Based in South Australia, Junction Australia delivers a range of integrated services including housing and homelessness, domestic violence support, work with young people and community development. Sue is the General Manager for Community Services and is visiting a range of organisations in Edinburgh and London this week to discuss how they approach their service development and delivery before going on to a domestic violence conference at the Hague.
She was interested to find out more about Prospect’s history, the type of housing it manages and some of the community projects and initiatives it is currently supporting. Although there are obviously differences between South Australia and Wester Hailes, the concerns, priorities and aspirations of local residents in both areas share many similarities. An interesting example of this was around fuel poverty which affects some people living in Wester Hailes as they struggle to pay their heating bills. Low income residents in South Australia would be at risk of being in fuel poverty not due to heating costs in a cold winter, but due to the high cost of electricity bills for air conditioning in times of extreme heat where temperatures can reach 40 degrees plus. This can lead to fuel debt and even ill health for some such as the elderly and housebound who cannot afford to keep their homes cool enough.
Sue also met with Tracey Lee from the West Edinburgh Time Bank to find out more about time banking and the benefits it can bring to both individuals and communities. Tracey explained how the time bank operated in Wester Hailes and highlighted the value of being located in a multi-agency building like the Healthy Living Centre where there is strong partnership working. She gave examples of time bank credit earning activities and how these can lead to people feeling more confident and less isolated. Sue would like to develop time banking within some of the communities she works in and found meeting Tracey very helpful.
It was also a great opportunity for us here in Wester Hailes to learn more about how structures and services operate in another continent, and to hear about some of the valuable work and support Junction Australia provides in the many local communities it covers.