Jesuit Social Services
Working to build a just society
About Jesuit Social Services
Jesuit Social Services is an organisation which promotes social change through its work to foster a society which is just and in which all people can live to their full potential. A project of Jesuit Social Services in western Sydney is The Willmot
Family Support Program established at Willmot, a suburb within the Blacktown City Council. This program is a family-focused community development project combining advocacy, education, training and relief. It is particularly focused on
supporting disadvantaged women and children.
Willmot has a long history of social and economic disadvantage. It is the second most disadvantaged area in Blacktown City Council with an unemployment rate three times the national average. Willmot has 30.1% sole parent families and a domestic violence rate twice that of the national average.
How is Willmot Family Support Program achieving its goals?
This program is a place-based project reaching out and providing services and resources to the most vulnerable parents and their children to provide a sense of purpose, an increased level of community spirit and hope for Willmot. It operates
from the Jesuit Social Services Community Hub and is based in the centre of Willmot. The program will specifically offer and provide:
• Domestic violence referral and support
• Personal and family counselling
• Accessibility to healthy food and clothing
• Transport to medical and other health services
• Life skills training, e.g. budgeting, nutrition and healthy meal preparation
• Parenting training
• Supported play groups for mums and young children
• Preparation programs for children starting school
• Children’s holiday program
• Daily informal drop-in centre for mums in the community to have a place to connect
How is Willmot Family Support Program funded?
Jesuit Social Services has fostered partnerships with local organisations and people in order to build long-term services sensitive to genuine local needs. Local and state government support has covered one-off infrastructure improvements. Businesses have provided financial support for the provision of equipment and skills, churches and organisations for volunteers and program support. Willmot Public School and local residents are providing connection to the most vulnerable women and children.
The Loreto Sisters and Jesuits are providing skilled staff on a pro bono basis.
What is Lenity Australia’s involvement?
Lenity Australia’s ongoing support to the Jesuit Social Services is to fund for the next three years the Willmot Family Support Program. This program has the potential to enhance the lives of hundred of families, women and children, and turn a sense of hopelessness to hope.
Women and children are the single most vulnerable group coping with multiple layers of disadvantage with issues such as domestic violence, limited access to healthy food and clothing, transport to health services, budgeting and basic living skills. Willmot faces what is known as structural disadvantage - through no fault of the residents, there are very limited services most of us take for granted. Due to being isolated there are no local medical or legal services and very limited access to fresh food. Local organisations have been working for years to remedy these challenges yet struggle from the lack of resources and facilities.