Twelve Days of Volunteering: Do they know it’s Christmas time?

Community Support Frankston originally commenced as a citizen’s advice bureau 48 years ago, similar to many grass roots community organisations, it was founded by volunteers and remains largely reliant on volunteer commitment.

In 1968, Community Support Frankston received 300 requests for emergency relief and distributed $2000 to the community. In 2016, this figure grew significantly. Community Support Frankston received more than 7000 requests for emergency relief assistance, and distributed more than $360,000 in cash and in kind support to vulnerable members of the community – the majority of who are living below the poverty line.

Programs that Community Support Frankston provide include;

Emergency Relief – assistance with food (perishables and non-perishables), other vouchers, utility and phone debts, accommodation expenses, education costs, travel, medical, pharmacy, optical and dental costs. Community partnerships provide laundry and mobile shower services.

Community Support Frankston’s information program produces 35 plus community support brochures that focuses on ‘local’ supports as much as possible and includes this information online.

Tax Help program is a co-location of financial counsellors, Royal District Nurse Services and Homeless Person worker, working with a Centrelink outreach support worker.

Steven Phillips, current Manager, explains what attracted him to his current role.

“I actually commenced as a volunteer at CSF back in 2003 and was a volunteer interviewer (community worker). After finishing up with interviewing I spent some time with the organisation as a board member before returning as Manager in 2014. Initially the attraction to the role (community interviewer) was to be involved with something bigger than myself, as a 21-year-old that was still finding their own way in the world. What attract to me to returning as Manager was knowing how important the volunteers are to people so down on life that they often have nowhere else to turn. To come back and lead an organisation that’s so focused on treating people less fortunate than most with kindness, respect and dignity is a privilege.”

Community Support Frankston have 100 volunteers, who provided 13,357 hours to assisting the local community last financial year.
With the closure of a community meals program and a community breakfast that had been providing up to 10 community meals per week for the past 20 years, interim meal arrangements have meant that food relief through Community Support Frankston is the last major safety net for people experiencing homelessness and severe financial crisis. Suspension, or even further reductions in funding would have dire consequences for vulnerable people in Frankston. With thanks to the Federal, and Local Government, philanthropic and volunteer support this program continues to support the City of Frankston’s most vulnerable.

“CSF collaborates and co-operates with stakeholders to provide support to individuals and families experiencing financial crisis and other disruptions to their lives. Our aim is to assist them to become more self-reliant and resilient through the acquisition of knowledge and problem-solving skills in addition to providing financial and material support,” says Steve Phillips.

Download Community Services Frankston’s story as a PDF.

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