Why did we hold it
Anti-Poverty Network held the Logan Community Day on January 20th in order to connect local residents experiencing hardship with relevant services. As the middle class shrinks, wealth inequality increases, and Centrelink continues to make it difficult for welfare recipients to practice self determination, it has become necessary for those doing it tough to come together and help each other out. This was practiced at the community day as we made services such as dental checks, legal advice, advocacy, and migrant services easily accessible to the public in one location.
Anti-Poverty Network, comprised entirely of dedicated volunteers, most of whom have experienced what it means to survive on welfare, has been providing advice and support to welfare recipients for the last 12 months. In recent weeks we have also begun accompanying people to appointments, and helping people use the Centrelink computers. As negotiating the welfare system remains difficult for many, this kind of work becomes increasingly essential.
The community day took this concept to the next level as we allowed people to access not only Centrelink related advice, but much more.
Who benefited from it
We estimate we had approximately 60 participants over the course of the day, over 20 of whom were children who received free dental checks. We distributed the majority of food we had available at the food bank, and the community lunch was a success, with all of the food being eaten. Interpreters were available with a majority of the participants being from non-English speaking backgrounds. Furthermore, an AUSLAN interpreter was available and provided interpretations for a number deaf participants.
The community day was beneficial not only for the participants who came seeking advice, it was also beneficial to the entire community as it created connections between services. Much of the day consisted of people who had come along to help out meeting each other, exchanging ideas and contact information. While the cornerstone of the day revolved around helping to lift people out of poverty and hardship, through creating these connections, we are also establishing a community: a network of people dedicated to working together to better those in need.
Why did we hold it in Logan
We chose to hold it in Logan because of the high level of poverty and demonisation of the poor, specifically those on welfare, which exists in the area. As one of Brisbane’s more underprivileged areas, it proved to be the place at which we could have the highest impact. Furthermore, the area is culturally diverse, providing us an opportunity to work and build bridges with a diverse community of people. Previously APN QLD had been holding stalls out the front of Centrelink in Woodridge, having seen a need for support in the area. Holding the community day in nearby Logan proved to be an extension of this.
Post event evaluation
The greatest measure of our success was our ability to efficiently collaborate and organise. Our ability to work together, making the most of our individual talents and connections, complimented by our dedication, created an energetic and effective work space. These skills were also demonstrated in our ability to efficiently collaborate with services, organisations and volunteers
Following on from this point; each of us utilised our personal connections in the community. This allowed us to recruit a number of services with ease, and also helped when it came to advertising. The importance of networking in the not-for-profit sector must not be underestimated, a point made evident through the networking potential the day allowed.