Small Changes, Big Impact

Posted on 03 August 2015 by Louise Carson

Sometimes volunteers don’t realise how life-changing their work can be. A team from ING Direct learned just that when they recently spent a day working with MacKillop’s Youth Homelessness Services in Sydney’s west.

The house is situated in the heart of Struggle Street and had been unoccupied for a period of time, resulting in it being vandalised. It is now housing two lead tenants, Emma and Joe, who look after the property, as well as up to four young people at risk of homelessness.

This house is part of the Blacktown Hills Youth Homelessness Service, an integrated service run by MacKillop and Marist Youth Care.

Staff from ING Direct volunteered their time to give the property a real revamp - external walls and garage doors were painted to remove graffiti, the garden was weeded and pruned, fences fixed, a new garden setting and gutters installed, and even a new letterbox fitted!

Emma and Joe, plus the young people living there, are delighted with the results. Indeed immediate plans were made to invite friends over for the weekend after the make-over. Everyone was so happy to show off their new-look home!

“We have always wanted this house to feel like a real home”, said Emma. “The ING Direct team has helped us create a clean and homely environment where we can continue to support these young people.”

“Everyone was so committed to finishing the entire house, cleaning it all up, and painting enthusiastically”, said Jon Brew, Manager, MacKillop Family Services, Metro Sydney.

“ING Direct’s actions on that day not only made a visual change to the property, but also made a real change to the lives of these young people. Since the make-over there has been no further vandalism to the property, resulting in significant improvements for the amenity, safety and morale of the home’s residents and staff.”

Thankyou to all the staff from ING Direct. Without your support this work may not have happened.

Also, a big thank you to United Way for thinking of MacKillop and for co-ordinating the volunteer day. We are now looking forward to working with them to run another corporate volunteer day for our youth homelessness property in Blacktown.

MacKillop’s Youth Homelessness Services in Western Sydney support young people aged 16-25 years who are homeless or at risk of homelessness. We can provides a range of housing options, case management support and outreach, and aim to provide links to services, strengthen life skills required to live independently and prevent future homelessness. To find out more about our services phone MacKillop’s Sydney office, based in Blacktown, on (02) 8881 4800.

For referrals to other homelessness services across New South Wales contact Link2Home (the single state wide information and referral service to assist homeless people and those at risk of homelessness) on 1800 152 152. From 9am to 10pm daily Link2Home provide information, assessment and referrals to homelessness services across NSW.

READ MORE great stories from the MacKillop blog.