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MASP and Sunassist Join Forces to Enhance Community Services

Mallee Accommodation & Support Program (MASP) and Sunassist, two local not-for-profit organisations, have come together to celebrate the transfer of ownership and management of the Red Earth Heart Van (REHV). The van, previously utilised by MASP for meal distribution and laundry services, will now be repurposed by Sunassist to further enhance community support initiatives.

In this collaboration, MASP and Sunassist mark the handover of the REHV, symbolising a shared commitment to serving the Mildura community. Originally acquired through funding from the “Pick My Project” initiative in 2019, the REHV faced challenges meeting its intended objectives due to operational constraints. However, MASP’s recent introduction of the Assertive Outreach Program has demonstrated a shift in focus towards more impactful community engagement strategies.

MASP’s Assertive Outreach Program has taken significant steps to reach vulnerable community members directly. Over the past eight weeks, the program has identified 38 rough sleepers across Mildura Rural City Council, Wentworth, and Balranald Shires.

The program has offered immediate support through targeted interventions, including information, material aid, and access to essential services such as drinking water. “The response to the program has been overwhelming and highlighted the critical need for such initiatives in addressing homelessness in our region,” said Charmaine Calis, Acting CEO of MASP.

Mary Rydberg, Chair of the MASP Board, emphasised the importance of the Assertive Outreach Program. “The launch of our Assertive Outreach Program marks a significant milestone for MASP in serving the most vulnerable members of our community,” Mrs Rydberg stated. “By directly engaging with rough sleepers and addressing their immediate needs, we are making tangible progress towards creating Mallee communities, with individuals and families equipped to lead safer, secure and healthy lives”.

Richard Garlick, Executive Officer at Sunassist, agreed with Mrs Rydberg and Mrs Calis, emphasising the partnership’s commitment to holistic community support. “The Red Earth Heart Van perfectly complements our existing services, offering invaluable support to frail aged and disabled individuals,” Mr Garlick said. “Thanks to our partnership with MASP, we can expand our reach and create opportunities for volunteer engagement and future collaboration.”

“We are thrilled to partner with Sunassist and see the future benefits and potential of REHV within our community. We are committed to addressing community needs thanks to collaboration and a proactive approach,” concluded Mrs Calis, Acting CEO of MASP.

The REHV will now play a pivotal role in Sunassist’s service portfolio, enhancing initiatives such as community transport, meals on wheels, and social outings. With a client base exceeding 5000 and a dedicated volunteer force of over 300 individuals, Sunassist is committed to maximising the impact of the REHV across various community support programs.

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