicated to supporting and empowering our community who have been resilient, resourceful and flexible over this time to ensure our services not only continued throughout but developed to meet the changing needs of our community,” she said.

They are also hosting an open day in the garden - Thursday, 15 October 2020 from 10:00am-2:00pm. A wonderful opportunity to meet and network with community service providers and enjoy some delicious treats with a plant and craft sale on the day.

The health and support of the Douglas Shire community is one of the reasons the area is considered one of the best places to call home.

If you are in need of the Mossman Support Services or would like to volunteer in a place unconditional acceptance you can find them at 20 Mill St, Mossman or call 07 40 98 2836 or visit www.mossmansupportservices.org.au 



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