‘Get active and care for your community’

‘Get active and care for your community’

Limestone Coast residents are being urged to take on a personal active challenge and raise money for ac.care as the organisation faces unprecedented demand for homelessness and emergency relief services.

Among the first residents to join the acTIVE.care campaign are Gym Challenge Meals founder Alex Marlow, Anglican Church of Mount Gambier parish priest Father Neil Fernando and Confession cafe barista Brooke Jean.

The trio will each set their own activity goal through the acTIVE.care platform and launch their fundraisers to help support people in need.

Mr Marlow plans to step up his workouts at the gym, while Confession will call on the community to rally behind the ‘Brooke 500’ – tasking Ms Jean with completing 500km on an exercise bike across 30 days.

Fr Fernando’s fundraiser will launch in mid-April with games of table tennis, cards, chess and Carrom at the Christ Church Hall every Saturday from 3pm to 5pm.

Fr Fernando said he hoped the indoor games would create a social outlet for people who may feel isolated, while also raising money for ac.care through donations made by participants.

ac.care homelessness and community services manager Trish Spark said a shortage of affordable housing, the rising cost of living and summer flooding in the Murraylands and Riverland had led to a growing number of people turning to ac.care’s services for support.

Sadly, the lack of affordable housing has meant the homelessness service has had to resort to tents and other options in some cases to help families and individuals unable to secure stable accommodation.

“We are launching the acTIVE.care campaign to encourage anyone to help support vulnerable people by nominating a challenge and timeframe, then setting a target for their fundraising, which will all help provide more support where it is needed most in our communities,” Ms Spark said.

“We know people share our concerns about the dire need in our communities and now we are making it easier for people to make a difference by participating in the acTIVE.care challenge.”

Ms Spark said the agency had already supported to close to 400 people in each of its three core regions for homelessness services – the Limestone Coast, Riverland and Murraylands – equating to the number of clients the organisation was funded to assist for the financial year being reached in just over six months.

“The demand for support and strain on our resources is the worst I have ever seen it in the 11 years I have been here,” she said.

“We really need the community’s help to boost our capacity so we can do more and expand the amount of emergency relief we can provide, which is so desperately needed.”

Anyone can visit www.accare.org.au/activecare and sign up, nominate their own challenge and automatically create their own fundraising page to share on social media and support ac.care.

“You might commit to just walking with family or friends a few times per week, become a regular at the gym or maybe you’re ready to run a marathon,” Ms Spark said.

“It is completely up to the individual, their ability and commitment to set a realistic challenge and start fundraising.”

Ms Spark said just $30 could provide a food hamper for an individual or $50 would ensure a family had enough to eat for a few days.

Donations of $100 are enough to provide a tent and other supplies to a person experiencing homelessness, while $200 can cover a swag and $250 can provide two nights of emergency accommodation when long-term housing options are temporarily not available.

Ms Spark said these amounts were provided as a guide and local staff would direct funds to the greatest needs for the vulnerable people they work with in regional South Australia.

“People can raise funds individually or as a team – such as a sports group or business – and it is a great way for people to galvanise support from their family, friends and social networks and give back to their community.”

Visit www.accare.org.au/activecare to sign up.

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