Dear Inner Circle,

This morning I was thinking about a well-known woman who has been a regular at Wayside for a number of years and wondered why I hadn’t seen her for a while. This woman is as tough as nails, both charming and wily in equal measures, and as street-smart as they come. Years of sleeping rough on the streets in Kings Cross will do that to a person – and the endurance built during the cold, wet and dark nights during the harsh winters would be unmatched. I had watched this woman in recent times, and noticed that her health had deteriorated and had known she’d had several bouts in hospital. So when I hadn’t seen her, I’d thought the worst. When I enquired with our Community Services Manager, I was delighted to hear that after years on the street, she had finally gained housing down the road. There had been another attempt years ago to put her in housing in the Western Suburbs but she had felt so disconnected and isolated from her community that she eventually ended up on the streets again. This time was different because she was still connected to her “family” on the streets. When our staff member asked her if she was happy and if she’d be warm enough, she replied with a big smile, “Yes, and I’ve already got some bed socks from Wayside for my bed tonight.” This story warmed my heart, reminding me that beyond the immediate essentials we offer that provide comfort and dignity, we also work closely to ensure that people remain at the heart of their community.

For countless others, the mere struggle for survival and sense of loneliness is magnified by cold, wet nights. During winter, the demand for our support is at a peak with more people needing hot showers, warm blankets and a safe place to shelter from the elements and risks of homelessness. We’re now at the pointy end of our Winter Appeal and we desperately need your help. Your generosity at this time of year will determine the level of vital support that we can provide to people in the next 12 months.

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It takes a great deal of bravery for anyone to walk through the doors of Wayside for the first time. That’s why it’s so important that we match their courage with an equal measure of commitment and compassion. We need to raise $1.2M before 30 June to continue delivering love and support to people who have fallen through all the gaps and have nowhere else to turn. So please help us this winter with a gift and help us keep our community supported with love and warmth. As Graham did before me, I have the courage to ask because there is a never-ending line of people who need our help; people who feel completely alone in this world and have nothing left to live for. When they arrive at Wayside, they are broken but our staff and volunteers work tirelessly to turn their lives around. We can’t do this important work without your help. With almost half of all our funding coming from individuals, we have no choice but to rely on the goodwill of people like you who are prepared to make a sacrifice in order to give others a chance at life. If you can make a donation to our Winter Appeal, please do so here.

My deepest thanks for your support, our beloved Inner Circle. 

Jon

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