Adopt-a-Student… because it takes a village

WHITSUNDAYS businesses are being asked to give disadvantaged students a hand for school next year.

The Adopt a Student program aims to help families buy uniforms and school books for students who may otherwise have problems affording them.

Organised by Whitsunday Neighbourhood Centre, the team worked in with staff from schools in Cannonvale and Proserpine to identify students who need the most help.

Now they’re asking businesses to get on board and sponsor a student.

The Whitsunday Neighbourhood Centre will take the money and convert it into credit for uniforms and stationery with local suppliers.

Whitsunday Neighbourhood Centre chief executive officer Rebecca Woods said the money would give students the help they needed to start the 2020 year.

“More and more as the years go on the… education system is becoming more expensive,” she said.

“When you start working through everything, there is a lot of money needed.

“If we can get them dressed appropriately and get them the stationery they need, that’s a good start.”

Mrs Woods said businesses, or any residents who would like to help, could nominate an amount of money they would like to donate and that would be matched to the needs of students.

“Some businesses might want to sponsor $200, others may only be able to sponsor $50,” she said.

For $400, a student could be decked out in their uniform and have their stationery book list filled.

Mrs Woods said local suppliers would be used wherever possible for the items needed.

The Whitsunday Neighbourhood Centre is hoping to be able to help 20 students this year.

Any business or resident wanting to donate should contact the neighbourhood centre on 4946 7850 and they will send out a form.

Donations need to be finalised by November 30.

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18 Mondays till Christmas

With only 18 Monday until Christmas we are beginning to look at how we can assist the community at Christmas. This includes our traditional Adopt-a-Family project. Each year we liaise with Meals on Wheels, Whitsunday Housing Company Inc, Proserpine Community Centre, St Vincent de Paul Cannonvale & Proserpine and our centre to nominate families that may need some extra support at a difficult time of the year. The Whitsunday Community generaously adopt a family and create a hamper or donate presents for that family. With the Whitsunday times coming on board again this year, we can advertise the project and gather supporters. “Without the Community backing we couldn’t achieve what we do”, Rebecca Woods Executive Officer said. “we are great at supporting each other in desperate times here in our little corner of the paradise”.

The Pink Box is here

The Whitsunday Neighbourhood Centre has partnered with Share the Dignity to bring the first Pink Box to the Whitsundays. The Pink Box is a vending machine that dispenses 2 sanitary pads and 6 tampons for free to women that are experiencing hardship.

“Women should not have to choose between food or sanitary products, but this is what happens” executive officer Rebecca Woods said.

“It is also good for teen girls who would skip school if they didn’t have access to sanitary products”.

The vending machine is being delivered this week and should be operational in a fortnight.


Striding to give kids a head start

LOCAL initiative, the Feet First Project, has put Whitsunday Community Services in the running to become Queensland’s community group of 2019.

The support service has been nominated for the Queensland Community Awards Community Group of the Year, a statewide award that acknowledges and rewards the contributions of individuals, communities and businesses throughout Queensland.

Whitsunday Community Services started their Feet First Project in January 2017 to help ease financial pressure in families when sending their children to school by distributing vouchers for school shoes.

Kicking off with 30 vouchers at a cost of $1500, this project has grown immensely since its inception with 497 vouchers at a cost of $22,500 distributed in January this year.

Whitsunday Community Services executive officer Rebecca Woods said by targeting families with education resources to support their children, the stigma associated with accessing charity became insignificant.

Through working at the Whitsunday Community Services, Ms Woods said many families expressed their deterrence from available support due to the stigma associated with accessing charity services and a presumption others were in worse circumstance than themselves.

Ms Woods said parents and guardians could feel more in control of their abilities to get their children ready to attend school with the support of the Feet First Project, which helped them feel empowered to deal with other issues in their lives.

by Shannen McDonald and Georgia Simpson, Whitsunday Times

Cupcake for a Cause

It is that time of year where we seek to raise funds for the Whitsunday Cancer Support Group.  The WCSG has been running monthly meetings since August last year following the amazing support with our “Cupcake for a Cause Drive in July 2018.  The group meets at venues alternating with Whitsunday Neighbourhood Centre in Cannonvale and Proserpine Community Centre in Proserpine.  Each month we provide education and support for all types of cancers, patients, families and survivors.  Some months we have 23 in a group some we have 4, but the main objective is to minimise the amount of travel and tap into our local resources, and we are certainly achieving that goal.

Meeting topics have included:


  • Friday 17th August – ICON Cancer Centre
  • Friday 14th September Lymphatic System Care with Proserpine Massage Clinic
  • Friday 19th October – Skin Care during treatment with LiveLife Pharmacy
  • Friday 16th November – Natural Medicines and Appropriate Nutrition with Kissun Clinics.


  • Friday 15th February – Benefits of Exercise for people with Cancer with Moving Along Physiotherapy
  • Friday 15th March – Lymphatic System Care with Proserpine Massage Clinic
  • Friday 12th April – National Bowel Cancer Screening Program
  • Friday 14th June – Benefits of Relaxation and Meditation for people with Cancer with Find Your Place.

And we have the rest of the year booked with presentations.

