OUR SAY: Sustained effort needed to help those less fortunate

TUCKED away at Orange City Centre, many people wouldn’t have known there was a rest centre in the Orange until it was taken away.

But when Orange City Council resolved to end the lease for the premises in June and close the service after Canobolas Local Area Command responded to 116 complaints in the last two years, people came out to say how much it would be missed.

The centre served the community from Orange City Centre for about 30 years after it relocated from the rear of Post Office Lane, providing shelter from the weather, a toilet and shower, comfortable seats, discount snacks and a tea and coffee.

Nursing mothers used the centre to breastfeed their children in peace, shoppers used it to rest between appointments and it was said the homeless sometimes used it to wash clothes and have a shower.

But most importantly, it provided a meeting point for people with nowhere else to go or those who were simply lonely.

Fusion Central West has a long history in the community for providing services largely for younger people, but it saw a need for a place open to everyone and wasted no time making it happen.

Its Anson Street location is still central, making it convenient for previous users.

One would hope an operation run on church grounds would be distanced from the stigma of antisocial behaviour that plagued the former centre.

The result of monetary donations and volunteers who sourced materials for the upgraded kitchen and installed them is a centre where people can again turn to.

The happiness evident on the faces of those who attended the launch on Thursday night was justified.

It’s not a counselling service and the offerings are basic, but it will be a place people can meet, play chess and enjoy a warm drink and food. 

Fusion still needs assistance – the centre does not have shower facilities yet and the management is keen to see that happen sometime into the future.

It also wants to offer art, craft and cooking classes.

Keeping the centre’s running costs covered and supplies stocked will also take sustained effort.

The real test during the next 12 months will be whether the new location proves as popular and much of that will rest on how willing the rest of the community is to ensure they look out for those less fortunate.