Salvos calls for survey response

Sunbury Corps Officer Shaun Featherston and his daughter Hannah preparing for the Red Shield Appeal last year (Damjan Janevski). 334996_02

Zoe Moffatt

The Salvation Army is calling on residents from Sunbury and Macedon Ranges to share their experiences with the cost-of-living, amid increasing trends reported in the area.

The survey will act as an independent, nationwide pulse check on social justice issues and will aid the charity in directing services and advocate for positive change where it’s needed most.

Sunbury Corps Officer Shaun Featherston said he has noticed the living crisis trends in Sunbury have been quite significant.

“Where we used to see more homeless, pension and unemployed people come into our services, in the last 12 months that has flipped to have working families come in,” he said.

“Most would have a mortgage, so they come to see what food they can get and if they are able to get an EFT card that can be used… for food or fuel.

“[This is] to free up their money to keep up with payments to the banks.”

Mr Featherston encouraged local residents to fill out the survey as he said it would give them a better understanding of the living pressures, trends and social and economic trends happening in the community.

“We all hear statistics from places from a broad stroke but we also are experiencing these issues right here in our community.

“This will enable us to better assess and see the needs in our community and define the allocation of Red Shield Appeal money to better service our community.

“All money raised every year in May at Red Shield Appeal stays in our community, to provide hope in our community and to meet the needs.”

The Salvation Army’s National Social Justice Stocktake was first released in 2022 and provided an overview of what mattered most to people across Australia.

It uncovered mental health and housing affordability as the top two concerns nationally, with alcohol and drug misuse, family violence and homelessness rounding out the top five.

If you are in need of assistance, Mr Featherston said there are several ways, including in person at the Salvos in Sunbury or you can call them on 03 9744 2095 for the doorway service.

Residents can call the phone assistance line to be assessed for an EFT voucher on 03 8873 5288. There are also case workers on site to help, and groups functioning and food services during the week.