Isolation blamed on urban sprawl
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.”
Clan WA chief executive Mitch Messer with Clan staff.