We Care Connect unveils new Hunter warehouse with help from Newcastle Permanent Charitable Foundation

We Care Connect unveils new Hunter warehouse with help from Newcastle Permanent Charitable Foundation

We Care Connect has officially opened its first warehouse to aid children living in poverty across the Hunter.

The warehouse was made possible with a $70,000 grant from the Newcastle Permanent Charitable Foundation.

We Care Connect’s volunteer-led model delivers a practical service that benefits families in poverty by providing childhood equipment and supplies through a network of agencies and case workers.

Originally established on the Central Coast, We Care Connect’s new warehouse facility at Thornton sets up a sustainable operation to support those in need across Newcastle, Lake Macquarie and the lower Hunter.

Chair of Newcastle Permanent Charitable Foundation, Jennifer Leslie said the new facility would help We Care Connect to provide local families doing it tough in the Hunter with the support and services they need.

“This 450-square-metre warehouse has been equipped with excellent facilities and will be a bustling hive of activity,” Jennifer said.

We Care Connect currently supports 250 Central Coast families and re-homes close to 10,000 items each month.

“We know there are twice as many children living in disadvantage in the Hunter as there are on the Coast, so volunteers will be all-hands-on-deck re-homing cots, prams, clothing, and nappies as We Care Connect works towards their vision of reversing the day-to-day impact of poverty,” Jennifer said.

“The members of our community who make generous donations to We Care Connect can feel confident their contribution will be stored safely and securely until a new home is found for the item with the right family.”

We Care Connect CEO and Founder, Derryck Klarkowski said the Thornton warehouse would help the local charity build on their work on the Central Coast.

“The Hunter has parallel demographics to the Central Coast, with high levels of disadvantage, often low socio-economic income levels and pockets of extreme poverty,” Derryck said.

“We’re often asked, how can I help? And we offer a very practical way to help. If you no longer need that cot because the kids have grown up, give it to We Care Connect and we’ll pass it on to a family in need. Community donations make up more than 95% of what we distribute.”

As for where the support may go, Derryck said previous families who have received help included a young mum-to-be, seven months pregnant and with no family to support her, for whom filling the nursery felt like a distant dream. Another was a mum and four kids who came from interstate, escaping domestic violence, leaving all their belongings behind – living in a small room in a hostel, they had to rebuild their lives from scratch.

“We Care Connect is powered by over 60 volunteers who provide passion, skill and sheer hard work to give children the critical support they need,” Derryck said.

“Critically, we’ve now partnered up with about 250 case workers. So, we’re there for neighbourhood and community centres, family support agencies, schools, and student support officers. This means everything we give is part of a total package of care.

“It’s not just a shirt, it’s not just a car seat – it’s professional support that goes with it to break the cycle of poverty.”


IMAGE | Derryck Klarkowski, Jennifer Leslie, Helen Barker, and Carly Bush (L-R).

Newcastle Permanent Charitable Foundation

The Newcastle Permanent Charitable Foundation distributes around $1.5 million in grants each year to facilitate charitable projects to address disadvantage in local communities throughout the Hunter, Central West, Central Coast, New England, Mid North Coast, and Northern Rivers regions of NSW. Since its establishment in 2003, the Foundation has provided more than $25 million to more than 540 community initiatives.

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