Noah’s Playground Revamped
Thursday 5 August 2021
Three senior representatives of St Vincent de Paul Society NSW recently visited the refurbished playground at the Ulladulla facility of the regional Noah’s Inclusion Services, which assists several hundred local children with special needs.
Through our bushfire community recovery program, supported by public donations, Vinnies provided a grant of $20,000 to help Noah’s upgrade its backyard play area.
Peter Houweling, Wollongong Central Council President, Alice Lans, CEO of Noah’s Inclusion Services, Leo Tucker, Executive Director Mission & Spirituality, Nicki Kennedy, Noah’s team leader Ulladulla, and CEO Jack de Groot.
The work was supported by other organisations, including volunteers from the region’s HMAS Albatross (816 Squadron). The upgrading includes a slide, timbered deck, climbing rope-frame and a yarning circle popular with the Aboriginal families who are an important part of Noah’s clientele.
Helping community groups recover from the impact of the late 2019-2020 bushfires is the focus of the Vinnies program, ranging from the south coast to the hard hit Kempsey area and up to Ballina and Tenterfield.
Some 320 houses were lost in the Shoalhaven, with half this number of claims submitted through Vinnies Ulladulla Conference. Shoalhaven and Kempsey were priority recipients of the Society’s assistance.
Noah’s assists families with kids in need, many of them reacting to ‘bushfire memory’ triggers such as the smell of smoke, if only from a barbecue, or the sound of sirens, not necessarily from fire engines, which can be particularly traumatic for children and adults experiencing disabilities.
Another program funded by the bushfire community recovery program involves helping small groups of children aged 5-12 years, and young adults, to process their feelings about the fire events in a safe environment.
Based at the Ulladulla Community Resource Centre, the sessions draw on the acclaimed Stormbirds program developed by Mackillop Family Services.
Noah’s staff member Larece Keith playing with a young visitor to the service.
Jack de Groot said the Society has long been active in local community welfare activities, last year assisting 1500 people in need in the Shoalhaven, providing $244,000 to help with food, clothing, household bills and other support.
‘Sad to say, 72 per cent of folk sought assistance because of a shortage of food, and 64 per cent faced housing stress, meaning one-third or more of their income went on accommodation, usually rent.’
If you'd like to find out more, read about how the Bushfire Appeal funds were distributed here.