Running on empty

UNPRECEDENTED demand for services at the same time funding is disappearing has St Patrick’s Community Support Centre on its knees.

CEO Steve McDermott says the Fremantle-based centre turned away 70 per cent more people wanting to use its emergency relief service in 2014 than it had the year before. It’s only just got the figures back.

In the last financial year, 3432 people used its emergency relief, receiving food parcels, chemist vouchers, clothing, sleeping bags and other assistance.

“The need is growing at a far quicker pace than our funding,” Mr McDermott says.

“It breaks our hearts to turn people away but unless we can raise more funds this trend is likely to continue.”
St Pat’s also operates the only crisis accommodation service for families south of the river—state funding runs out this month.

Communications coordinator Varnya Bromilow told the Herald the service had only been able to secure Lotterywest funding for two years when setting up the service.

Lotterywest won’t fund on-going programs.

Chief operations officer Michael Piu told the Herald a local philanthropic foundation had pledged to help out with a $15,000 donation, but between $50,000 and $60,000 is needed to fund the salary of a worker.

When the $15,000 runs out the remainder will have to be squeezed out of other already stretched services, he says, unless more donors can be found. To help out, Mr McDermott urges people to get behind the centre’s winter appeal, which will be launched on June 3 at Santa Maria College in Stoneham Road, Attadale.

If you can’t make it you can simply hit the “donate” button on the website http://www.stpats.com.au

by STEVE GRANT

22 Jacky Ladbrook 20x3.5

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