A week in the life of the Anglicare FFA caseworker

I’m not very concerned with official titles, but it may be helpful if you have heard it at least this once! This is a part-time role, 17 hours a week. Generally I work Tuesdays, Wednesdays and some Thursdays. In the future I will spend two days a month in Mount Druitt or Penrith.
The aim of providing Food and Financial Assistance is to help people who are facing a financial crisis because of some setback or emergency. Anglicare has things like the mobile community pantry to help people who are always struggling. Those who have escaped domestic violence are often in ongoing crisis.
On Tuesdays and Wednesdays I see clients between 10am and 1pm, the time when I have receptionists in the office. There are three appointments each morning, but I often squeeze in more. Recently I saw one guy who had been a carer for a family member but after an argument he was thrown out. This man had lost his family, his income and his home and had nothing to live on. It can take up to 13 weeks before getting NewStart.
I frequently have clients who have escaped domestic violence. Leaving an abusive relationship is the most dangerous time for the abused person, and when the couple have children, they can be used to continue the abuse. The courts often give access rights that are not in the children’s best interest. These cases have years of ongoing issues for which they need support, more support than an FFA caseworker can give them.

In the afternoon I often have one or two
phone appointments with people who can’t
pay their gas or electricity bills. I also have to
complete the recording of all the appointments
I have had, and account carefully for any
money I have spent.
Once a month I am running Community
Thursday, which is a chance for people to
come and have a sausage, receive some
assistance, and have some positive social
interaction. At St. Hilda’s we have been
thinking about ways to minister to people from
the Katoomba community – on these
Thursdays they are coming into our building to
spend time with us. Vince has been faithfully
cooking sausages for a BBQ, others have
been present. Could this be a ministry you can
get involved in?
Last week I was talking to one client who
was telling me how encouraged she was to
come across a picture of “Mary”. This seemed
like the ideal opportunity to invite her to a Bible
study, which she nervously accepted. She
admitted that she feels anxious going to
events when she doesn’t know the people
there. I hope that Community Thursday can
make it easier for people to attend church
events because they have already met a few
of us.

Sue Stones

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