Nurturing Growth


Nigel’s life had taken an unexpected turn leaving him homeless living in his car for months. While the ocean views from his beach front parking spot are of some comfort, the lack of a safe, secure home, coupled with the challenges of his post-traumatic stress disorder, were making life difficult.

It was at this point that Nigel reached out to Matthew Talbot Homeless Service for assistance who in turn connected him with Ability Links Lake Macquarie to assist with his desire to establish social supports in his local area.

Meeting with a Linker, Nigel talked about the things he was finding difficult - his ‘pension’ didn’t always stretch to allow for a ‘decent feed’ at the end of a fortnight, and he didn’t feel well enough to work full-time.

Nigel’s first priority was to find free, or low-cost meals and grocery options. His Linker organised a list of locally viable options together with a list of relevant community groups and organisations.

Nigel said he’d used the list and visited the Community Kitchen run by the New Hope Church at Caves Beach, which offers a once-a-week free evening meal at the Community Kitchen. Nigel enjoyed the meal and the company of the other diners who made him feel very welcome.

In meetings Nigel mentioned he found gardening and lawn maintenance restful, leading him and his Linker to talk about volunteering at a community garden. The linker team sourced a number of potential volunteering opportunities for Nigel. The Catalina Conference Centre turned out to be in need of a volunteer groundskeepers. After meeting to discuss the opportunity, Nigel agreed to volunteer at the conference centre as a grounds keeper three days a week. He reports having found the positive outlet for his passions he had been looking for.

Nigel continues to work with Matthew Talbot Homeless Service.