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Samaritans launches Winter Appeal to help Hunter youth

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Samaritans Student Accommodation coordinator Matthew Anderson is calling on Hunter residents to open their hearts… and their wallets.

Local charity Samaritans recently kicked off its annual Winter Appeal to raise money for the vital and distinctive youth service that receives no government funding.

That means it’s completely reliant on the generosity of donors.

Current student Tate.

Samaritans Student Accommodation is more than a “home away from home”.

It provides holistic support for students, aged 16-to-25, who are at risk of homelessness and want to continue their education journey.

Most have fled traumatic family situations, according to Mr Anderson.

“They all have their own unique stories and they’re all wanting to have that engagement in education, so we’re here to support that goal,” he said.

“It fits the needs of the community… and the kids are absolutely grateful for it.

“We’re not funded by the Department of Communities and Justice (DCJ).

“It’s purely from the community, so we’re appreciative of any donation.”

Current student Tate felt unsafe at home after their parents refused to accept their sexuality.

They are now flourishing in a safe environment, studying at university and working two casual jobs.

“It has helped me so much to be the person I am,” Tate said.

“If I didn’t have this opportunity, if I didn’t reach out and get all these amazing opportunities, I don’t think I would be alive.”

In 2024, Samaritans – a Newcastle Anglican service agency – marks four decades of supporting the local community.

“For 40 years, we’ve been here trying to find new projects and programs, which make a difference,” Samaritans president Bishop Peter Stuart said.

“Twelve years ago, we decided to start the Student Accommodation at Wickham.

“And, it is one of the services that we’re really proud of.

“It makes a difference in people’s lives and the difference is humbling every time we hear it.”

Over the past decade, almost 90% of students have completed their education or apprenticeship during their stay.

Samaritans is now asking the community to support its local charity.

Unlike some of the larger national charities, all monies raised go into supporting the local diocesan region.

“One of the most moving things is it’s the people of this community who are providing this support,” Bishop Peter said.

“It’s local money, raised locally for a local charity.

“And, it is making a huge difference.”

To donate to Samaritans Winter Appeal, visit www.samaritans.org.au/donate.

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