A Ballarat hearing clinic is leading the way in helping those less fortunate at Christmas.
National Hearing Care clinics at Wendouree, Ararat, Bacchus Marsh and Maryborough will be donating $20 to The Salvation Army Christmas appeal for each referral.
Almost 500,000 Australian children are likely to go without presents this Christmas and 8.4 million people believe Christmas is a “financial nightmare”, new research conducted by Roy Morgan for The Salvation Army shows.
With The Salvation Army’s annual Christmas appeal underway, Ballarat’s Captain Craig Wood said there had already been a noticeable increase in demand for services this year.
“The Salvation Army is three times busier in December, so the heat is really on us to provide meaningful responses,” Captain Wood said.
National Hearing Care managing director Michael Smith said the initiative would help in more ways than one.
“The Salvation Army helps more than one million disadvantaged Australians each year through their annual Christmas Appeal, which assists people in need with meals, shelter and hope at a difficult time of year,” he says.
“We wanted to help those in need, as well as support people in the community who may be experiencing hearing loss.”
Captain Wood said at this time of year it’s vital for The Salvation Army to have this kind of support.
“It’s so important that there’s a whole of community response to support people struggling,” he said.
“So National Hearing Care coming on board with an initiative like this is really appreciated.”
The Roy Morgan research, which comes from a survey of 1007 adults, also shows 1.8 million Australians think it is likely Christmas will leave them struggling with debt.
Captain Wood said for the past five years there had been a rising class of working poor, who were employed but still struggle to make ends meet over Christmas.
For the unemployed, Christmas is particularly hard he says.
“Newstart is virtually impossible to live on, one you’ve paid rent you’re left with roughly $17 per day,” Captain Wood said.
“When it comes to Christmas time if you’ve got children or want to celebrate with friends and family it can be a struggle.”
Until December 23 National Hearing Care at Stockland Wendouree and at their other regional centres will provide each visitor with a promotional coupon to share with someone over 50, the highest risk age group for hearing loss.
For every coupon redeemed they will make the $20 donation.