12 December 2018
Since August, YWCA Canberra has been anxiously awaiting an update on the status of our application for the Federal Financial Wellbeing and Capability Grant.
The grant is necessary to continue the work of the Lanyon Food Hub, our emergency food relief service run from our Mura Lanyon Youth and Community Centre. With the announcement (subsequently reversed) that Commonwealth Government funding for Food Bank, one of the food providers that services the Hub, would be reduced from the end of the year, YWCA Canberra intensified our lobbying efforts to gain clarity on the outcome of our application.
YWCA Canberra CEO Frances Crimmins met with Senator David Smith to press the case for the Lanyon Food Hub and call for assistance in lobbying the Minister for Families and Social Services, Paul Fletcher MP. We also wrote to all ACT Federal parliamentary representatives as well as Member for Brindabella, Andrew Wall who attended the Anti-Poverty Week Pantry Dash, asking for them to advocate for the Food Hub in writing to the Minister.
The grant is critical for carrying out the work of the Lanyon Food Hub and without continuity in funding, the Food Hub would have been forced to close its doors from 31 December.
Six weeks out from the end of the existing contract, YWCA Canberra received the long-awaited news that our funding grant had been approved until the 2022-23 financial year. This funding guarantee is an enormous relief for members who rely upon the Food Hub and we look forward to being able to welcome our members and volunteers back in the new year.
YWCA Canberra gratefully acknowledges the support we received from Gai Brodtmann MP and Senator David Smith in advocating for the continuation of this funding.
During the 2017-18 financial year, the grant helped 344 families, the majority of whom were women. Membership to The Hub is available for residents of Tuggeranong and allows fortnightly access to the pantry and cafe. One-off emergency pantry support can also be accessed by those experiencing financial hardship who reside outside of Tuggeranong.
As well as emergency food relief, The Hub also provides members with a valuable social network, a place to connect with friends and volunteers as well as convenient access to wrap around support. Demand for the service continues to grow, and recent data indicates that membership to the Food Hub has been increasing beyond earlier trends. This worrying increase in demand illustrates how important The Hub is and how increasing living costs continue to be an issue for many in the community.
We know that Christmas can be a difficult time for low income families. Resources can often be low, and expectations high. To help celebrate the holiday and help our families get through the Christmas break, the Mura Lanyon Youth and Community Service will be distributing hampers, handbags and toys to the members in the final weeks before Christmas. We are currently raising much-needed funds to support this work. If you want to find out more or make a tax deductible donation, please see our website.
This article forms part of YWCA Canberra’s advocacy publication, YAction.
YAction shines a light on the advocacy of YWCA Canberra, like-minded organisations and the issues that are important to our community.
This publication is about bringing the voices, initiatives and efforts of activists and organisations to the fore – we hope that by doing this we will increase awareness of critical issues and present opportunities for collaboration that our members, friends and supporters can get involved in. Ultimately, we hope to strengthen a movement that works together to achieve gender equality in the ACT, as we believe that this will take a society-wide effort.
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