Establishing food security for disadvantaged people tops the list of priorities for new Uniting Way Ballarat and The Ballarat Foundation chief executive Simon Tengende.
Close behind is access to housing, youth and early childhood programs, and helping young drivers accumulate enough hours to gain their licence so they can access employment and education.
And the key to bringing these plans to fruition is partnerships with other organisations in the area.
Mr Tengende yesterday met with Ballarat Community Health acting chief executive Andrew Horward to discuss a memorandum of understanding between the two organisations to establish a food hub.
“We need to make sure there’s food and good nutrition accessible for disadvantaged sectors of our community,” Mr Tengende said.
“Homelessness and food security, when you struggle to have a shelter above your head, it’s a big thing. If we can work with BCH and our partners to see if we can deliver a food bank somewhere so we can distribute food to areas of need, and link it with shelter, it’s value for anyone who might be at risk of sleeping rough,” he said.
“It’s fantastic if our community can access it and come to get bread, fresh fruit and vegetables.”
Mr Tengende said he was excited about his new role.
“I used to be a volunteer multicultural ambassador and did some work around the community where I was exposed to disadvantage. Now being in this profile role and leading an organisation we can deliver outcomes to that disadvantage.
“We are at a point where we can realise our potential in bringing partners and organsations together to actually focus on providing opportunities in areas of disadvantage.”
Another priority project is the continuation and expansion of the L2P program which helps disadvantaged youths accumulate the 120 hours of driving experience they need before they can sit for their licence.
“If you don’t have access to transport it has a significant impact on getting a job and education.”