• Rubie Tran

Barnardos Australia update: Yurungai Learning Centre, Waterloo

During these difficult times, Barnardos work in helping those most vulnerable in the community does not stop. The AMF proudly supports the Barnardos Yurungai Learning Centre, which continues to help the community despite the Coronavirus lockdown.


Local schools attended by Yurungai students, Mt Carmel and Alexandra Park, kept their doors open so that families in need of extra support could continue to receive it. However, despite this, too few children were attending school to warrant keeping the Yurungai Learning Centre open throughout the lockdown.

However, this has not prevented Barnardos from continuing to help the community. Yurungai Learning Centre Manager, Viv Freeman, has been making regular calls to Yurungai families to ensure they are coping with their online remote learning plans. A number of the children at the centre don’t have access to laptops or the internet at home, so Viv has borrowed laptops, where possible, to assist some families. Others continue their learning with paper homework packs. The schools have also been handing out laptops to students on an ad-hoc basis, but many families are falling through the gaps. The Barnardos team will be providing homework support over the phone for all students who need help.


Viv has also been on hand to provide over the phone support to children and families struggling with behavioural issues. She has spoken with many parents whose mental health is suffering under the lockdown conditions. Viv contacts these families by phone after-hours to ensure they receive support at one of the most difficult times of the day.


For some Waterloo families in the program, learning space is a real challenge. Families of five or more are living in two-bedroom apartments. While this situation was manageable with Yurungai Learning Centre providing support, the lockdown environment is not ideal and many families are struggling. Families were concerned that some children would spend their evenings roaming the streets without normal evening activities to keep them occupied. The centre has responded by sending baking packs to families so that they have an activity that parents and children can do together. The baking packs also ensure they get a little extra something to eat.


Despite these efforts, Viv and her team still have serious concerns about a number of families. Viv has been visiting these families and checking on the children in their front gardens and porches. Viv also drops off containers of cooked meals – it’s a great way to let them know that people care about them.

Through our ongoing support of Barnardos Australia, the AMF continues to help those in need during these most difficult times.

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