For the past 10 weeks I have been researching the community identity of the St Vincent De Paul Night Patrol in Sydney. What I have been able to understand form this study is the effect of participation from people in creating a community and a sense of belonging.
From both the experience of being a part of the community to theory learnt during lectures and tutorials, my view on my community has been altered completely.
The St Vincent De Paul night Patrol can be seen as a community of people that bridges the gap between who is seen as ‘in’ society and who is ‘out’. This is seen with regular, everyday people volunteering to lend a helping hand to the homeless who are otherwise ignored on a day to day basis. The coming together of people in this community brings about a social space that enables participants a sense of freedom to be themselves and not be afraid of judgement.
The news report below and a line I have quoted have helped me to understand many aspects of the homeless community in Sydney and the role of charity organisations and volunteers such as St Vincent De Paul and the Salvation Army. Volunteers and these organisations are vital to the survival of these homeless men and women. Not just by providing food and shelter, but providing them with a space to share ideas and thoughts. Providing them with a person to speak to who will actually listen to what is being said. These are some of the thoughts that have occurred to me from this video and my personal experiences of the community itself.
“Where would you be, if not for this place?”
“I would probably be on the street somewhere… I may not be alive.” (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kAYzfHBzfn4&list=PLB8D1E5C8419A7874&index=2&feature=plpp_video 0:56 – 1:05)
In essence, the research I have undertaken in relation to this community has enabled me to see that community as a term, ultimately refers to the individuals who live within it. By coming together a sense of purpose and belonging develops and allows the world to move forward.