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A busy tent complex outside the Russell Island Recreation Centre hall has created interest of late.

As it turns out, it just happens to be a relatively new initiative that is likely to prove very beneficial to many island residents.

It is a collection of service, council and Government services designed to help and inform islanders; particularly those in several forms of need.

The Friendly Bay Islander was introduced to William McGurk of the Redland Community Centre, who has been providing services to the islands in various forms for several years.

Since Covid last year, he has been bringing emergency food relief to Russell Island every Thursday between 9.30am and 12.30pm. It is a fairly big operation, too.

It is a duplicate service of the one the Redland Community Centre has been providing on Macleay Island for the past four years.

William actually has a dual role here.

He also happens to be classified as a ‘money finder’.

His money finder role is to assist those in need to ‘sort out’ funding and money issues.

“I talk to people about day-to-day budgeting; provide help; and often advocate on their behalf with creditors or banks, to waive or reduce monies owed.

“I also work a lot with people who have been in abusive relationships and have incurred debt from those relationships. I endeavour to help them eradicate those debts to allow them to get a ‘fresh start’ in the lives.”

William McGurk says there is a ‘fair need for his, and the other services that are now being brought to the islands.

“The islands are on very low income, with many retirees, and others living on benefits.

“They just need to know we are here, and there is help in many areas.’

The other aid services now attending these collective ‘help’ clinics on the islands include: the Department of Housing, providing assistance to help keep people in tenancy, ACDC, and benevolent societies that have links to other vital services.

William says: “There is a lot of help out there that people don’t know about.”

He did add, however, that there were still many more organisations which could come, but will not because of the ‘cost’ of getting to the islands.

“But, fortunately, we do.”

The Russell Island Food Service is every Thursday at the Russell Island Recreation Hall from 9.30 am to 12.30pm.

The groups attend at the same time every 2nd Thursday; with a BBQ held once a month (last Thursday of the month).

On Macleay Island the Food Service is available every Thursday from 9,30am to 12.30pm. at the Community Hall. There are no other group meetings held, although expanded Centrelink services are available from the BICS office at the Macleay Island Community Centre.

• William McGurk (2nd left) and repräsentatives of service agencies on Russell Island