Iso­la­tion blamed on ur­ban sprawl

Southern Gazette (South Perth) - - NEWS -

A LACK of pub­lic trans­port and so­cial in­fra­struc­ture in new sub­urbs is iso­lat­ing young fam­i­lies, ac­cord­ing to Clan WA CEO Mitch Messer.

The Kewdale not-for-profit or­gan­i­sa­tion has pro­vided sup­port to vul­ner­a­ble fam­i­lies in WA for more than 20 years, first as a col­lec­tive be­fore amal­ga­mat­ing as Clan WA in 2000.

Mr Messer said a lot of new de­vel­op­ments were just a bun­dle of houses with a bus which came ev­ery two hours which, for young fam­i­lies with only one car, could mean new par­ents were of­ten stuck at home.

“Fam­i­lies have nowhere to go be­cause the lo­cal shop­ping cen­tre and com­mu­nity sup­port, child­care, those things are built later,” he said.

“The prop­er­ties are cheaper but they miss out on a lot of other things which can make so­cial­is­ing much harder.”

Mr Messer said he thought there was more pres­sure on fam­i­lies than 20 years ago.

“Although we’re more to­gether in terms of where we live, we’re iso­lated through less ac­cess to that ex­tended fam­ily,” he said.

“We see pres­sures that im­pact on par­ent­ing such as hous­ing af­ford­abil­ity and fi­nan­cial is­sues which in turn cause is­sues in par­ent­ing, plus do­mes­tic vi­o­lence which we’ve seen in­crease over time.” CLAN WA plans to de­velop a so­cial me­dia strat­egy af­ter re­ceiv­ing a Bankwest Foun­da­tion grant.

“The so­cial me­dia strat­egy is about let­ting peo­ple know we’re here, giv­ing vol­un­teers a way to have a con­ver­sa­tion,” Mr Messer said.

“The po­ten­tial is to grow so we do have on­line ser­vices such as stream­ing and work­shops.”

Clan WA’s ser­vices are pro­vided by vol­un­teers trained in ‘strength first’.

“We don’t tell them what they should be do­ing but are about help­ing peo­ple do their own thing,” Mr Messer said.

Vol­un­teers will visit clients in their homes of­fer­ing peer-topeer sup­port as op­posed to ex­pert ad­vice.

“Fam­i­lies know what to do; they just need as­sis­tance with strate­gies and to un­der­stand how to get there,” Mr Messer said.

Few peo­ple have said they wanted a nu­clear fam­ily.

“Peo­ple don’t have an ideal fam­ily type,” Mr Messer said.

“They just want a fam­ily which is less stress­ful.”

Pic­ture: Jon Hew­son www.com­mu­ni­typix.com.au d463760

Clan WA chief ex­ec­u­tive Mitch Messer with Clan staff.

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