Freo Long Table Dinner

The night of nights

THIS year’s Long Table Dinner in Fremantle is set to be the best yet with a host of top acts lined up to help the homeless.

John Butler, Mama Kin and The Fling will bang out classic tunes while more than 1100 guests enjoy a delicious three-course dinner on High Street in the city’s West End on Thursday night (November 28).

Funnyman Sam Longley will MC the night and dinner guests will enjoy roving performances from CircusWA and the flamboyant carnival band Wasamba.

If that wasn’t enough, there’s Moore and Moore Cafe’s Christmas Markets on nearby Henry Street, with more than 40 homemade craft, gift and food stalls.

Gypsy jazz act the Witchy Djypsies will be busking and the community is invited to come along and join in the festive street celebration.

All proceeds from the dinner go to St Patrick’s Community Support Centre in Fremantle, which provides an invaluable lifeline to the homeless and disadvantaged. Last year’s dinner raised $110,000.

With a serious mission

THERE has been a distressing rise in the number of families and women on the poverty line, says St Pat’s Community Support Centre CEO Michael Piu.

“More women than ever are presenting for assistance – numbers were up 4 per cent on the previous year – and day centre management has noticed an increase in parents with children seeking assistance,” Mr Piu told the Voice.

Most of the funds raised from Fremantle’s Long Table Dinner will go to St Pat’s day centre in the port city, which provides an invaluable lifeline to the homeless and disadvantaged.

Whether they are in dire need of a meal, medical care, a shower or just a chat, the staff at the Queen Victoria Street centre are happy to help.

In the 2018-19 financial year, St Pat’s provided 18,369 meals, 5035 showers and 3994 health appointments, including counselling, chiropractic and dental.

It also organised 3062 emergency appointments for issues like paying utility bills and rent.

In 2017 St Pat’s was forced to close its day centre on the weekend as government funding fell behind rising costs.

Mr Piu says the money raised by the long table dinner ensure the centre can maintain its high level of support during the week.

“With reductions in homelessness services across the city, it’s crucial that we retain an accessible place where people experiencing or at risk of homelessness in Fremantle can go for help,” he says.

“St Pat’s works with people of all ages and backgrounds. Our accommodation options cater for families in crisis, young people, women and men.

“In 2018-19, St Pat’s Day Centre assisted people with 66 different countries of birth, who speak 18 different languages – 59 per cent were male and 41 per cent were female.”

In addition to the centre’s core lifeline services, it also has extensive social activities including a choir, exercise group, sewing class and computer literacy tuition.

“Our team of staff and volunteers develop strong relationships with clients which enables us to facilitate genuine improvements in their lives and empowers people to reach their full potential.

“Our goal is to end homelessness, and to build a community where all people can live secure and independent lives,” Mr Piu says.

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