Regional communities in NSW are doing it tougher than their city dwelling counterparts. That’s the message from new research mapping social and economic disadvantage across the state released by the New South Wales Council of Social Services (NCOSS) today, echoing Social Futures concerns for the rural and regional communities we support.
With 888,000 people living in poverty in NSW, no community is immune to hardship, but our rural and regional communities are doing it particularly tough explained Chief Executive of Social Futures, Tony Davies.
“While only 30 per cent of the population live outside the metro areas in NSW, our regional communities are home to more than half of the people living in poverty across the state.
“There is a myth that our regional coastal communities in particular are an oasis of paradise but low incomes and high unemployment rates, coupled with high rates of housing stress, mean that many of these communities have significantly higher rates of poverty than the rest of the state. In Nambucca Heads for example, almost 1 in 4 people are living below the poverty line.
“Most concerning, children are the most likely age group to be living in poverty with one in six children live below the poverty line. In some parts of Northern NSW this figure is closer to one in four.
“With many communities facing the additional bite of the drought it has never been more important for government to take real action to address the inequality in regional communities.
“We urgently need the government to invest in social housing, early childhood education and to raise the Newstart Allowance in order to break the cycle of poverty,” he said.
This report provides a detailed picture of the extent of disadvantage across NSW with interactive maps allowing users to explore how poverty impacts people in their region.
View the interactive map and read the full Mapping Economic Disadvantage in New South Wales report.
Do you want to inspire young people?
We are on the lookout for energetic people to teach, encourage and inspire our members.
If you have skills and interests in fields like: Engineering, Robotics, Coding, Electronics, Science, Technology or Maths – the Lismore Clubhouse wants to hear from you!
Up to ten supported volunteer mentor positions are available where you can gain great experience teaching and working with young people. Volunteer times are also recognised by Centrelink.
About The Clubhouse
Part of an International Network of almost 100 Clubhouses in 19 countries worldwide, our Lismore based Clubhouse is the ONLY Clubhouse in regional Australia and one of only four in the country.
The Clubhouse delivers a free safe and creative after school space for young people, where mentors work to help them to explore their own ideas, develop skills, and build confidence through the use of technology.
Our Clubhouse encourages young people to think more positively and ambitiously about their futures. It has a positive impact upon attitudes to school, furthering education, and studying STEAM subjects (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, Mathematics and Music).
We want our young people to reach their potential – can you help us?
You can commit to as little as 3 hours a week for six months as a Clubhouse Mentor (or by arrangement).
Benefits of Mentoring
- The opportunity to explore your interests in a cutting edge environment
- The opportunity to help young people build skills and confidence
- Experience teaching and working with young people
- Orientation to the Computer Clubhouse
- Training as needed while mentoring
Contact us today!
If you are 19 years or older contact our Clubhouse Coordinator today on 0428 599 157 to discuss how you can help to inspire our next generation.
For Ability Links participants Mike Smith and Mathew Daymond, dreams came true on the first weekend in November when they were able to attend the prestigious Artstate 2018 Bathurst with the support of Ability Links Far North Coast (FNC).
The two men are artists with Lismore-based arts company RealArtWorks.Inc. Mike is a musician and songwriter who has been blind since birth, while Mathew is a visual artist and lives with schizophrenia. Both also have an intellectual disability, and both are passionate advocates for their community.
Artstate is a four-year project by Regional Arts NSW to shine a light on excellence in regional arts across the State. The Bathurst event was attended by arts practitioners, government bodies and people engaged in the creative industries across Australia, and showcased the best creative works that regional NSW has to offer.
Over the past two years Mike and Mat have co-led creative initiatives that were a direct response to the March 2017 floods that devastated Lismore. Working with RealArtWorks.Inc, Lismore City Council and Ability Links, the artists were part of ARCH (Arts Recovery Community Hub), facilitating free creative workshops for the community.
They helped develop ‘The Art of Doing Business’ in Lismore, a Creative Lismore and Lismore City Council initiative to reactivate flood-affected CBD shop spaces. Both were also key driving forces behind ‘The Overtopping Performance’, a series of community narratives about recovery and resilience that engaged over 100 local creatives and many more Ability Links participants.
Using their individual National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) funding packages, the artists have been able to develop their practice and be supported to travel and present their work outside their home on the Far North Coast.
Their presentation, ‘Creating Community Post-Disaster’, was flagged by Accessible Arts NSW as one of its three top picks for Artstate 2018. Mike and Mat were also the only artists with intellectual disability chosen to present at this year’s conference.
Mike on the left and Mathew (wearing glasses) on the right
Using an innovative technique of spoken word and braille, the men co-led sessions and presented the attendees with a poem (see below) that captured the discussions that happened in the room and that were particularly focused on the drought.
“It’s important for people to see and hear people with disability,” Mike says. “Many people still think people with disability can’t do things and they need to be helped to be better.
“But we can show you how we can help YOU build a better world, to be better people and to work together. Telling people’s stories through my music is a way we can understand each other and learn to be a better community of people.”
Both artists used the Artstate opportunity to meet and connect with other creatives and are currently working on a project that will be based in the NSW Central Tablelands, working with drought-affected farmers to tell their stories about community resilience.
Ability Links FNC is happy to support these men who are leading from the front, creating true social change through their practice.
Rural sights are the sound.
Rural sights are the sound
Art builds from the ground
Different communities have different ideas
See through eyes of each other
Does that make sense to you?
Everyone has got paint on them.
Paint the canvas of Life
Rain falls up from the sky
Words will rain from up high.