CEO News - March
The week leading up to Christmas often marks the start of holidays and family time for many of us. Christmas and New Year is a busy time here at Hutt St Centre – and it can be a particularly tough time of year for people who are disconnected from family and friends.
On Christmas Eve the State Government called a Code Red weather alert due to the forecast of 40 degrees on Christmas Day – so I sent a call-out to staff to keep the Centre open for 24 hours so people sleeping rough or without a suitable place to stay could escape the searing heat until the cool change on Boxing Day. In addition to decorating and setting up for Christmas Day breakfast and lunch, camp beds were sourced from the State Emergency Services (SES) and laid out ready for 24 people to sleep overnight in the Day (Night!) Centre and computer room.
I am so proud of the selfless staff here who once again put the needs of our most vulnerable friends before their own Christmas celebrations.
A heartfelt thank you to everyone who supported our ongoing work through donating to our Christmas Appeal; your generous donations and compassion have been simply overwhelming to all of us. Your messages of encouragement to our clients were hung throughout the Centre, triggering much emotion and gratitude as people read them each day. These are a couple of messages shared with me on Christmas Day:
"I have been at Hutt St Centre all day and it feels like a proper Christmas with the food and the staff and volunteers have been absolutely fabulous …. Not just to me but to everyone who came through the Centre. They sacrificed their own Christmas so we could have our own Christmas, so cheers Hutt St."
"Mate it’s been beautiful here at Hutt St Centre. I would have had Christmas in the parklands all by myself. I’d be lost without you guys."
We are also exceptionally grateful to people who donated bottles of water which were so vital with the extreme heat. Your Christmas gifts to our friends meant that everyone who came here had a present to unwrap on Christmas Day – a small pleasure that means so much to people who have very little.
On behalf of everyone at Hutt St Centre, thank you all for your incredible generosity, love and support.
Ian Cox, CEO