Vinnies Opens Learning Centre so that Locals can Regain Dignity and Skills

A new learning centre is opening in Armidale to meet the needs of people experiencing, or at risk of, homelessness. The Ozanam Learning Centre (OLC) will offer a series of courses on living skills, work preparation and job searching skills and how to access local support services.
Member for Armidale Adam Marshall will attend a preview on Tuesday when the OLC, at Freeman House, 1 Crescent St Armidale, will be on show for the community.

The OLC is part of St Vincent de Paul Society NSW Support Services. Deborah Putlueng, Interim Program Manager, will speak at the launch. She sees a real need in Armidale for skills and education programs for disadvantaged and marginalised adults.

“We know that over 200 people are sleeping rough every night in Armidale. That is just the tip of the iceberg –there are considerable numbers of residents in this region who are unemployed, chronically ill and could be escaping domestic violence, or living with addiction or mental health issues,” Ms Putlueng says.

“Vinnies identified the real need to develop support systems to help these people to build confidence, gain literacy skills and to support them on an employment pathway to build a sustainable future. We have an excellent reputation in Armidale because of our long history here.”

Madan Narayanamurthy, OLC Project Officer, has been connecting with other community service providers in the region and found that skills programs like anger management, tenancy care and budgeting, and job skills training were the most requested programs.

“How Vinnies operates is that our case workers review the needs of every person they assist and then develop a tailored program to support them. This way they can develop self-esteem, stabilise mental health and addiction issues, find work and secure housing, and reconnect with their families. And, ultimately, they can make a positive contribution to the social and economic life of the Armidale community,” says Mr Narayanamurthy.

“We are very excited about our programs and the opportunities ahead. We want to partner with local businesses and community groups. For example, a local recruitment agency could run free job skills training or a local bank could hold financial literacy classes. These activities could be run here or on their premises. Our preview on Tuesday will allow everyone to see what we will be offering and how they can get involved.”

For more information on the OLC please call 6776 8115.
Current Programs
• Cooking on a budget
• Living skills program (Tenancy and Budgeting workshop)
• Resume writing
• Literacy skills

2017 Programs
• Rent It Keep It (in conjunction with other service providers in Armidale)
• TAFE – Basic computer help – 12 week program offers Cert 1 after completion of course
• Breakfast Club (once a month)
• Yoga and meditation
• Barista course
• Health activities and excursions.