Red Shield Appeal to begin new initiative

Broadford’s The Salvation Army captain Michael Knally and Retired Corps Sergeant Major Shirley Kawalski prepare for the upcoming Red Shield Appeal in the Mitchell Shire

The Salvation Army in Broadford is gearing up for its annual Red Shield Appeal with a new initiative where 80 per cent of donations will be put back into the local community.

The appeal launch is set for May 12, but the core weekend for donations will commence on May 25.

Broadford The Salvation Army Captain Michael Knally said there would be several collections happening across the Mitchell Shire.

“We’ll have a collection happening in Wallan, Kilmore, Broadford and maybe some other areas as well. We will run intersection collecting on Watson Street in Wallan and on Union and Sydney Street in Kilmore,” Captain Knally said.

“We’ll also have static points with tables set up at shopping centres in Broadford, Wallan and Kilmore over a two week period.”

He said that the policy had this year changed, with 80 per cent of donations being returned to local communities.

“Before it was distributed across Australia. We’re hoping to raise over $20,000 in the area and work on ways to improve the rising levels of homelessness in the region,” he said.

“We do a lot of social services and community support – it includes welfare, food and bill assistance which can involve household expenses and utilities.

“The demand seems to be increasing every year. A lot of our clients are on government pensions and they don’t seem to be increasing along with everything else.”

Retired Corps Sergeant Major Shirley Kawalski – who has worked at the Broadford branch for more than 40 years – said she had seen a rise in people who need support in the area.

“I would say they’ve increased since I started here in 1971 – they’ve increased considerably over time,” Ms Kawalksi said.

Captain Knally said many residents were now faced with difficult financial decisions.

“Rental costs are going up which takes up most of the Newstart incomes – residents aren’t left with much else to pay for food and other things,” he said.

“Some people have to choose between food and a house over their heads – it’s a ridiculous decision that they have to make.

“There are a lot of people in Broadford couch surfing from place-to-place or camping in a caravan or mobile home – you don’t see them so much on the street.”

Both workers hope that additional funds from the appeal will help to provide permanent homes and a number of additional services to residents.

“We’re hoping to expand our services that will come through money raising, like community meals that were cut due to funding – we were serving around 30 meals at our fortnightly dinners,” Mr Knally said.

“We want to provide the temporary relief of being fed and for people coming who want company – it can be a lonely place out there for those who don’t have family, so it’s about building a sense of community for Broadford as well.

“We could also provide further support for getting job skills and helping people gain confidence to get back to work.”

For more information on the Red Shield Appeal phone Broadford Salvation Army 5784 1635.