"Dream job": Local Hero recognised for her role in helping the needy

Published 4:40pm 15 September 2022

"Dream job": Local Hero recognised for her role in helping the needy
Words by Ashleigh Howarth

When it comes to helping people in need, Helen Bambling says there is no better job in the world.

Helen has been a regular face at the Breakfast Club for roughly 14 years, assisting the homeless and serving up hot meals for people in need.

This week, Helen was recognised for her dedication and commitment to the community by being named a Westfield Local Hero for 2022.

She was nominated by a fellow volunteer from The Breakfast Club, and was announced as the winner earlier this week following a public vote.

Helen said she felt honoured to be named the Local Hero for the North Lakes region.

“It was an honour to be nominated and to represent The Breakfast Club,” Helen said.

“I have been on such a high this week – this is something I will never forget.”

Helen received a $20,000 grant, which The Breakfast Club will use to purchase food for the next year.

Born to help others

Life hasn’t always been easy for Helen, but she knew from a young age she was destined to help others.

Helen was born with a cleft palate which required numerous surgeries and time in hospital.

“I had 18 surgeries as a child, and I would spend up to six weeks at a time in hospital,” Helen said.

“Since I was in hospital a lot, my reading and writing went backwards.

“I ended up going to the Redcliffe Special School.”

After her mum passed away, Helen experienced what it was like to be homeless.

“My mum passed away when she was 82 and I was 32,” Helen explained.

“I was living in someone’s granny flat and in garages.”

It is these life experiences which helps her empathise with people who are reaching out for help.

“I can relate to a lot of the people who visit us because I have been in that situation myself,” Helen explained.

“I make those connections and I try and close those doors for them to help close the gap.”

When she is at The Breakfast Club, Helen overseas the meals that are being prepared, the donations that come through, and is always willing to lend an ear to someone who needs to talk.

Helen also goes out in the van as part of The Breakfast Club’s Outreach Program, where she connects with homeless people on the street.

According to Helen, this is her “dream job”.

“I love what I do, and I wouldn’t change anything about it,” she said.

“This is my dream job because I love helping people.

“Everyone here at The Breakfast Club is my family.”

"Dream job": Local Hero recognised for her role in helping the needy

More people reaching out for assistance

The increase in the cost of living and the housing crisis means more people than ever are being pushed to the brink, according to Helen.

“We are seeing more and more people come in that can’t afford to pay the rent and they are having to leave their homes,” Helen said.

“There are also people that can’t afford food.

“This is causing so much stress - these people are in dire need.

“It also means people’s mental health is impacted.

“It shouldn’t have come to this, but it has.

“People can come to us because we are a safe space and can help.”

Find out more

The Breakfast Club in Redcliffe is a free crisis centre where the homeless or disadvantaged can access information about local services, receive emergency food, clothing and other supplies.

They provide free community meals every Tuesday and Thursday from 4.30-5.30pm, as well as a hot breakfast every Monday, Wednesday and Friday morning from 7-8am.

They can also provide emergency food parcels and supplies for rough sleepers.

If you are needing help or would like to have a chat to someone about donating items, phone the Breakfast Club on 0467 811 380.

They are located at Pensioner's Hall, on the corner of Portwood St and Oxley Ave, Redcliffe.

For more information about The Breakfast Club, you can follow them on Facebook, Instagram or visit the website.

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