Cessnock outreach service finds semi-permanent home on Vincent Street in CBD

HELP: Hunter Hands of Hope's Chris Wheelum, Julie Hall and Melissa Gontier at their temporary digs on Vincent Street.
HELP: Hunter Hands of Hope's Chris Wheelum, Julie Hall and Melissa Gontier at their temporary digs on Vincent Street.

For Hunter Hands of Hope, home is where the heart is and they've found their place on Cessnock's main street. 

The not-profit organisation was set up in December to provide dinner to homeless people on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Thursdays and Sundays from a rotunda in Cessnock TAFE park.

Now, they've found a semi-permanent home at 103 Vincent Street.

Founder Melissa Gontier, her mum/partner in crime Julie Hall and a small band of volunteers have had a busy few months with nearly 100 people through the service.

"I never imagined that we would be where we are in a short few months. The support we've received is overwhelming," Ms Gontier said.

"It's not just dinner on the table, it's an outreach service. We are doing referrals to other services.

"We aren't just providing food, it's becoming a holistic service."

While the organisation will work out of the premises for the next few months, Ms Gontier has bigger dreams for the future. 

"The owner has donated the building to us until we get on our feet and can afford rent," she said. 

"We are over the moon. It's the beginning."

Her goal is to set up an outreach centre with a laundry, bathrooms, kitchen and a space for services such as free hair cuts and doctors visits.

"We would love a community centre in Cessnock, not just for the homeless but for the whole community," Ms Gontier said. 

"If they need to utilise shower and laundry facilities, a GP, counselling and a hairdresser. It's what I envision."

For more information and to help out visit the Hunter Hands of Hope Facebook page.