SRC Announces Free Emergency Aid Packs

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Annastasia Robertson

The Student Representative Council has teamed up with Arc to launch a comprehensive new welfare service to the UNSW community in the coming weeks.

SRC President Billy Bruffey is in the final stages of preparation to launch a volunteer-based program that will issue emergency aid packages for free to anyone who asks for one.

It will see any student who requires help finding food, personal items or accommodation gain it with ease and anonymity.

“We wanted to come up with a bold, frontline response to student welfare issues on campus,” Bruffey said.

“A lot of people are kicked out of home and a lot of people are struggling to make ends meet on inadequate Centrelink welfare payments.”

The initiative sprouted from the on-campus crisis accommodation secured by the previous SRC, but has been enhanced with the addition of an on-site food bank.

In liaison with the Alma Mater Society of the University of British Columbia, who also provide this service to their students, the SRC has created a UNSW food and goods bank which will include a variety of packs to meet a variety of student needs.

This will include a child pack for parents, a toiletry pack, a carbohydrate-based food pack, and a fruit and vegetable food pack.

“Anyone who needs help will get help and we’ll never turn away anybody. It’s on a trust basis, so if you come 10 times a semester we take it you are in need,” Bruffey said.

The most important aspect of this program, which will run out of the Arc offices, is that it is not an immediate, quick fix for someone in need. Arc’s caseworkers are on board, and anyone in need will be referred onto them.

There will also be a number of pamphlets in the packs which provide useful information about social housing, women’s shelters and outreach centres.

Mr Bruffey says the range of options will promote dignity for the people who need it, as they will not involve any accompanying force or pressure upon those who pick up the packs.

Currently, the program will only be available to students, but the SRC hopes to expand this to the wider community as awareness is built.

“What we’re trying to do is help people in need, but also address the underlying problems that put them there in the first place,” Bruffey said.

A website will be launched once the program begins. If you would like to help, or volunteer for this program or any other welfare program at UNSW, please contact the SRC Welfare Collective.