“I don’t like Christmas” is an often enough spoken, but little heard sentiment since it goes against the popular grain.
Instead, we tell people to get into the Christmas spirit, be jolly, give to others and be thankful.
Not so easy if you do not have a job, finances are stretched and basic needs are too expensive, and border restrictions make connecting with friends and family difficult.
In this year of disappointment, Christmas can be just another one to add to the list.
Too many expectations, too much pressure and too much potential for failure is how people who are left feeling a little fragile in 2020 can regard Christmas.
Thankfully the 2020 Christmas spirit has shined a light on those in need in Noosa, and people who can give someone a hand up by random acts of kindness is the best gift of all.
Christmas can be used as a time to reflect and become a little more altruistic.
For example, a Noosa allied health professional chose to gift a dozen clients down on their luck and finances, a family hamper dropped anonymously on their doorstep.
Similarly, a generous shopper waiting in line at a retail store came to the rescue of a distressed parent whose bank card was declined, with a quick swipe of his own debit card.
A legal firm with heart gifted backyard sports equipment for children in foster care and then negotiated a free trampoline deal for the children from a local manufacturer.
The inaugural Noosa Mayor’s Christmas Appeal, and the well established Adopt a Family Appeal for Sunshine Coast-Noosa families doing it tough at Christmas, enabled local charities to on-gift community kindness to their service users.
Youturn at Tewantin with the generosity of community donors, have gifted nearly 200 gifts, food hampers and several entertainment experiences to young people and children this Christmas.
The aim was to give young people, many of whom are under employed in local service and construction industries, a break from their everyday stresses, explains Youturn Donor Relations Manager, Susan Beaton.
“Low income, irregular work, driving a cheap car which breaks down, no family or financial back-up and debt traps such as After Pay to meet the high cost of living and responsibilities as a young parent, is the cycle of disadvantage we often see in our homelessness services,
“To receive kindness from anonymous donors, when things are tough and you are trying so hard, has been a huge pick-me-up… it’s not about getting stuff but feeling someone cares,” said Susan Beaton.
According to Youturn many different religious faiths and church groups have quietly and selflessly given to people in need this Christmas either by giving to their charity or other local charities they work alongside in the community sector.
Noosa Coastal Uniting Church have been giving to Youturn under the Adopt a Family appeal for over ten years and through good old-fashioned word of mouth their support has grown year on year, explains church member Ruth Wisehart.
“We chose to support Youturn (formely United Synergies) as the local youth charity that operates with no advertising budget but just quietly get things done.
“Our congregations at Sunrise Beach and Tewantin got on board, we then had conversations with the groups who rent our facilities and they became donors too, so each year support has grown to help meet the need,” said Ruth Wisehart.
Increased interest in Queensland, already a popular destination for interstate migration, has pushed housing prices up and created fierce rental competition in Noosa-Sunshine Coast’s tight market, which impacts everyone explains Youturn General Manager for Homelessness, Darce Foley.
“People migrating from NSW and Victoria are taking on higher debt to move into Queensland… average incomes earners are forced to compete and pay more rent in a tight market, and low-income earners are being pushed into homelessness… everyone’s doing it tough in some way”, Darce Foley said.
Mortgage brokers for home loans and government Rent Connect schemes for rental tenants, stipulate only 30% net weekly income (and no more) must be available to pay mortgage or rent costs to meet eligibility for support.
On this basis if you earn $1000 weekly net income you can afford to pay $330 in rent, however most local retail and hospitality employees don’t earn this much income and Noosa house rentals are more likely $800 plus.
Local business owners, from restaurateurs and tourist operators to retailers, have also experienced a drop in income with business closures and other Covid-19 impacts.
Gift a dining or entertainment experience to families was used by Youturn in their 2020 Christmas Appeal to support both local businesses trying to rebuild and young families doing it tough, explains Youturn CEO, Andrew Anderson.
“Family beneficiaries were so grateful to the donors who gifted them an experience… overwhelmed by the kindness of strangers and opportunity to spend quality family time, while we hope in a small way it helps stimulate the local economy,” said Andrew Anderson.
Need across our community is expected to rise again in 2021 and Youturn in collaboration with Noosa Council, Unity Water, service clubs, church groups and sector partners will be rolling out additional supports in response.
Free weekly breakfasts in Tewantin, tenants skills training, children’s surf-wellbeing pilot, community pantry and street library, affordable tiny homes and upgraded laundry-shower facilities, are just some Youturn projects in 2021.
Throughout December and January, Youturn’s emergency relief (groceries, utilities and more) is available at Ernest Street Tewantin on Monday, Tuesday and Thursday mornings by dropping in or phoning 5442 4277 for an appointment.
If you need someone to talk to this Christmas contact Kids Help Line 1800 55 1800 or Lifeline 13 11 14, or connect with other local people at a free Christmas Day lunch at:
Pomona & District Community House
Pomona Memorial Hall, 6 Reserve Street, Pomona. https://pomonacommunityhouse.com.au
Nambour Community Centre/Suncoast Christian Care
Nambour Showgrounds https://suncoast.org.au/care
Hope within Reach – Christmas to your door
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Photos can be downloaded here: https://www.dropbox.com/sh/o912x5moyp3zyf4/AADSRZhvyEQFF8jUUmfJLIfha?dl=0
Notes to the Editor:
Youturn is a not-for-profit based at Tewantin that was started 30 years ago to help address youth homelessness in the Noosa region. Since then, the organisation has grown substantially working with young people and those that support them, expanding their focus to include Child Safety, Mental Health, Suicide Prevention and of course Homelessness.
Their humble beginnings started as a Youth Homelessness grass roots project in 1989 with the Noosa Accommodation Project (NAP) which was officially launched by 5 volunteers supporting six young people. They have grown significantly since then to work at 14 locations across Southern Queensland with a staff base of 160 employees and last year helped over 6,800 young people.
Youturn Youth Support Tewantin media contact
Media, Communications and Events Manager
Mob: 0474 421 100