Family has forever been the primary economic system from which individuals grow and which provides protection for members. The intense stresses of disadvantage and marginalisation, however, make it very difficult for this system to function optimally.
The need for family support was highlighted by community members on the Peninsula.
MPF has funded a small family support service at the Southern Peninsula Community Support Centre for over four years and learned much through data and insights about the systemic failures of the region.
One of the key insights is that 90% of families accessing the service are led by women – mothers or grandmothers.
With our local partners we are working on a new initiative to support women in their economic independence. This will be locally led and defined by the women. It will link with local businesses and take advantage of the significant labour shortage that is common on the Peninsula but exacerbated by conditions of the last two years.
In addition to this work, we are also proud to partner with Willum Warrain in support of their Women’s Program.
Willum Warrain is an Aboriginal Community Centre on the Peninsula that has grown in strength and reach very significantly over the last five years. It provides a place for Aboriginal people to gather and belong, to share and grow through culture and healing. The Women’s Program brings women together on a weekly basis providing activities and engagement in response to their needs and ideas. Peer support networks are important in any system and can be especially impactful for women who collectively strengthen the fabric of their families and communities.
We also support the work of St Vincent de Paul on the Southern Peninsula and their outreach to families in need of immediate support. These are also nearly always led by women. And through our work with schools we know anecdotally that families are mostly led by single mothers or grandmothers.
These local data are supported by the Statistical Analysis of the area done by the National Institute of Industry and Economic Research, which found that in areas of high socio economic disadvantage single women households dominate.
As roles in the traditional family structure change and we navigate options, it is often women to whom the responsibility of protecting and nurturing children falls. We see women carry the burden of disadvantage, women who are disempowered and stuck in a cycle of poverty, despite daily attempts to do the best they can for their kids.
Our work with SPCS has emphasised the need to truly address this underlying feature. Women are silenced but women hold the key to change. We have seen that when they are supported with what they need, they can provide not just the material support their kids need, but the hope and aspiration that is as, if not more, important in these developmental years.
MPF is a Public Benevolent Institution with Deductible Gift Recipient Item 1 tax status. All donations are tax deductible. As all operational costs are covered by the George Hicks Foundation, 100% of donations are distributed as community grants.