Geoff didn’t voluntarily start his journey at BaptistCare HopeStreet Port Kembla. After being his father’s carer for eight years he was placed on Work for the Dole.
“With my medical history - my heart and cancer - I thought I’d go on a disability pension after Dad died but I was placed at HopeStreet three and a half years ago.”
Geoff has made strong relationships and connections. He reflects on views he once held and the differences between himself and those he feels privileged to serve.
“You always drive past [HopeStreet] but I’d never been in and didn’t know what people did. There’s a stigma where people don’t know what the hell goes on, right? Like me, I didn’t know what went on here,” said Geoff.
“It really was an eye-opener. At first, you’re conscious of the people off the street, but they’re just decent people. I went in and started getting to know everyone and I thought, this is alright,” said Geoff.
Geoff sees help delivered without judgement on a daily basis. “I feel good that I too can help, like going through clothes or helping someone find toiletries. I notice the difference in myself in understanding who they are. I’ve had everything in life available to me. Then you see people do it real tough.”
Geoff experienced isolation and a lack of community as a carer. Without HopeStreet, Geoff would not have the social connection and friendships he depends on today.
“When I turned 66 and accessed the pension, I asked Di [HopeStreet Manager] if I can still work here. She said yes. I do that for myself, if I didn’t I would really miss it, the people here.”
“I feel I’m very much part of a community. I live in Port Kembla. I go to the shops, the newsagent, a local café, every time I walk down the street one of our clients will say, ‘How are you going today, Geoff? What’s for lunch?’.”
After an extensive amount of preparation, HopeStreet Port Kembla held its official opening at its new location on Wentworth Street on Friday 23 October. Formerly known as Darcy House in its old location on Old Port Road, we’ve been providing hope to the Port Kembla community since 2006.