New service to help vulnerable

THE Far North Coast Family Referral Service has created a free telephone hotline and face-to-face referral service.

Designed to connect vulnerable families in the region with the appropriate local services available to help them, it's expected to be operational by mid-August.

Based in Lismore, it's one of eight being trialled across NSW.

Information sessions about the new service will be held in Murwillumbah on August 2 and Alstonville on August 7 for local community organisations and community members.

Project manager Trudi Fehrenbach said it was about families being able to access help quickly when they needed it.

"The service will have a 1300 number families can call to reach a skilled team who can identify what help they need and link them up with a support service that's right for them," she said.

"We will follow up with families, to make sure they are getting the help they need."

She said the resource would be vital to community service organisations as well.

With one phone call, they will be able to discover what services are available in multiple areas - employment, health, training, counselling, parenting education and support services.

Referrals and instant information about other family support resources would be available on the phone.

"Collaboration among community service organisations is paramount to making this service effective and a key focus will be on building networks between all service providers in the area," Mrs Fehrenbach said.

"With the support of all community service organisations, as well as the wider community, the Family Referral Service has the potential to make a positive difference in the lives of disadvantaged families in our community. "

For more information about the new service, contact Mrs Fehrenbach on 0417 119 298 or email

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