Keeping People Connected To Life At The Shed, Mount Druitt

A visit to The Shed means coming to a safe place, somewhere that welcomes you no matter who you are or what background you have.


Rick Welsh connect men and their families to essential, life-saving services.Image credit: The Guardian.

Who would you turn to if life turned into a mess?

Rick Welsh is a well-known face of The Shed at Mount Druitt. Usually greeting you with a keen and friendly 'hey, brutha!', Rick is the central coordinator of a service that is designed to reduce suicides in a vulnerable community.

The Shed was established in 2004 and has been running since then in the grounds of the Holy Family Church at Emerton.

That idea of 'wrapping services around people' means building a network of trusted colleagues inside services and bringing the services to the person, not the other way round...

Although the overall purpose is designed around suicide prevention, its everyday role is more like a trusted place for men, women and their families to come. Most of all, The Shed controls access by services such as CentreLink, Legal Aid public housing and the Australian Tax Office.

Ordinarily, a visit to The Shed means coming to a safe place, somewhere that welcomes you no matter who you are or what background you have. On Wednesdays, there is an open lunch that is widely enjoyed by many and aims to create connections between visitors and the staff like Rick and his offsider Don.

Keeping People Connected When Things Are At Their Worst

Where The Shed is really valuable is being there to help people navigate through those services when things get rough. If someone loses their job, for example, there is a real risk of potentially losing their home or their car, or even their family. Those spiralling crises make getting back on your feet really tough if you don't have help.

Rick and Don provide trusted connections that bring people and services together. So instead of things getting out of control, Rick can bring in a trusted colleague from the most-needed service such as CentreLink and work through the issues on a personal basis in a safe and familiar setting.

“Our main thing, what we are looking at, is a suicide prevention point to address the stuff that comes along,” Welsh says.

“You might have someone with a legal problem but when you sit down and talk to them they’ll generally tell you other stuff – ‘Oh well, I’ve been drinking’, ‘I’ve been depressed’ – it’s generally all those things that’s wrapped around them.”

That idea of 'wrapping services around people' means building a network of trusted colleagues inside services and bringing the services to the person, not the other way round.

It's an idea whose time has come and it seems to be paying dividends in the Mount Druit community. 

More Information About The Shed, Mount Druitt

Phone Rick Welsh on 0427 859 467 or email r.welsh@westernsydney.edu.au.

The Guardian article on The Shed

Please visit the recent article in The Guardian on The Shed's work

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