Free Beez lockers filing a need in the Griffith community

With only three months under the belt, the ‘Free Beez’ lockers installed outside PCYC have seen an unprecedented number of accesses.

Organisers say the unexpectedly higher number of accesses means the lockers are addressing a gap in the community, and wish to seek donations to keep the lockers going.

The ‘Free Beez’ lockers provide emergency supplies for those finding themselves in need.

They are filled with essentials such as food, toiletries, a sleeping bag and more, with the items set to vary season to season.

Senior constable Alex Davies and Deborah Longhurst from Youthlinks are blown away with the amount of people accessing the lockers.

“We are certainly seeing a lot more than expected,” Senior constable Davies said.

“I said to Deb I had an idea, and we will probably see about six accesses in a year. Deb pretty much laughed at me and estimated a number five times higher.”

The first access was only 11 days after their opening on September 1, and since then there has been a further 14 accesses, which these organisers say indicates a strong need within the Griffith community.

With six accesses in December only one week into the Christmas season, the number of accesses could surpass all expectations.

Ms Longhurst said you could also see the flow on effect from accessing the immediate support to those then seeking help from their services, namely homelessness services.

“To date we have identified four people who have accessed and then come in, which is perfect, it means those people are seeking the help they need,” she said.

While there could be more seeking support, the confidentiality of the Helpline means the information isn’t available, which they say is the way it’s meant to be.

Access to the lockers is granted with a code supplied from the Kids HelpLine.

FREE BEEZ: The driving forces behind the idea, Senior Constable Alex Davies and YouthLinks' Deborah Longhurst are thrilled with the unprecedented number of locker usages only three months in. PHOTO: Jacinta Dickins.

FREE BEEZ: The driving forces behind the idea, Senior Constable Alex Davies and YouthLinks' Deborah Longhurst are thrilled with the unprecedented number of locker usages only three months in. PHOTO: Jacinta Dickins.

Senior constable Davies said the codes were changed regularly, which means if someone was to access the lockers again they would call the Kids helpline, keeping them in contact with the support service.

While there were concerns at the outset about vandalism and misconduct, he says there have been no incidents surrounding misuse.

“As far as we can tell, it has all been accessed through the proper channels, and we have only found one packet of food lying around, which could have been accidentally dropped,” he said.

To donate or for more information, call Deborah Longhurst on 0427 487 811 or Senior Constable Davies on 0458 170 007.

For help or locker access, please call Kids Helpline on 1800 55 1800.