Imagine you’re the parent of a child starting primary school…
But now imagine that you’re struggling… you’re struggling to know if your child is developing normally, you don’t feel supported, and you have no idea where to get help.
Knowing who to talk to and getting good advice can make all the difference.
Chappy Marlo has found the perfect way to take the pressure off parents, by creating a ‘hub’ of support within the school grounds.
The Regents Park Community Hub is a local initiative where mothers, fathers, carers and families can come and feel connected. It offers services centring on local needs, and also runs community events.
Regents Park, a suburb of Logan, has many different needs. As Marlo describes it, “there are lots of different health issues, behavioural issues, and financial issues sometimes as well”.
“We know we can’t fix all those, but we want to give our school community a safe place to come and just get direction of where they can find what it is that they need,” Marlo says.
Marlo – having already been a chaplain for five years – is no stranger to serving her local community and those around her, but found herself wanting to do even more.
“I reached the stage where I knew there had to be more than what I was doing. I felt like I wanted to do more with families.”
So Marlo teamed up with deputy principal Sam Symes, and the idea of a Community Hub was born.
From there, they worked with seasoned locals Ken Houliston, former pastor and Executive Director of Spot Community Services in Browns Plains, and Councillor Cherie Dalley.
In the early days, the team has faced the challenge of helping people understand the heart and aim behind the Hub. But Marlo says it’s simply a place in the local school community where “families can come and feel connected”.
As the Hub is being run from the school, this makes it easier for parents to access support and also makes them feel more comfortable to reach out for help.
The Hub also acts as an information centre, advertising the resources available in the area and local events.
In the past, this has included a dental nurse coming to the Hub to talk about dental hygiene, and the Commonwealth Bank running an info-session on school banking.
Marlo and the rest of the Community Hub’s team aims to break through the reluctance barrier: “The thing we really want to drive home is that we all need each other, and The Hub is a place where we can be here for each other. It’s a place where you won’t be judged, you’ll be supported.”
SU QLD School Chaplains are always coming up with new creative ways to cater for the needs of their local communities.
If you have a creative idea for how school chaplains can provide for children and young people in your community, email email@example.com or call 1300 478 753.