Say Hi to Valeriya Edsall, Coordinator of The Neighbourhood Hub Mackay for over five years and member of the NCQ committee! She’s this week’s Local Community Hero.
Valeriya is part of a team that focuses on creating great change from small acts of kindness, inclusivity and supporting the multicultural communities of Mackay.
As a migrant from Russia, she understands first-hand some of the challenges of being in a new country and is motivated to reduce the social isolation of those who are new to Australian communities.
“I feel privileged to be able to be involved in creating a small change in the lives of migrant women who are trying to again, from scratch, to find their identities and establish themselves, to find where they belong, and make beautiful connections with others.”
The Neighbourhood Hub Mackay runs a Multicultural Women’s Group and has weekly culture-sharing meetups at the World Café. These groups are critical to reducing social isolation, creating connection and helping to build confidence within migrant communities.
“New migrants for example come to Mackay and they start engaging with the neighbourhood centre, and slowly, slowly they start building self-esteem and confidence. Just recently we had a lovely migrant participant who finally managed to get a job in a role that she really wanted to do but initially couldn’t get because of so many barriers that existed for her.”
Just recently, the World Café also hosted a meeting where Ukrainian people could share their hopes and prayers for their loved ones still in Ukraine.
The thoughtful and essential work of neighbourhood centres like The Neighbourhood Hub is truly life changing for some.
“One participant from the good beginnings home based family support programme said that “if it wasn’t for the support from your centre, I don’t think I would be here now.” These stories are what brings tears to us because it helps us realise what role we play in people’s lives. Moments like these help us understand how important human connection is and how important a nonjudgmental attitude is. It means so much, and I think the neighbourhood centres are uniquely placed to do that for our communities.”
Valeriya and the team at the Neighbourhood Hub Mackay, are constantly working towards creating more life-changing moments on a day-to-day basis in their community.
Written by: Taylor Bast
Published: 29 April, 2022