AU – UCW ConnectUP Festival – Port Adelaide
On any given night in Australia, 1 in 200 people are homeless. In South Australia, there are as many as 5,900 homeless at one time – the majority of these people being between 15 and 25 years of age.
Uniting Care Wesley is a community service agency of the uniting church in Australia initiated to assist these people. They provide a range of services for up to 1,000 people including; shelter for the homeless, financial support, counselling, training, legal aid and many other activities. These undertakings all aim to develop greater life opportunities for its people.
To bring some extra life to the usual daily routine, UCW planned a special day for their clients on 14th October – the ConnectUP Festival. This day was initiated to give people the opportunity to meet and talk with new people in a happy and friendly atmosphere. With live music, shopping facilities, bean bags, family photos, dressed up book characters and a special lunch – clients could enjoy themselves and be temporarily alleviated from their circumstances. One client even arrived with his ukulele, playing and singing some songs during lunch.
The Rapid Relief Team was keen to show our support for this special event, and offered to provide the refreshments for the day. From 10am-2pm, 12 RRT Volunteers were kept busy cooking hamburgers and serving drinks. As the smell of fresh cooked meat and onion wafted around the building and throughout the nearby shopping centre, a constant stream of people filed past the RRT Tent – no one wanting to miss out!
The UCW Staff were pleased with the turnout for this event. The Rapid Relief Team was impressed with the distinct caring and friendly nature displayed by all of the UCW staff to its clients.
The ConnectUP Festival was an uplifting experience for all RRT Volunteers present, and a great opportunity to help numerous persons who are often forgotten by society at large. The gratefulness expressed by attendees and UCW Staff for the lunch was overwhelming. It was stimulating to see how much a small service can mean to persons in need.
UCW have invited the RRT back to assist with catering for further events in late 2015 and throughout 2016. The next event will be held in December 2015 and then recurring monthly from February 2016 through to November 2016.