VITAL SERVICE: Alysia is the new manager of Fred's Place in Tweed Heads.
VITAL SERVICE: Alysia is the new manager of Fred's Place in Tweed Heads. contributed

Familiar face enjoys new role at drop-in

FRED'S Place, the drop-in centre for homeless people in Tweed Heads, has welcomed a new manager.

Alysia - from St Vincent de Paul - has taken on the top role at the centre, which helps more than 80 clients each day.

While Alysia has never been homeless, she has struggled to get to where she is today.

She attended school in the Northern Rivers but conceded academia was difficult for her.

"Studying just didn't do it for me,” she said.

"About the only thing I enjoyed was sport. So no surprise - I didn't make it to Year 12.”

After leaving school and working in casual jobs, she identified a passion for mental health issues and their impact on the justice system.

She completed the HSC equivalent at TAFE and went on to complete a Diploma of Justice before studying criminology and criminal justice at Griffith University.

She began working at Fred's Place as a part-time caseworker in 2014.

Over the past few months, she has been settling into the manager's role.

"This is a wonderful service, it's so rewarding to see how we can provide practical support to people with various personal needs,” she said.

"Apart from their daily hygiene and food requirements, they have to negotiate complex support systems that they often don't understand. This can be hugely frustrating, not just to them but to us as well.”

Fred's Place has three full-time staff, plus volunteers and university students doing practical placements. Costs are covered by Vinnies op-shops across the Tweed.

Robin Osborne