A slight change of pace this week.  We were lucky enough to snag the services of Dr Michelle Mulvihill, one of the three co-founders of the Dignity organisation, as our speaker.  Michelle and two of her female friends decided several years ago that there was a lot of talk about helping the homeless in the Southern Highlands, but not a great deal of identifiable action.  They decided to contribute their own capital to change the dynamic, and they were off and running.
In the past three years they have established twenty five emergency accommodation centres, which house up to 200 men, women and/or children on any given night. An extremely high percentage of these people do not return to being homeless. Dignity supports them in both the short and long term so that they experience success and can sink foundations back in society.  The accommodation facilities are of the highest quality and the residents are provided with a comfortable bed, food, showers, new clothing and other personalised support and are generally treated like valued human beings.
Dignity has such emergency accommodation services in the Southern Highlands, and also in Goulburn, Nowra, Illawarra, Wollongong, Queanbeyan, Campbelltown and Northern Sydney.  The uniqueneness of Dignity lies not only in its capacity to bring fresh resolutions to today’s problems, but also in its innovation and use of technology to solve social issues.
They have a 98% success rate in ending homelessness for those who engage with them. This means that the downward spiral of homelessness is broken.  They often cover the bond for people to start their own rental arrangements, and they have been fully repaid in every case.
They were recent finalists in the Telstra Business Awards as Social Changemakers, and won the local Southern Highlands Business Award for the best not-for-profit organization in the local area.  The Berrima Club is examining ways in which we might engage more closely and effectively with this organisation down the track.
At the end of the meeting, members were tasked with selling a bunch of tickets for the movie fundraiser, Bohemian Rhapsody, scheduled for the 1st of November at the Empire.  Come along and bring your friends and relatives for what promises to be a fun evening highlighted by watching the story of Queen accompanied by music we all know and love.  Get moving as tickets are selling fast!   Tickets are $25 each and include food and refreshments as part of the package.   Don't forget there will also be a raffle plus a prize for the best dressed!  Please return any unsold tickets to Lyndall (not the theatre) as soon as possible as tickets are also being sold at the Cinema and through Trybooking.