Cassie* came to Wesley Mission as a volunteer to help others – until she faced a tough situation and needed help herself.
When Cassie* first came to Wesley Mission, she was a volunteer at Wesley Mission Newcastle Community Hub. Being part of the team gave her a chance to take on responsibilities and provide valuable contact and connection for many people in need.
“When the community hub first started, we had the ‘no wrong door’ policy which meant whoever phoned in or walked in, we met their immediate needs and referred them to other services,” shares Leanne, coordinator at Wesley Mission Newcastle Community Hub.
“Cassie was the first person that our clients would see, so we spent a lot of time developing her skills on being the first voice of Wesley Mission.”
Leanne was quick to add that Cassie “was one of the best volunteers” and was truly invested in the work of Wesley Mission.
For 18 months, Cassie dedicated her time to support people in need. But that all changed during the COVID-19 pandemic when her partner lost his job. They found themselves in a tough financial situation, struggling to pay their rent and provide for their three children.
But Cassie wasn’t sure if she could ask for help.
“She was aware of what Wesley Mission can offer. But it was as if everything we taught her went out the window,” Leanne recalls.
“She said, ‘I don’t know if you can help me or if I’m worthy’.”
While Cassie felt reluctant, Leanne reassured her that Wesley Mission was ready and willing to support her and her family.
“It has been extremely hard to reach out and ask for help, however, the confidence and support Wesley Mission has offered me over the last few years have given me the strength to ask for assistance,” says Cassie.
Wesley Mission Newcastle Community Hub supported Cassie with food and emergency relief as well as school supplies, uniforms and funding support to send her three boys back to school.
One of Cassie’s sons was also referred to Wesley Young Healthy Minds, a service that helps children and young people improve their mental health. Her son was able to develop skills to manage his anxiety and is learning to be more confident in school.
For Cassie, having support from Wesley Mission has made a remarkable difference.
“The last few [months] have been completely overwhelming and I did not know where to start,” says Cassie.
“I can only imagine those out there feeling alone. Thank you, Wesley Mission for making me feel comfortable [without any] judgement.”
Cassie has since embraced her passion for helping others and hopes to extend the same support she’s received. She connected with Wesley Vocational Institute and successfully completed her Certificate III in Community Services.
Wesley Mission Newcastle Community Hub provides a network of services for people in Newcastle, Lake Macquarie and the Hunter region. Delivering tailored support for children, young people and adults and seniors, it acts as a first point of contact to more than 120 of Wesley Mission’s programs, including referrals to local community providers.
As one of their future plans, Leanne says they aim to grow their team at the hub and recruit more volunteers to greet clients at the reception desk and help with handling queries and administrative tasks. They hope to build a warm, welcoming environment for anyone who walks through their doors and help as many people as they possibly can.
*Name has been changed to protect privacy.