Here’s what Canberra Citizen of the Year Hannah Andrevski says you can do to help those in need this winter | HerCanberra

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Here’s what Canberra Citizen of the Year Hannah Andrevski says you can do to help those in need this winter

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If you’re wondering why Hannah Andrevski has been named Canberra Citizen of the Year 2024, all you need is this testimonial.

“All I can say is thank you. The range of items you offer, the age ranges you cover and the quality of items received are simply incredible,” said the representative of a service that provides emergency assistance to people experiencing homelessness about Hannah’s charity, Roundabout Canberra.

“When talking through what a family could potentially receive, they are often blown away. More than once I have had parents in tears as they realise the pressure this is going to take off them financially.”

“Your reliability is also key. So many times, these families have been promised assistance that failed to deliver but the fact that I can confidently say that they will receive what they have requested also makes this such an amazing service.”

Founded six years ago to help get quality second-hand items to families and children in need, Roundabout has become one of Canberra’s most heart-warming success stories, now helping thousands of local families every year.

The premise of Roundabout is simple – Canberrans donate quality used items that they no longer need that would be of use to families doing it tough. Think: clothes, toys, car seats and books. These items are sorted at Roundabout’s HQ before being handed over to Canberra charities, services and not-for-profits to give to people in need alongside nappies, toiletries and other essentials.

The impact has been profound, with Hannah now recognised for her efforts as Canberra Citizen of the Year 2024, an accolade she describes as “surreal”.

“I found out I was receiving the award a week before it was announced, and it was a complete shock. I don’t do what I do for any form of recognition, but receiving an award like this did actually make me very emotional.”

“Getting Roundabout off the ground and keeping it going over the last six years has been quite a journey, and receiving the award really made me pause and reflect on all of that. I love Canberra, and I feel very privileged to play a role in supporting my fellow Canberrans, so this recognition does mean a lot, and I’m very grateful for the increased attention it’s given Roundabout.”

Across its six-year journey, Hannah and Roundabout have seen Canberrans through bushfires, a pandemic and now a cost-of-living crisis, a series of challenges that has understandably seen the need for assistance spike across the ACT.

“The Canberra community has been through a lot over the last few years, and Roundabout has been through that same journey,” says Hannah.

“The bushfires at the coast, COVID-19 and cost of living pressures have placed a great deal of strain on many, and we’ve seen a strong increase in demand for our service during that time.”

“There are currently many families needing support who haven’t previously needed it – including many families where there are two parents in paid employment. We hear time and time again that families have to make a difficult choice between buying essential items for their kids, buying food, paying their rent or filling up their car with petrol.”

“This increased need has meant we’ve needed to continue to ask the Canberra community to support the work we do through donations of more and more goods, their time as volunteers and financial support. But I think what’s really blown me away is how the Canberra community has risen to the challenge!”

As for how Canberrans can help, Hannah says Roundabout is “desperate” for “newborn car seats that are less than eight years old and have never been in an accident, and also has an ongoing need for kids clothing in sizes 5-16.

This April, they’ll be running a Winter Wardrobe Drive to encourage Canberrans to donate winter clothes ahead of Canberra’s frosty middle months.

“Our Winter Wardrobe Drive places a real emphasis on collecting winter clothing for school-aged children, and single bed linen (including doonas and pillows), so we can help to keep local children warm this winter.”

“Last year we heard stories about families sleeping in cars, a shed or a tent at the Cotter, and sadly we expect to hear similar stories this year with housing in such a state of crisis and cost of living pressures so high.”

Business and offices are encouraged to host their own collection points, so families can easily donate their children’s old winter layers – keeping in mind that Roundabout is only looking for quality items “that you’d give your best friend” with no stains or holes and that have been freshly sterilised and laundered.

“If you’re a business and are interested in registering as a public drop-off point for winter goods, running an internal collection drive, we’d love to hear from you. If you’re an individual, we’d love to accept your donations, and details about dropping off your donations can be found on our website.”

Hannah says that now is the time to donate – and that the difference you’ll make in the community will be felt by many.

“By donating to Roundabout Canberra, you’re playing a really important role in making a tangible difference to the lives of families in our community. You are helping to keep children warm, uphold their dignity and keep them safe. And on top of that, you’re helping to spark some joy for both the children and their families!”

To donate items to Roundabout Canberra, click here



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