We have partnered with Fairbairn Bakery once again to assist in creating some freshly bake cupcakes and we need your help.  Soon we will be sending out an order form for cupcakes.  You can choose to enlist your employees help to purchase a box of cupcakes (dozen per box) at $30 to share for morning tea.  Or you can choose to buy a couple of boxes and choose to sell them individually among your patrons and clients.  Or you can buy a box for work morning tea and a box to eat yourself…….we won’t tell, pinky promise.

How it works:

  • Email to get an order form sent to you.
  • Shout out to everyone in your office/ workplace and stick the poster up in the staffroom.
  • Put it on the staff meeting agenda to discuss how many to buy.
  • Fill in the form based on your requirements. It is so hard to choose, vanilla or red velvet, why not a box of both?
  • Return your form to our centre along with payment by Friday July 5, 2019. Cash or Direct Deposit are available
  • Your scrummy boxes of cupcakes will be delivered to your nominated address on Tuesday, July 16, 2019.
  • Enjoy!!

Save the date: Pyjama Day 2017

The Whitsunday Neighbourhood Centre Staff will participate in Pyjama Day 2017 on Friday July 21.

Pyjama Day raises money and awareness in support for the 43,000 children in foster and alternative care.

So get your flanny’s, onesy or boxers and lend your support while having fun in your work place or school.

Emergency Relief and TC Debbie

With TC Debbie on our doorstep, the Whitsunday Neighbourhood Centre opened from 9-11am to provide people with vouchers to use towards cyclone preparations.  Often when there is a cyclone, people who are already struggling financially or living on benefits have difficulty finding spare money towards cyclone preparation kits.  On March 27 amid the heavy rain and winds in the prelude to the cyclone crossing, the Whitsunday Neighbourhood centre distributed vouchers to over 40 families needing cyclone kits.

Following TC Debbie, the town had been severely damaged.  Many people had lost roofs, windows, fences, sheds and were flooded in the disaster.  There was no power, no water and the only point to purchase grocery items was Woolworths Airlie Beach.  People were screaming for water due to there being no water supply, ice to stock their eskies and fuel to power generators.  The town was flooded in with Myrtle Creek/ Proserpine River breaking it’s banks along with Goorganga Plains.

The Whitsunday Neighbourhood Centre had been advised that due to the region being isolated by flood waters, there was little chance for the Recovery Centre operated by Department of Communities, Child Safety and Disabilities to open in the foreseeable future.  With that in mind, staff and volunteers had a small working bee to make the premises in Cannonvale safe for the public and coordinated with Proserpine Community Centre staff and volunteers to operate from a shop front in Proserpine Main street. A total of $7400 in fuel and food vouchers was provided to locals on Saturday 1 April 2017, 4 days after the cyclone crossed the coast.  This helped to assist 110 families in Proserpine and Cannonvale/ Airlie Beach.

It was at that time that the status of Midge Point Hideaway Bay/ Dingo Beach; and Conway/ Wilsons Beach was unknown and contacts through the Disaster Management Centre in Proserpine showed that the status was still I n question.

Since we have had 2-3 trucks head into these areas with 1 more going to Bowen and distributing to Collinsville.

I arranged with Bowen Neighbourhood Centre to get food Relief parcels to Dingo Beach.  In total 10 truckloads of food and essentials was delivered to these more isolated areas

The donations kept coming from across the nation and it became evident that a “hub” for the donations was needed.  Many donations were initially knocked back as there was no designated point for collection, storage and distribution.  AidTaskers  Mackay were one such group, providing essentials and food that were given no indication of where the items could be left.  They contacted the Whitsunday Neighbourhood Centre through the Facebook page.

The centre then co-ordinated in collaboration for all the donations to be delivered to the Give centre, a location set up by Rotary Club of Airlie Beach – District 9550 and Volunteer Whitsundays Facebook admin to provide a central location for all the donations to be collected, stored and distributed with Rotary coordinating furniture donations in conjunction with Giveit team.


For three weeks’ residents could gain access to these donations and make life easier during the difficult clean up and rebuild of the area.  Over the course of 17 days the Whitsunday Neighbourhood Centre provided assistance to 259 applications from families, couples and individuals and more.

TC Debbie made landfall as a massive Category 4 cyclone spending hours lashing the Whitsunday coast in its path.

Whitsunday people are the best

Having recently run out of funding at the end of the financial year, our pantry has been smashed helping people struggling to make ends meet.  A quick post to Random Acts of Kindness Facebook page has proven that Whitsunday Locals are the best.  Our pantry received some kind and very appreciated donations.  Now we are set to continue to help people with food while we await further funding.

Pyjama Day 2016 is here

\The Whitsunday Neighbourhood Centre Staff will participate in Pyjama Day 2016, raising money and to show support for the 43,000 children in foster and alternative care this July 22.  So get your flanny’s, onesy or boxers and lend your support while having fun in your work place or school.

Car Show & Swap Meet

Sunday 21st February – 9am to 1pm at the Whitsunday Neighbourhood Centre

– 40+ Classic Cars on show
– LIVE Music, food, drinks and so much more!

Took book a stall please phone the Centre on 4946 7850