We have chosen to develop a ministry in Bidwill because it is a place that experiences a disproportionate amount of disadvantage across a range of indicators. Despite the many services that exist here, Bidwill continues to experience a cycle of generational poverty that is hard to break without outside assistance.
Bidwill and the broader Mt Druitt area are located about 40 km West of Sydney. Mt Druitt was once a semi-rural community before the 1960s when the state government built one of the largest public housing estates in NSW. Since that time, Mt Druitt has struggled with many of the problems associated with a large concentration of disadvantage in one locality and often continues to be marginalised by mainstream media, such as in the recent tv doco, Struggle Street.
Some Indicators of Disadvantage:
- Bidwill is home to the largest number of single-parent families in NSW;
- Bidwill is home to the largest urban Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander populations in Australia, many of whom are survivors of the stolen generations and continue to be affected by the trauma inflicted on them as part of this policy;
- Bidwill experiences higher than average incidences of alcohol, substance and gambling abuse;
- Bidwill experiences higher than average incidences of domestic and family violence;
- Bidwill experiences double the national average unemployment rates;
- Bidwill is home to the highest proportion of families with a lower weekly income than the national average; and
- Bidwill experiences higher than average rates of people experiencing disabilities, mental health issues and poor health.
Despite the above statistics, the people of Bidwill demonstrate amazing strengths on a daily basis.
We aim to assist the Bidwill community to build on their incredible resilience as a community to overcome the many challenges that they face. We hold great respect and high hopes for the residents that we work with and the community as a whole.
Some Indicators of Strength and Hope:
- Strong local leaders from the Dharug Aboriginal community;
- A diversity of cultures, including strong Pacific Islander communities;
- Inspirational individuals who contradict negative stereotypes, speak out and work for the good of the community; and
- Resourceful and resilient individuals and groups.
We believe that living in the postcode of 2770 should not define or limit the individuals working and living in this community. Bidwill Uniting works with locals to help them break free of stereotypes and stigma, encouraging and supporting people to lead examined and fulfilling lives.
In the words of John Dacey, “It’s important to celebrate the area’s diversity, share people’s struggles and successes, connect with their spirituality and help advocate for change. In an area like Mt Druitt, with its high percentages of unemployed people, single parent families, low income households, Indigenous people and people from non-English speaking backgrounds, such respect and recognition have a profound effect.”