The Christmas and New Year season is a magical time in the City of Melbourne.
This year’s Christmas Festival will look very different as we don’t have the use of City Square, which usually hosts our Christmas hub, due to Metro Tunnel works.
Rather than see this as a problem, the City of Melbourne has treated it as an opportunity to try something new and exciting. The Christmas hub will be at St Paul’s Court in Federation Square and we’ll also be spreading the Christmas cheer further by incorporating our famous laneways.
Read on to find out more about what we have in store for you this festive season.
It’s an exciting time in our city and a prosperous, busy period for our retail and hospitality sectors, buoyed by many more visitors shopping and enjoying summer attractions and events. And of course the warmer weather.
As we delight in this special time with loved ones, it is also timely to reflect on those who are less fortunate or struggling. Christmas and New Year are often the most difficult and lonely times for these people.
There are many ways you can help: by giving to a charity such as the Salvation Army, Melbourne City Mission or Launch Housing or by volunteering your time. But do not give money to beggars: this entrenches homelessness and does nothing to help people on a pathway off the street.
The City of Melbourne has compiled a booklet of services available called Helping Out which may give you some ideas or inspiration.
The booklet and map include information about food, accommodation, health services, drug and alcohol services, services for women and legal advice from more than 70 organisations throughout the city.
As the mercury rises, we are also cognisant of the health and wellbeing of people who are experiencing homelessness or are doing it particularly tough and give out free pool and movie passes to offer some relief to those who need it.
In partnership with Launch Housing and Melbourne City Mission’s Frontyard Youth Service, the City of Melbourne has funded a Homelessness Daily Support Team. This team is made up of skilled specialist housing workers who deliver outreach services to people who are sleeping rough.
We also have a new online tool and priority phone number for people to report homelessness issues: their concerns, complaints or to request a clean up.
We have a formal protocol with Victoria Police which guides our response to homelessness issues in the city. We act swiftly, comprehensively and within existing laws to remove group encampments that affect public safety and amenity, while ensuring that the most vulnerable people have access to the services they need.
To find out more, visit melbourne.vic.gov.au/homelessness
On behalf of the City of Melbourne, I wish you a happy Christmas and a safe and enjoyable summer.
Lord Mayor Robert Doyle AC