In hardship or celebrations, we’re all looking for someone to give a care

On a recent family trip to Sydney I was reminded of how lucky we are as a community to have a local support and service provision in our town.

Sarah U'Brien from Dungog Shire Community Centre.

Sarah U'Brien from Dungog Shire Community Centre.

I was walking with my daughters through the city in the early evening, with the hustle and bustle of businesses closing for the day and the night life starting. As we walked down the street both my girls noticed the number of homeless people starting to get their beds ready for the night. They were both visibly moved at the hardship they saw. My eldest stopped and started looking up and down the street as though searching for something. When I asked her what she was looking for she answered “Mum I’m looking for their Dungog Shire Community Centre, they need someone to care.”

I was struck by what I first mistook to be the innocence of her understanding of the situation, not to mention the quick realisation that I might take my work home a little too often. However, as I continued to think over what she had said I realised that maybe she wasn’t as naive as I had originally thought. We all need someone to care – to walk with us, help us shoulder the hardship, encourage us in the difficult times and cherish the good times. And on occasion, we might need a little extra help and support, and this is where you will find your Dungog Shire Community Centre – providing the support, care, advocacy, assistance and nurture to help you through your challenge.

I think sometimes the fact that our community has a service like the community centre can be taken for granted. It’s been there for over 37 years offering support, so it can be easily over looked at just what it not only brings to our community, but what it quietly does for so many. I often hear people say as they walk out the door having had the support and care they needed: “I don’t know what I would have done without you”.

And while I know the centre is not the cure-all and the support, care and assistance offered can only go so far, I am also acutely aware that for many, the centre is all they have and does make a true and meaningful difference in their life and their ability to overcome adversity.

When times get tough here at the community centre and the budget looks grim, I do reflect on what the community would be like if the centre was not here providing the support and care it does.

I think it might be a similar situation to what my daughter saw in the city – people looking for someone to care.