Vinnies community sleepout
On Thursday night I visited Maitland Gaol and participated in the Vinnies Community Sleepout. It was the second year I decided to do it and putting up with the chilly weather and hard cardboard was only a very small price to pay for what is a great cause.
There are more than 116,000 people experiencing homelessness in Australia and unfortunately, more than 17,000 kids under 12 don’t have a stable place to call home. Those who are homeless must overcome a lot more than just the bad weather and uncomfortable concrete, there are so many financial, societal and physical costs that are associated with living on the streets.
Homelessness is a significant problem all across Australia and not just in the metropolitan cities where you are more likely to see homeless people. As a Nurse I have had a lot of experience in this area and I know for a fact that it is a very real issue in Maitland.
I strongly believe that we, as a community, need to evolve and become more empathetic around the issue of homelessness. There is an unfortunate stigma associated with it and I really hope events like the sleepout can raise awareness about the true nature of living on the streets. The fact is homelessness can be caused by so many different things including domestic and family violence, intergenerational poverty, mental illness or simply a shortage of affordable rental housing. The more we understand this, the more able we are to make informed decisions about the actions we take.
Thank you to everyone who donated for the sleepout, both to me and other participants, your generosity is very much appreciated.
MRAG ten year celebration
I have had some great experiences at Maitland Regional Art Gallery (MRAG) during my time here but I think I can say that last weekend’s ten year celebration activities were at the top of the list. It all started on Friday with ‘Light Up The Night’, a fundraiser cocktail party, which saw the amazing six metre high neon work of local artist, Nell, be revealed. On Saturday, I had a great lunch with artists at Fratelli Roma and attended the exciting spring exhibition opening in the afternoon.
I must say that MRAG is currently showing some of the most impressive art I have ever seen. I mentioned Nell’s work, but there is so much to see at the moment. I especially want to commend Penelope Seidler, who recently donated over $400,000 worth of art. We are so lucky to have these pieces and I encourage you to visit the Gallery to take it all in.
While it was separate to the ten year celebration, I also attended a dinner at Seraphine Café in MRAG hosted by MKR Winners Matt and Luke. It was a great night out, the food was delicious and it was a pleasure to meet them.