COOL CHANGE: Getting ready for the St Vincent de Paul Society Winter sleep out at
COOL CHANGE: Getting ready for the St Vincent de Paul Society Winter sleep out at "Fred's Place" at Tweed Heads ; Kylie Chalmers, Michelle Dennis, Ruth Gold, Brook McCormack, Jason McDonald and General Manager of Seagulls Club Mr Stuart Burrows. Scott Powick

Sleeping rough smooths lives of battlers

THE number of battlers seeking help at Tweed Heads charity Fred’s Place has more than doubled since it opened its door three years ago.

The intervention and prevention support service run by the St Vincent de Paul Society of NSW now helps 70 residents each day, more than double the 30 initially attracted when they opened in June 2013.

Fred’s Place service manager Jason McDonald said the growth was a combination of an increasing need and more people being aware of the Boyd St service.

Next month Fred’s Place will stage its annual community sleepout – a fundraiser which also provides an insight into the lives of many of the service’s clients.

Among the anticipated 40-plus participants will be the heads of local clubs who are also serving as the event’s ambassadors.

They include Gerard Robinson, general manager at Tweed Heads Bowls Club; Phill Kelly, general manager at Kingscliff Beach Bowls Club; Stuart Burrows, general manager at Seagulls Club; and Gordon Rhodes, chief executive officer at South Tweed Sports Club.

Mr McDonald said the fundraising goal was $20,000.

“Last year we raised $30,000 and our target last year was $10,000,” he said.

Mr McDonald said the shortage of affordable rental accommodation was the most critical issue in the region, a view echoed by many local community service workers.

He said an emerging trend was the difficulty in housing large families with four or more children with landlords reluctant to take them on.

“There’s no crisis accommodation in this region so as a service we have to be incredibly resourceful and creative.”

The Fred’s Place Community Sleepout will be held on Thursday, July 28 at the Twin Towns Masonic Centre in Tweed Heads.



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