What's new at Urban Seed (Nov)

What's new at Urban Seed (Nov)

HAS AUSTRALIA LOST ITS HEART?

Some are saying that Australia has lost its heart. It appears that this may be true when we consider the plight of refugees, the increase in numbers of homeless people, and the rising mental health issues (to name just a few of the social problems around us). Then there's the indifference, or even worse, the outright opposition to any humanitarian approaches to these issues. We hear in the media and in pub conversations words like "illegals", "dole bludgers", and "junkies" used as ways of dismissing the depth of underlying needs that people experiencing marginalisation experience.


But I am thankful that I get to hear the voices of a different Australia mixed in with these negative messages. I hear people like Jan, who was on a corporate educational walk a few weeks ago who, after hearing some of the back stories to people Urban Seed walks with, emotionally stated that she had never realised that it could be so bad and asked what she could do to help. She said that she felt deeply moved when she walked past people sleeping rough and she wanted to get involved but she didn’t know how. This opened up a good and caring conversation.

Marvellous Melbourne and Marginalised Melbourne

Melbourne has just been voted the World’s most liveable city for the fifth year in a row. I’m biased but I reckon those people at the Economist magazine really know what they’re talking about! Melbourne was known as ‘Marvellous Melbourne’ in the late 1800’s due to the impact of the Gold Rush and she well deserves that title again. But at the same time, side by side with Marvellous Melbourne is Marginalised Melbourne, made up of an increasing number of people who don’t get to enjoy the benefits of living here. They are marginalised through poverty and homelessness and addictions and mental health issues and family violence… just to name a few. The gap between the haves and the have-nots in Melbourne is getting wider and we are seeing an increase in marginalisation on a daily basis. The fact that we live in a city known for years worldwide as the best place around makes it even more tragic that we are not generous enough, not other-centred enough to make sure that no-one goes without. I can hear John Lennon’s haunting anthem ringing in my ears as I write… ‘you may say I’m a dreamer, but I’m not the only one, I hope some day you’ll join us’ and all people will live to enjoy the great things that our world has to offer.

David Wilson, CEO, Urban Seed

Housing Affordability Action Group

Are your choices restricted because of housing costs?
Are you forced to live in unsuitable accommodation – or on the street – because rents are too high? 
Do you want to work with others towards change?

Andreana Reale is drawing a group together to work towards systemic change around housing affordability. Would you like to be part of it?

Come connect with others over a pot of soup… and let’s work towards changing the housing situation.

At 1:00pm on August 10 the group will be meeting upstairs from Credo Café, Melbourne CBD. Go down Baptist Place (off Little Collins Street, between Swanston & Russell) until you reach the glass door. Buzz Level 4.

Good Neighbour Month wrap-up

During July, the coldest month of the year, we been observed our second ever Good Neighbour Month. During Good Neighbour Month we had a focus on calling our communities to take seriously the need to be good neighbours, especially to people at the margins of our society. Good Neighbour Month is run in a partnership between Life* Expedition and Urban Seed.

On July 4 we launched Good Neighbour Month with a flash mob in a very rainy Bourke Street Mall. The event opened up many conversations about being a good neighbour, with various people ranging from students to city council workers. We continued the conversation on Facebook and Twitter throughout July. Some of these conversations led to plans for some laneway cricket matches between our business neighbours and members of the street community. Our experience has been that these encounters create opportunities for neighbours to break down some of the stereotypes that keep us separated in our communities.

This year we gave our first Good Neighbour Award to our partners at Collins Street Baptist Church, for their commitment to being good neighbours to a wide range of people. Over twenty years ago CSBC responded to the needs of their neighbourhood by starting the Urban Mission Unit, which we now know as Urban Seed.

During the month Life* Expedition took the opportunity of their Annual Celebration Dinner on July 18 to raise funds for the youth work of Operation Stitches at some of Melbourne’s inner city public housing estates.

We also had our friends at Kinfolk Café and STREAT working with Credo Team and Life* Expedition to organise a Progressive Laneway Dinner in Melbourne CBD on Saturday night (August 1). The funds raised will help support Urban Seed’s work of providing spaces of belonging in the neighbourhoods where we work. We were really pleased with how the dinner went. It was a great opportunity to work closely with our neighbours at STREAT, Kinfolk and Life* Expedition and we were also able to connect with a lot of new people for the first time.

(Some of the photos were take by Sanjeev Singh, from Singh & Coghlan. Thanks Sanjeev!)

Of course, just because Good Neighbour Month has finished for another year doesn’t mean we stop working on be good neighbours. July was an opportunity to try change our habits as a society. But whatever month it may be, there is no time like the present to get to know our neighbours better and help strengthen our communities.