Concern at residents’ help pleas
A COMMUNITY support centre has recorded an alarming increase in Hinchinbrook residents seeking help, with 170 clients visiting the facility last month alone.
The number of residents seeking food, shelter and support from Hinchinbrook Community Support Centre has risen about 10 per cent during the past six months.
Centre worker Carolyn Kemp said many new clients were accessing the service.
“It is individuals and families who are struggling financially, irrespective of their income,” she said. “Financial issues exacerbate other aspects of a person’s life impacting on relationships, work commitments and living conditions.”
The centre helped 102 people in January, with only two new clients, while of the 170 supported in June, 16 were new to the centre.
Other residents are seeking out individuals for support.
A Herbert River fruit and vegetable farmer said he had received requests for food handouts this year for the first time since his business opened.
“I have upwards of three people per month stopping in and asking for food because they cannot afford it,” he said.
“You tend to see it in the cities and larger places but not Ingham. People just haven’t got the money or a job, so they’re just getting the necessary items.”
Regional economist Colin Dwyer said Ingham was similar to other areas suffering after the mining downturn.
“There’s been a drop- off in the mining sector, so once people from the Hinchinbrook area start moving back, there’s a demand for more jobs,” Mr Dwyer said.