16 August 2021

Reflections of a local Willmot resident

“I moved into Willmot three and half years ago and life was tough with young children with special needs. Willmot used to a place where people did not talk to each other and were even rude to each other. Everyone felt isolated. I remember looking for support, but I just couldn’t find any that could help me. The service system was just too hard, and you went around in circles. I thought I would have to do it all by myself…. until the people at the Hub came along.”

“My children have become social butterflies”

“When Willmot residents, Jesuit Social Services, The Hive, BaptistCare HopeStreet and Willmot Public School started working together, the Hub went from being an empty building to a welcoming place that is not judgemental.

I don’t feel judged if I have a meltdown, because the people there understand my circumstances and they do not judge me. They all tried to put in place some programs and activities to connect people and if they didn’t work, they would learn from their mistakes and try to improve them. This collaboration is my saviour!

The biggest change I see is in my kids, thanks mainly to the brilliant caseworkers. [They were] able to link [my daughter] to the right service. [My daughter] really trusts [her caseworker]. My daughter suffers from Alopecia, which causes her hair to fall out when she’s stressed. Now that she has someone she trusts, who she can talk to, her hair doesn’t fall out as much, so this collaboration has even had positive physical impacts on my children’s well-being. My son’s outbursts have reduced, and he now wants to go outside more. He isn’t as sick as he used to be. All the activity at the Hub has actually calmed him down and he can now interact with the other kids. My entire family are now willing to admit we have problems and we can now seek out people who we trust and who can direct us to the right services.

Not long after meeting everyone who works from the Hub, I started to volunteer, to give back for everything the people at the Hub have done for me. Eventually a job came up and this local employment meant I could stay near my kids and still earn money. Whereas before nobody would talk to each other, now Willmot has become much more social. The seniors started talking to us and now all ages are combining, and perceptions are changing for the better. I can get my children out of the house now. They have learned to socialise.

Before, I couldn’t get them out of the house for over a year; now, there are no tensions on the way out and they have become little social butterflies. The kids are actually excited to go to the Hub to meet all the people there. My partner also gets out more. He plays basketball with the local kids. He seems a lot happier. We used to feel so isolated. Now we’re all about healthy mind and healthy body and doing our bit to help the community grow for the better.”