Issues in our community are confronting but real, and often hidden. Poverty, sickness, homelessness, substance abuse, family violence. All of which can lead to untold distress. Ultimately, this suffering impacts everyone in the Cairns community in some way. The MaraWay aims to break the cycle of suffering by helping individuals and families improve their lives and positively contribute to the community. The flow-on benefits to our collective wellbeing, society and economy are immeasurable.
Our services and programs are divided into two key areas: Here at The MaraWay Community Hub, and over at vocational training. We’d love you to explore them all.
Each year, the Hub provides support to around 5,000 individuals and families, enabling them to discover new ways to move forward with productive, fulfilling lives.
How do we do it? One person at a time.
Everyone is different, and everyone is going to have different needs. Which is why we don’t just focus on one need or try to do it all ourselves. We believe in collaborating and connecting with a wide range of expertise and community assistance to leverage the best support Cairns has to offer and provide access to much needed services.
We provide a safe haven for those that need it and help them take the first step, then the next, and the next towards a better life.
We help people build the determination, resilience and momentum they need to make changes for the better, and take responsibility for helping themselves.
When The MaraWay Community Hub opened in March 2016, Maria Richards, Chair of the Board, announced “Here we are, ready to go into bat for disadvantaged people from Cairns to the Torres Strait and beyond. Anyone walking through the front door of our Hub is taking a positive step and we’ll support them no matter what.”
The Community Hub is a welcoming, safe space where everyone can access support, build their confidence, get a little tough love when it’s needed and access a range of support services.
The Let’s Get Back to School program provides a healthy breakfast for children in crisis accommodation in Manunda and Manoora, then takes them to and from Cairns West State School and Trinity Bay High School.
The program was introduced in 2017 and has already produced amazing results. School attendance went from 40% to over 90%, and reading skills jumped up an average of 5 levels in the first few weeks of the program.
As importantly, a significant local business in the area reported to us that, with the kids in school, theft and petty crime at their premises had dropped by 70% since the program started!
Not only have the kids benefited, but it’s given their parents the time and motivation to seek out our support at the Community Hub. We’ve been able to help many gain skills and employment, move into permanent housing and create safe and more stable environments for their families.
These parents have broken their cycle of crisis and welfare and become role models for their children and others in the community.
Our goal is to keep building the numbers of these success stories and expand our Let’s Get Back to School program to other suburbs and schools. Education is key to creating a positive future for these.
The MaraWay Community Hub has strong partnerships with many community groups, and can provide access to a wide range of support services.
For example, there’s the Q.I.T.E. Community Pantry which provides basic food and toiletries for those in need – at minimal cost. Purchases are capped at $10 and can be made every fortnight.
Then there’s the Driver Licensing Program, which holds driver licensing days at the Hub to assist people complete their written tests to get their learners licence. Not having a licence is a huge barrier to employment, so this service is always popular, with regular waiting lists.
Births, Deaths and Marriages Qld provides individuals with the identification they need to apply for jobs, get a drivers licence, open a bank account, and have the identification we all need to participate in our community. Most people would be surprised by how many individuals in our community have no identification. Imagine how hard life would be if you couldn’t prove your existence?
OzHarvest and Anglicare provide food for our Let’s Get Back to School and Homework Club programs.
The MaraWay Hub is also a place where people connect in our community. We host justice groups, church groups, dancing groups and the list goes on. In fact, the space is in such high demand, we are looking for ways to expand.
Need to login to MyGov, search for a job, or update your resume? Then Hub can help you with free WiFi and computer access.
Internet access and computers are expensive. Making these basic tools available is a simple yet effective way to enable people to perform everyday tasks in our technology-driven society.
So many essential functions require online access whether it’s applying for a job, paying a bill, interacting with Centrelink, or even just checking your emails.
The Hub is a place for the community to connect with like-minded people. We hire out our space to a range of groups such as:
Our Hub is a great space to hire for one-off events or weekly gatherings. We have ATSI, Nepalese, Aboriginal and other cultural groups, community groups, arts and music groups and many others regularly using the space.
Whatever challenges a person might be facing, the Hub is a welcoming space for anyone who needs support or just a friendly ear.
Unlike some organisations who just focus on supporting one main service (e.g. poverty or homelessness), we focus on supporting and connecting people with whatever service they may need. We understand that people often have a range of complex needs and life circumstances, so we focus on the individual first to find ways to address their specific need.
When people come to the Hub, we listen to them and work with them to determine what support they require. Then we help them access the best services Cairns has to offer.
We work with them to coordinate the services, reducing the need for them to share their story repeatedly, which can be traumatic for many people.
We help them take the first step, then the next, and the next. Small manageable steps to help them improve their lives.
Along the way, we expect people to take responsibility for their choices and actions so they build capabilities, skills and confidence that will develop positive momentum and resilience for the future.
The Homework Club is for the children we take to school as part of our Let’s Get Back to School Program.
After school, they come back to the Hub for a nutritious meal. Then we help them with their homework and give them the freedom to play in a safe environment where they can just be kids, without having to deal with the often-stressful situations at home.
This year we introduced a school holiday program for the Homework Club, providing a place for the children to go during the holiday period, with fun activities and excursions they might not otherwise experience.
It is full of cool stuff like an afternoon at the movies, going bowling, visiting the aquarium. And when the children are enjoying activities in a safe, supervised and fun space, they aren’t on the streets getting up to mischief, which is another way this program helps keep the children safe.
We’re here for anyone who needs support with challenges they are facing. Even if you’re just feeling a tad down and lonely, give us a call, or drop in and have a chat.
We will do our very best to help you.
We understand it’s not always easy to find the right information and services to meet your needs. That’s why we’re here. Give our Community Hub a call on 07 4040 2099.