Independent and FREE - 2021 Best Online Publication

‘Kindness and hope’: health help for those living rough

Independent and FREE – 2021 Best Online Publication (Qld Country Press)

‘Kindness and hope’: health help for those living rough


'Kindness and hope': new clinic to provide vital health support for those living rough

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A Sunshine Coast medical outreach service is set to give much-needed support to people living rough – by opening a clinic in the heart of the region.

Sunny Street will open their new clinic in Baden Powell Street, Maroochydore, to help those who are experiencing homelessness and vulnerability and have barriers accessing health care.

The centre will provide support such as chronic disease management, wound care, mental health plans, vaccinations, and other GP services to vulnerable patients, but will also be a safe place where conversations can be had.

Co-Founder and Director of Nursing, Sonia Martin, said the clinic would offer physical and mental assistance.

“In addition to providing all the usual kinds of health services you would expect at a health clinic, our teams are also trained to connect with our patients, offering kindness and hope when, for many of our patients, there is a lot of sadness and despair,” she said.

“This clinic is aimed at improving access to health care for vulnerable people who often have very few choices available to them and we plan to replicate this model all over Australia.”

Patients who attend the clinics can receive health care, meals, warm clothes and other basics that may not otherwise be available to people who are experiencing homelessness.

Local Indigenous artist Shauna Hill was commissioned to create a bright, welcoming mural on the entrance to the clinic, designed to put people at ease immediately.

Sunny Street co-founders Sonia Martin and Nova Evans. Picture: Pete Wallis

The Sunny Street centre will include four Community Connection Pods, the first of which is being funded by Unitywater’s community partnerships program.

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Unitywater Executive Manager for Customer and Community, Katherine Gee, said the funding would help provide a safe, confidential space for vulnerable community members to be heard and cared for at the centre.

“We are pleased to strengthen our partnership with Sunny Street through the community connection pod funding and support their expertise, energy and passion in taking care of our community,” Ms Gee said.

“We live and work in the community and want to help our community thrive. Our partnership extends beyond funding – Sunny Street’s goals are our goals, and we support them how we can, including through our Unitywater volunteer program where our team members help others in the community.

“Sunny Street’s amazing work aligns with the causes that are important to Unitywater customers, including homelessness, youth, the prevention of family and domestic violence and mental health.”

The clinic in Maroochydore will be officially opened by Sunshine Coast Mayor Mark Jamieson on Tuesday, October 19.

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Sunny Street, co-founded by Ms Martin and Dr Nova Evans, has evolved from a start-up to now employing 35 staff and a workforce of more than 150 volunteers.

The group aims to break down the barriers to accessing health care and empower individuals to make informed choices about their health and wellbeing, while providing non-judgemental holistic support to their patients and

They drive sustainable change by educating and involving our community and patients in service design to ensure they are delivering responsive and respectful health care.