It was a bittersweet moment for the team at Soul Hub.
While thrilled to relocate to their new bigger “home” in Newcastle, the selfless crew would also be concerned by the rise in demand for the organisation’s services.
But, the move to the Hunter Street premises will allow them to provide even more hot meals, and other assistance, to locals experiencing homelessness and mental health challenges.
Thanks to $500,000 from the NSW Government’s Newcastle Port Community Contribution Fund, Soul Hub is increasing its capacity to change vulnerable people’s lives.
Minister for the Hunter Yasmin Catley was on hand for the official opening on Friday 9 February, along with several special guests.
“It’s absolutely vital that we look out for each other in the Hunter and Soul Hub is a beacon for those doing it tough,” she said.
“Any of us could need help at some point in our lives.
“Soul Hub’s doing incredible, important work to support those who need it most.
“This is a fresh new facility the Hunter can be proud of.”
Formerly known as Soul Café, the latest Soul Hub space is 40% larger than its previous location and includes a kitchen and dining area, a health and wellbeing zone, and amenities such as a medical clinic and laundry.
With the support of volunteers and donors, it provides 50,000 meals and 6,000 hampers annually.
“Our new home represents a whole new chapter for us of increased capacity and opportunity to serve vulnerable people, including the homeless, lonely and mentally unwell people of Newcastle,” Soul Hub general manager Matthew Ortiger said.
“We’re committed to being more than a meal, too.
“Soul Hub delivers a wide range of judgement-free help and assistance to everyone who comes through our doors, including anything from haircuts and washing services to much-needed appointments with doctors and social workers, for example.
“We are deeply grateful for the Newcastle Port Community Contribution Fund and to all our generous supporters who made our new home in the Ian and Shirley Norman Foundation building possible.
“On behalf of all our guests, we would like to say a big thank you.”
The expansion will allow Soul Hub to offer free pantry and laundry services, alcohol and substance abuse-based programs and counselling, while hairdressers, barbers, chiropractors, health clinics, job and housing support assistance is available within the $1.64 million purpose-built facility.
The Newcastle Port Community Contribution Fund provides support to projects that revitalise and energise the Port of Newcastle and surrounding areas for the benefit of the community and its visitors.
“For vulnerable Novocastrians, Soul Hub offers unwavering assistance during tough times and a service people can rely on to access help when they need it,” Minister for Regional NSW Tara Moriarty said.
“By offering support services such as alcohol and substance abuse-based programs, and drug, gambling and mental health counselling, it is making a real difference to the lives of people doing it tough in Newcastle.”
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