Anglicare Winter Appeal 2021
- Goulburn & Yass
- Canberra & Queanbeyan
- Parkes, Dubbo, Orange & Bathurst
- NSW Riverina region
- NSW South Coast
Hover over the chart to see the number of people supported in your region.
This is the number of people supported
by Anglicare and our partner services every week.
We’d like you to introduce you to two single dads
who were recently supported by Anglicare services and partner agencies.
The Canberra weather began to get colder in the approach to winter, but Wayne and his eight-year-old daughter had no other choice but to live in a tent.
“We had run out of all other options,” recalls Wayne. “Charities around Canberra had helped us out. We’d been living in hotel accommodation for a number of nights but there were no more vacancies. This was the only choice we had left. I tried to pretend for my daughter that it was an adventure, but you can only keep that up for so long.”
Wayne recently lost his job in social services due to funding issues caused by the COVID pandemic. As a person who used to advocate for vulnerable people, being on the other side as a person now in need has been a new and terrifying experience for him.
“I never thought I’d be in this situation. My ex-partner lost her job and was struggling with mental health issues. To help her, I took on the sole responsibility of looking after our 8-year-old daughter. Then I lost my job,” explains Wayne.
“I couldn’t believe how desperate the situation became. There just aren’t enough services to help people like me. There are some for single mothers, but there is almost nothing to help single dads. Anglicare and St John’s Care have been great helping me with food and some bills, but permanent housing for me and my daughter just doesn’t seem to be affordable or available anywhere.
…You just want to cry but you have to keep going.”
Another single father, Luke Murphy, moves his wheelchair up the ramp of his temporary home – a cabin at the Batlow caravan park.
The cabin is the only one at the park with wheelchair access, and became available to Luke through the extraordinary efforts of Anglicare’s Bushfire Recovery Coordinator, Jo Murrell.
“Without Jo, I wouldn’t have the cabin I’m in now [at the local caravan park]. All the clothing that’s here is because of her. She provided food hampers and the new clothing from Thread Together.
Jo is even organizing to a meeting with someone from Anglicare to advise on how I can apply for Disability Support Payments,” explains Luke. “My three children live with me, and I wasn’t even sure how I’d afford Easter eggs for them a few weeks ago. Things are pretty desperate for me.”
Luke was in Canberra Hospital recovering from a serious operation when he heard that the Black Saturday Bushfires were moving in the direction of his home in Batlow. “I made my way back as quickly as I could,” recalls Luke. “I gathered up my children and some of our belongings, and I had to convince my mother to leave.”
“When we finally were able to return, we found that my mother’s house had been saved but the cabin we lived in was completely destroyed.
We basically lost everything.”
On top of the struggle of the fires and being a single parent, Luke is also living with a disability and is largely wheelchair bound. This is to try and stop his pelvis from fracturing; a devastating result of an infection following a fall and back surgery.
Hearing stories of fathers like Wayne and Luke reduced to tears because they’ve simply run out of options and energy, is confronting.
Anglicare’s Winter Appeal meets a need that, for some people, is even greater than before. Families have already been through so much.