17 November 2015
Approximately 150 people gathered at The Salvation Army’s Northside Corps and Community Centre, Vic. (Major Gloria Eldridge), on Friday, 16 October 2015 to welcome the Governor-General of Australia and talk about ways and means of addressing and eliminating poverty.
The anti-poverty week event gave ‘the Salvos’ the chance to thank community partners who help care for the families of Corio, one of Victoria's poorest postcodes.*
The Governor-General, His Excellency General the Honourable Sir Peter Cosgrove AK MC (Retd), and Her Excellency, Lady Lynne Cosgrove, took pleasure in meeting the locals and hearing the Salvos’ Just Brass students, who were drawn from the Bell Park North and Herne Hill primary schools.
The Governor-General presented community awards, stating that the open day event ‘celebrated partnerships’ and demonstrated that ‘cohesive and liveable communities [are] achieved by community groups working together’. Australians, he added, should ‘look to inspirational drivers of community like The Salvation Army’.
The following awards were presented by the Governor-General:
Training partner of the year – Cloverdale Community Centre
Agency partner of the year – Barwon Child, Youth and Families
Corporate partner of the year – Bunnings
Community partner of the year – Geelong Grammar School.
Major Gloria Eldridge said the joy of a united community meant that ‘everyone can feel they are welcome, that they belong and can get the help that they need’.
Western Victoria divisional commander, Major Geoff Webb, noted that ‘we’re better together’, and that the challenges of isolation, social exclusion, homelessness, unemployment, poverty and hunger, etc., need to be challenged.
‘In this anti-poverty week,’ he said, ‘think of what poverty means in your community, and ways in which we can address it.’
Major Webb later told e-connect that while ‘poverty is a relative concept, country to country, the realities that people face are the same. Hunger pangs are still hunger pangs; homelessness is still homelessness.’
* A 2015 report shows that residents of Corio, Broadmeadows, Doveton, Frankston North, Maryborough and Morwell were among the most disadvantaged Victorians, and were 'three times more likely to be experiencing long-term unemployment or to have been exposed to child maltreatment'.