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Sun. May 26th, 2024

A local Armidale charity organisation is in danger of folding and is appealing for community assistance to continue providing essential social services to families in need.

The Helping Children and Families Association (HCFA) are a local Armidale charity that has been providing services to families in need of additional support for over 15 years.

Volunteer home visiting offers practical and social support to parents with young children, whether it be someone to help a child pack away their toys, accompany a family to the supermarket, supervise an active toddler while the parent has a bath or nap or just someone to talk to.

According to the HCFA, many parents feel that the ongoing demands of young children leave them with little time to themselves, particularly if they do not have the support network once provided by extended family and friends. 

The HCFA understands that the job of parenting can be a demanding one at the best of times.  Cost of living pressures such as increased interest rates, increased cost of rent and basic amenities create further demands on struggling households.       

 For many years the group was supported by its benefactor Dr Marie Delaney, who passed away in 2019. The loss of sponsorship means that the ongoing costs associated with the charity’s operation such as office rental, phone usage, office supplies and most importantly the coordinator’s salary cannot be met. 

HCFA president Lone Petrov says the situation is concerning, but is hopeful a solution can be found soon.

“We currently have 6 or 7 volunteers visiting families around the community and another 3 to 4 that will require training so they can begin to assist the families and individuals we look after.”

“Without adequate funding, we simply will not be able to afford the provisions we need to continue and all of the people we are helping will no longer benefit from our support services.” 

Some of the issues that families identify with can be feeling isolated or lonely, finding the adjustment to parenthood a challenge, parenting alone, being new to the country, having a child or parent with a disability, having health problems, or just being new to the area. 

Some families may have particular concerns such as financial challenges or language/cultural barriers for example, but most (77%) of the families that approach HCFA do so because the support that was once available to parents from grandparents, cousins, siblings, and friends is no longer there.   

“HCFA is incredibly proud to have partnered with each family in their journey,” says Ms Petrov. 

“Each of these has been a huge achievement in the lives of the individuals concerned and we hope we can continue to help people in our community that are in need.”

HCFA also produces and widely distributes the Armidale Families Guide.  This publication provides families with information about facilities, services and resources specifically for families in the area.  Many of the families HCFA meet are new to the district and sometimes Australia.  This booklet is an enduring resource that families can turn to.

HCFA desperately require $7,000 by the end of the financial year to avoid closure.

For further information on how you can help, please visit the following ‘give now’ site: https://www.givenow.com.au/helpingchildrenandfamilies

 Or visit the HCFA website @ https://www.hcfa.org.au/

Or you can contact them directly on 0467 580 016 or coordinator@hcfa.org.au

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