Monday, June 10, 2013

Western Sydney - a view from Mt Druitt

Western Sydney has been a focus for election campaigning this year. It is an area of Sydney that struggles with issues of housing, unemployment, violence, and social-economic issues.
Uniting Church deacon and community minister John Dacey said despite many isolated and vulnerable locals struggling with poor housing and unemployment, there was a strong sense of community in Mount Druitt.
''There is a good feeling here. It's not like the middle-class suburbs where people just hide in their McMansions and don't talk to each other,'' he said.
He cited successful programs such as the Midnight Basketball tournament bringing 50 to 60 young people together every Friday night for team sport and life skill workshops.
''Recent events are just a coincidence. There is no simple catalyst. Nothing out of the ordinary has happened. Overall, I'd say Mount Druitt is improving. I've seen the improvement over the past 10 years.''*
Rev John Dacey highlights the way strategic programs can positively benefit the local community. The Mt Druit Community Ministry provides a place of welcome and hospitality, information and referral, and leisure and learning activities such as playgroup, afer-school activates and helping students struggling with conventional schooling. Five congregations – four of them Pacific communities – use the centre for worship. Community Minister, Rev. John Dacey is involved with monthly English-speaking services with two of the congregations, seeking to reach out to the wider community as well as maintain their cultural traditions. An Indigenous Children and Youth Worker runs weekly children’s programs, acts as a role model and mentor for both Indigenous and other Australian kids, and leads Bible study and worship.
(* Read the full article from the Sydney Morning Herald (August 2012)  here)

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