Michael is a very familiar face at New Farm Neighbourhood Centre – almost daily he can be found chatting away with other regular visitors or lending a hand helping new participants utilise the various facilities on offer. Whilst the story that led Michael here, is emotionally difficult to tell – he rarely shies away from letting others know the importance of the welcome he received during one of his toughest times.
“I started coming down here to the Neighbourhood Centre just over a year ago after a violent attack – I was assaulted and left with severe facial injuries. I was not feeling really good about myself and just came here.”
Michael began visiting the centre regularly, and got to know some of our staff and other locals. Michael slowly but surely came out of his shell as he was assisted to talk to professionals about his trauma whilst still being connected to the safety net that was the Neighbourhood Centre.
“After you suffer an injury- and it’s violent – when you have that thrust upon you for no reason -it’s hard to deal with. Being able to come to a place like this and having people around that are holding their hands out to help you. Without the community centre I don’t know where I’d be… I was living in a boarding house, and met someone here, looking for a flatmate in New Farm. It was so convenient, I ended up being financially way better off… it helped me a lot.”
Michael was treated with respect and offered assistance, as we aim to do with anyone who walks through our doors. We have a diversity of people coming in struggling with food security, needing to use showering of washing facilities, attending groups, or seeking support with housing and such. What helped Michael was regular social connection, knowing that there was support when he needed it, and this encouraged him to seek the help he knew he needed. His fear was that without the reassurance of the Neighbourhood Centre he might’ve revisited habits and behaviours that he had spent so long overcoming before his assault. Whilst Neighbourhood Centres are often viewed as locations for activities and community group events – some of the most important aspects are down to the socialising between strangers and support on offer. Connections can be made that can lead to positive changes in people’s lives, reducing the multitude of challenges surrounding disadvantage and social isolation.
“All this trauma and that I’ve gone through – just to know that if I need to sit down and talk to someone – there’s always someone here. That’s a good thing – and that’s what people need. They need more places like this.”
Thank you so much Michael, for sharing your story.
If you or someone you know in inner Brisbane needs support with housing, health, food or social connections call 3510 2700.
New Farm Neighbourhood Centre is at 967 Brunswick St, New Farm. Stop by for a coffee, (and pay one forward) on Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday.