Big hugs all round

Big Group Hug volunteer Jill Pope. (Damjan Janevski)

Elsie Lange

Children and families experiencing disadvantage in Melbourne’s west will soon have access to more material aid, thanks to Big Group Hug’s new hub in Airport West.

The not-for-profit, providing pre-loved goods to families who need them, heads into a new partnership with the Caroline Chisholm Society (CCS), an organisation specialising in pregnancy and early parenting programs and services.

A collaboration between the two will mean an expansion of services into the Macedon Ranges, Brimbank, Melton, Moorobool, Wyndham, Hobsons Bay, Moreland, Moonee Valley and Maribyrnong.

Supported by Recycling Victoria Communities Fund delivered by Sustainability Victoria on behalf of the Victorian government, the project was provided a funding grant, appropriately named the Sustainable Collective by Big Group Hug.

With primary goals to ensure families are given the material aid they need, to reduce poverty and to repurpose items that would otherwise end up in landfill, an expansion west will benefit many.

Big Group Hug chief executive Bernadene Voss said the partnership would amplify positive impacts and ensure kids on the margins would be the biggest beneficiaries.

“We are excited to be working with agencies, in particular with Caroline Chisholm Society, to service an increasing gap of material aid needed in Western Melbourne,” Ms Voss said.

CCS chief executive, Dr Jennifer Weber, said the partnership was a chance to improve the sustainability of material-aid provision across the western suburbs.

She said the growing pressures on families meant a need for material aid “more than ever”.

“We know only too well what it means to ensure we are able to provide a safe place for a baby to sleep, the need of a pram for a mum and her baby to move around in her community,” Ms Weber said.