Volunteers making difference in Tackling Tobacco at Belmont Neighbourhood Centre

Cancer Council NSW
Woman standing in front of a sign.

Belmont Neighbourhood Centre successfully completed the Tackling Tobacco program in June 2021.

With only two paid staff members, Belmont Neighbourhood Centre relies on their dedicated volunteers to deliver their important programs and services.

Julie has been a dedicated volunteer at Belmont Neighbourhood Centre for over six years, volunteering two to three days per week. She led the implementation of the Tackling Tobacco program with support from the Centre’s full-time manager, Kylie.

Julie and Kylie share about their involvement with the Tackling Tobacco program.

1. Can you describe your organisation and the clients?

Kylie: We are a community organisation situated in Lake Macquarie. The aim of the Belmont Neighbourhood Centre is to develop and co-ordinate activities and services in response to the needs of the area, and to help disadvantaged people and groups. We are a vibrant and busy community centre with lots of projects, activities and events.

2. What is your role at the organisation?

Julie: My role is mostly the Oz Harvest program and hot food program where I pack and distribute food to people in need. I also volunteered my services to undertake the Tackling Tobacco training last year and I work with our clients and volunteers to assist those looking to quit smoking.

3. Why did you get involved with the Tackling Tobacco program?

Julie: I decided to undertake the Tackling Tobacco training so I could further assist people giving up smoking to better their health, to improve their lives and financial situations.

4. What’s a Tackling Tobacco achievement you’re proud of?

Julie: One of my clients really wanted to quit smoking for his children’s welfare so he could live a long and healthy life with his children, and to improve his young family’s financial situation. It did take this young man approximately six months to quit, but with ongoing support from Belmont neighbourhood Centre he managed to achieve his goal.

5. How has the Tackling Tobacco program impacted Belmont Neighbourhood Centre?

Kylie: The program has been extended over two years due to ongoing Covid lockdowns. Over these lockdown periods we would deliver Nicotine Replacement Therapy products to client’s letter boxes so they could continue with their quit campaign. We had approximately 30 people use this service, and some have been quite successful. This has meant that some of our community members have bettered their health and financial situations.

6. What’s the best thing about volunteering at Belmont Neighbourhood Centre?

Julie: The best things about volunteering at the Belmont Neighbourhood Centre is the opportunity to help people in my community who are less fortunate and the amazing lifelong friendships that have developed as a result of my time with the centre.

Kylie, Julie and Belmont’s dedicated volunteers extended the Tackling Tobacco program due to the COVID-19 pandemic, lockdowns and shutdowns and officially wrapped up in June 2021.

With support from Cancer Council NSW, Belmont Neighbourhood Centre has updated their smoking policy, started collecting data electronically via an iPad, provided staff and volunteers with Tackling Tobacco training and have provided clients with FREE Nicotine Replacement Therapy throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.

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